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Updated: March 26, 2014 16:46 IST

Reviving traditional games of India

K. Sarumathi
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Women try their hands at Pallanguzhi at Akalpita.
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Women try their hands at Pallanguzhi at Akalpita.

Kreeda launches a set of games at Akalpita, an organic shop in T. Nagar.

Once upon a time, way before the impressionable minds were corrupted by video games and play stations, kids made games out of all that was available to them: wooden sticks for dice, shells and stones for making their next strategic move, and floors for gaming boards. It was tradition tirelessly passed down from one generation to another.

But then came a day when wood and shell were replaced by plastic. Traditional games took a modern avataar and were called by chic English names. Paramapadha Sopana Padam became Snake and Ladder, Chaupad became Ludo. Intervention of television and computers further pronounced the doom, and all that was good and fun about the past was lost.

Research

To revive this delightful part of our history, Kreeda has been conducting intense research on traditional games of India.

Launching a set of games at Akalpita, an organic shop in T. Nagar, Shivagami said, “Kreeda is a non-profitable organisation, and proceeds from sales of games go into research.”

As part of the launch, Kreeda invited people to join them in a day-long gaming session, where both the young and the old tried their hands at Pallanguzhi, Chaupad, Kattam Villayatu (square game), Aadu Puli Attam (Goat and Lion game), Ashtaa Chemma, Chathuvimshathi Koshtaka (a war game), Dahdi (a traditional game from Andhra Pradesh similar to noughts and crosses), etc.

Environment-friendly

Kreeda has paid special attention to make these games environment friendly. “For Pallanguzhi, we have used wooden board with 16 cups. To preserve the bio-diversity, we have made use of paper powder instead of using shells for playing the game. All board games have been screen printed on canvas sheet, and there is no use of plastic. Dice are made of wood and paper powder,” said Ms. Shivagami.

Peer group participation

Today, video games and games on mobile phone do not involve peer group participation and contribute little to a child's development.

“In those days, games were played not just for passing time but also formed an essential part of the learning process. Pallanguzhi, which was mostly played by women on ‘Shivaratri' night, helped in improving the hand-eye coordination and increased concentration. Daya kattam or Chaupad enhanced the mathematical skills. Panchkone is a strategy game which helped improve concentration. Chinesepiel, which is a colour identification game, was ideal for helping children recognise colours. Above all, these games taught children to accept loss and victory with equanimity,” she added

Apart from these traditional games, Kreeda has created a game-version of Ramayana, which is divided into three parts.

The first part deals with Ram, Sita, and Lakshman's journey into the forest, the second is about search for Sita after her abduction, and third is called the Battle of Lanka. While the first two parts are canvas games, the third is a card game.

“Now to know the Ramayana all kids have to do is play the game.”

With the Snake and Ladder game comes a list of virtues and vices. The ladder, representing virtue, has qualities such as honesty, patience, and compassion, while vices have been named after demons such as Mahishasur, Kumbhkaran etc. With the game comes a list of demon and a brief history about them. ‘Memories of Madras' is another card game created by Kreeda, with 70 building of importance printed on them. It is mostly targeted at first time visitors to the city. Kreeda Games are also available in Landmark and Odyssey showrooms.

RELATED NEWS

Culture & HeritageMay 14, 2012

This sounds absolutely delightful! Kudos to Kreeda Games for doing the research
and keeping these traditional games alive.

Are the games available outside of India?

from:  John Kaufeld
Posted on: Jun 11, 2012 at 20:51 IST
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