These traditional sports are what the people in the subcontinent used to play before the British came in and popularized cricket in the nation. These are still popular sports in the rural areas of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. If you are tired of cricket, try these games instead.
The national game of Bangladesh, Kabaddi is played on international levels. Pakistan also has an international kabaddi team. The game requires very high physical strength, stamina, and lung-power.
Kabaddi is played between two teams with seven players each. The game involves a raider who is being sent by his team into the other team’s court. The raider takes a breath and keeps chanting “kabaddi, kabaddi…” without any break, while he runs into the other team’s court trying to tag one or more defenders with either his leg or hand. He then runs back to his own court, all the while chanting “kabaddi, kabaddi…” without breaking and without inhaling.
The defenders have to chase the raider and stop him by wrestling him to the ground before he escapes without breaking his chant.
2. Gulli Danda
Another popular game and an ancient version of cricket, this game is largely forgotten except in those rural areas and among the less fortunate children who can’t buy a modern bat and a ball.
Gulli danda is quite similar to cricket, except that you use two sticks, one as a bat and the other as a ball. However, unlike cricket, the gulli is kept on the ground, on a slight edge so it is tilted – while the danda man raises it up with the danda and strikes it to throw it as far as possible. The fielders fetch the gulli and try to throw it back to the batting circle before the danda-man runs to the finishing line to run his score.
3. Pitthu Garam
An outdoor game you must have played as a child, Pitthu is known for all the excitement – aiming, running, catching, hitting, and even harmless violence. The game is played by two teams and requires a ball and some stones that will be assembled to form a tower. Team A piles up the stones and makes a tower. They then strike the pile with a ball at a distance of 3-4 meters. Team B has to catch the ball after it hits the pile without letting it bounce. If they are able to catch it, Team A loses its turn. But if they are not, Team A then tries to reassemble the stones, while Team B hits them with the ball. If they are able to dodge the balls and assemble the stones, they win.
4. Kanchay (Marbles)
Forgive me if this is blasphemy, but Kanchay is actually a mini version of golf, except that you don’t need any expensive golf equipment. It is played with marbles or pebbles which have to be aimed into the holes in the ground. Instead of clubs, it is played with fingers which are used as a bow. And instead of golf grounds, this is played on dirt, getting all your hands and clothes dirty in the process.
5. Teer Andazi
Another popular sport played in the rural and tribal areas of Pakistan, Teer Andazi is not just a game but often a tradition that marks the bravery, honor and strength of the person. Just like archery, the bows are made with split bamboos and strings. The target is chosen on a wall or a hill and the person has to shoot their arrows to hit the target.
6. Patang Bazi
Patang Bazi or kite flying is a very popular sport in Pakistan played in spring and on 14th August. As the sky is filled with colorful kites which are taken by the cool breezes higher and higher, it depicts some scene out of a colorful book. This sport is played by children and adults both as one teams fly their kites and cut the other teams kites with the thread. As the other team’s kites fall down on the ground, the kite looters run away with them. It’s all an exciting time, full of spirit and enthusiasm.
Langri, the popular childhood pastime is actually a game played on National level in India. The rules of the game are simple and all it requires is physical strength and stamina. It is played between two teams with 12 players in each. A toss determines which will be the chasing team and which defending. The chasing team sends chasers into the ground who chases the defenders and tries to tag them while hopping on one foot. The chasers are allowed to step out of the ground as long as they are on one foot while the defenders are declared out if they step out.
8. Kho Kho
Did you know your favorite childhood game, Kho Kho is played at an international level? The Asian Kho Kho Federation was founded in 1987 and the first championship was held at Kolkata in 1996 and the second at Dhaka.
Kho Kho is a game of tags which is played by two teams with nine players each. The chasing team has its team members kneeling on the ground in a zigzag manner (adjacent players facing the opposite direction). The runners take to the field, 3 at a time, and the chaser tries to tag them. The runners are allowed to go between the players but the chaser is not allowed to do so. The chaser can send any team member kneeling on the ground by tapping him and shouting “Kho”. The team that chases all the defendants in the least time wins.
Were you intrigued? Don’t you think these traditional and long forgotten games and actually better than cricket?