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COMMON GAMES OF INDIA

Games hold a mirror to civilization

The very word "GAME" is a universal one and does not have any cultural or linguistic boundaries. Games appear to be the common property of people who know them either professionally or as an amateur.

Many games, which we think, are just pastimes are, in fact, relics of religious rituals, which often date back to the birth of mankind. Games echo the reflections of the traditions and ethos of a particular country or area. The pleasure of voluntary action is the soul of games.

Games are essential for the growth of a man right from his childhood. The child at its infancy likes simple expressive games, which mould him into the concept of leadership, and gives him the sense of victory and defeat. The school games give the advantage of socializing with members of various teams, be it of the same class or the same school or inter-schools. There are games for both indoors and out doors. Certain games like the game of CHESS give intellectual training for the player, as it reconstructs the battle-field, and gets him the task of strategy management and foresight.

Though the method of playing a particular game has remained unchanged, the symbolism is often influenced by contemporary events. For e.g., during Emperor Napoleon's time, chess sets were made showing Napoleon as the King. Games of pure wit have intrigued men and women from ancient times.

Many of the spiral games were produced during the 18th and 19th centuries as a means of teaching children history, geography, botany and other subjects. Most primitive games are known in almost all parts of the world but their variations tell us about the nature of the people of that particular region.

The permanent fascination of games lies simply in the pure joy of playing. It is this tangible pleasure that distinguishes the true game from the professional sport. Nowadays the players are involved in a cut throat competition when many a time the national prestige is at stake. The light-hearted joy of games has given way to competition and it would not be good unless it remains a healthy one.

In hot or cold climes, in open spaces or countryside or crowded city, slums, streets, children jump, run, hide, chase each other, play, sing and laugh, and this illustrates the universality of games. By means of games, the child is engaged not only in self-discovery, explorative and experiments with its senses, but also understands its relation with the concept of Universe. They gradually learn to get along with the big world outside. Games reflect the ideas and the personality of the child as a whole. Children get many benefits by means of games. There is an opportunity for the growth of the mind. There is a way to use the senses in the right way. One gets the opportunity to mingle with people of the same age, of the same cadre and same ambitions and desires. This helps in developing a social sense and the habit of working cooperatively.

Games are designed to provide fun and entertainment. Physical movements have great importance in the life of any individual. The overall development of the person depends on the physical movements exercised. Through games, children also tend to learn their language. They love to sing or hear songs during the act of playing and hence its power to understand language develops.

Among the rural population of northern India, wrestling, Kabaddi and other indigenous games are popular. Some cowherd caste people both in the north and the south are known for their skills in Lathi and Pikestaff play. Games with balls were introduced from the West to India, which includes football, volleyball and hockey, and some like the Polo were introduced from the East. Cricket still remains a favorite with the Indian populace despite its players being entwined in scam after scam. Curiosities like cockfighting, and fighting of bulbuls and rams are still popular in some communities and areas. 

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