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Insightful Conversations at AuroBharati – June 21, 2022

Topic: Krīḍā – Making Indian Games Cool!

A conversation with Amitabh Satyam and Sangeeta Goswami, authors of ‘The Games India Plays’

For June 2022 edition of Insightful Conversations, the Renaissance-AuroBharati team invited the authors of a newly released book titled ‘The Games India Plays: Indian Sports Simplified’.

Penned by Amitabh Satyam and Sangeeta Goswami, the book brings on centerstage some of the traditional outdoor games of India which have been played by children and adults in various parts of the country for several centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. From gilli-danda to kho-kho, nondi to vish-amrut, atya-patya to kabbadi, the authors describe fifteen games which have been popular under different names throughout the country.

The book reminds us that India’s sports culture is thousands of years old. India has had a long history of physical culture which emphasised rigorous education of the body. Countless exciting and fun games and systems of physical exercises were developed and played by children and adults throughout the various regions of the land. The authors include a few relevant references from texts such as the Mahabharata.

Most of our indigenous games, however, are not popular in urban India today. The authors write that while children in villages and small towns may still play some of these games, “the frequency and coverage are fast dwindling as more Western games are promoted on TV with aspiration value.”

When most urban Indians today think of sports, they think of cricket, hockey, tennis, badminton, squash, golf, football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, or billiards etc. Indigenous games have been more or less eliminated from the active consideration of Indians. As the authors write in the introductory chapter ‘Let the Games Begin’:

“With colonisation, local cultures were decimated substantially, and the games played by the colonisers became the mainstream in most of these countries.”

The authors of ‘The Games India Plays’ want to change some of that.

Based on their research of various traditional games still being played in rural India Sangeeta Goswami and Amitabh Satyam have selected 15 traditional Indian outdoor games. These, they feel, must be revived and made popular amongst children of today. They present these games — with appropriate illustrations — in a reader-friendly format for use as a Guidebook for sports administrators and players.

We also spoke about the significance of our traditional games for children’s overall physical, mental, emotional and social development. The authors emphasised the need to revive the traditional games and share some ideas on how to make it happen in the years to come. 

Read more about the conversation HERE.


Watch the full conversation

Renaissance is our monthly e-journal, highlighting numerous forms in which the eternal spirit of India is  being reborn and renewed. It is a space featuring inspiring articles,  essays, stories, videos, reflections and accounts of India and her creative genius manifesting in various domains – spiritual, artistic, literary, philosophic, scientific, aesthetic.  

Check out the Renaissance journal HERE.

~ Report by Beloo Mehra

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