Traditional Sports and Games of Bangladesh

Nowadays, children are engaged with computer and internet-based games. And this is a serious health hazard. Unless they stay outside, walk, move, run and play tricks with their friends, they cannot keep fit. Their mental growth also hinders. On the other hand, our traditional outdoor games are messy and not clean but are greatly healthy. It is found that the children who stay exposed with the sun, even for sometime, have their eyesight better than those who stay inside, let alone those kids who are busy with software games.

Folk games are always outstanding in terms of physical fitness, mental recreation, and above all, social interactions. Unfortunately, these are hardly possible in case of modern electronic games that are getting more and more popular among the children, adolescent and even adults. This is a serious setback in the way of the natural growth of this generation. In other words, folk games work like medicine. They help build muscle, develop acute flexibility, improve balance and coordination in social affairs, lose weight accordingly and increase endurance. Besides, the players develop leadership, self-esteem, and most importantly, teamwork spirit among themselves. Let us discuss in brief a very few of the games below:

Ha-dudu. Ha-du-du is a very popular game. It is a game that is played in the open field. It is a game of joy not only to the players but also to the spectators. It costs minimum but gives maximum joy and thrill. This game requires a small plain ground. The ground is divided into two equal parts. A line is drawn across the mid-field. The young and strong boys of the villages play Ha-du-du. There are two teams. Each team has equal number of players. The teams stand face to face, each team within one half of the ground, and that is the team’ boundary. One player will utter “Ha-du-du-du-du—”, cross-over the middle line and within one breath try to touch one or more players of the opponent party, and return to the middle line, without being held physically by the players of the opponent team. If he is successful in his attempt and comes back to his own area, the touched players are termed ‘dead’. But, if he is caught within the area of the opponent party, he is called ‘dead’. The ‘dead’ goes out of the game. The game comes to an end when all the players of any team are dead. Thus, the other party wins.

Rumal Churi (stealing the handkerchief) mainly played by young children. One child plays the part of the thief. The others sit in a circle. The child playing the part of the thief goes around the circle and quietly leaves a handkerchief at the back of one of the players sitting in the circle. If the player behind whom the thief has left the handkerchief senses what is happening, he/she springs up and exchanges place with the thief. If s/he can’t and the thief completes the circle, s/he will be slapped at the back.

Kana Machi (One-eyed fly): Kana Machi can aid in the development of a child’s powers of concentration. A number of children stand in a circle. One of them becomes the ‘kana machi’. S/he is called so because a piece of cloth is tied over her/his eyes and s/he cannot see. The children then gradually increase the circle, and the ‘kana machi’ runs after the others trying to touch one of them, as if buzzing around haphazardly like a fly. The children shout out the rhyme ‘kana machi bho bho, jake pabi take chho’ (Buzzing fly, catch whoever you can). The person who is touched has to be identified by name. If correctly identified, s/he becomes the new ‘kana mach’, and it goes on. ‘Kana machi’ helps to ascertain cognitive and emotional development among children through playing activities.

Dariabandha: Dariabandha is another popular game in the villages. In this game a field is equally divided with lines keeping equal distance from each other. Players are divided into two equal teams. One team stands in the starting line outside the field and each of the players of the other team stands on each vertical black line facing at least on opponent player. This player can move towards the horizontal line at a limited range. Players standing outside enter into the field one by one and try to pass across the field to the finishing point and have to return to the starting position. Thus the team wins the game. If any player in the opposite team touches anybody then the game is reversed. It demands high level of physical fitness, strength and speed.

Bauchi: This game requires two courts outlined on the ground, one rectangular and the other circular, twenty-five to thirty feet apart from each other. Two teams of eight to ten players are needed for this game. One player of the team winning the toss plays the ‘Budi’ (old lady) and remains inside the circle. The remaining members of the team stay inside the rectangular court. The object of the game is for the player of the opposing team to take the ‘old lady’ to the rectangle, without being touched. If he is able to take the ‘old lady’ to the rectangle, the team earns a point and the players he touches become out. Variations of the game are known as budikapati, bau-basanti, budir chu etc.

Chikka (tug and trip): This game of physical endurance is played by two teams consisting of five to seven players. The two teams line up facing each other across a line drawn on the ground. One player challenges one of the opposing players by stretching his hands towards him, in what is known as ‘giving hetel (the handle)’. The other player catches hold of his hands and they start pushing or pulling in a bid to trip each other. The one who budges from his position is considered out. If a team can trip all its opponents, it earns points and starts the next round. Players also try to trip their opponents with their legs. If a team can trip all the players of the opposing team, it earns points and retains the round. The process is repeated by turns.

Chhadar Khela (rhyming game): it’s a counting rhyme game, played by both boys and girls. The players sit on the ground, holding their hands open flat. The leader also holds out one of his/ her hand and, touching each hand on the ground, utters the rhyme: ikdi mikdi cham chikdi/ chamer beta laksindar/ seje ela damodar. Everybody waits for the last word to be uttered. The player who is touched with the last word closes his/her hand. The game continues till the last hand is closed.

Gollachut is another village game of Bangladesh. It is played between two teams. There is equal number of players in each team. A team stands at a fixed point on one side of the field. The players of the other team stand scattered in the field facing the team standing at the fixed point. If the players standing at the fixed point can cross three fields untouched, they win the game.

Golap-Tagar a team game, with an equal number of players on both sides, and played by both boys and girls. The chiefs of the teams are called “King”. The teams stand fifteen to twenty feet apart, separated by a boundary. At the start of the game, the king names his players after flowers or fruit. Then the king blindfolds one of the players of the opposite team and calls one of the players of his team by their flower or fruit name, for example, “Come, my Rose” or “Come, my Jasmine”. Then Jasmine or Rose goes over and flips the player on his forehead. The blindfold is then opened and the player has to guess who touched him on his forehead. If he succeeds, he jumps ahead, and if he fails, the opponent’s player does so. The game continues till one team captures the land of the other. The opposing team members then lift the winning king across the boundary. In another variation of the game, the members of the losing team carry the winning player piggy-back across the boundary. The game is also known by other names such as Baurani, Chadankhela (Murshidabad), Tukatuki (Mymensingh) etc.

Danguli (tipcat) is a favourite boys’ game played by two teams of five to six players. A two-foot long stick, known as danda, and a five- to six- inch stick, known as guli or phutti, are used to play the game. There is a similar game in Europe called tipcat, where the longer stick is used to tip the ‘cat’, the smaller one. The object of the game is for one side to strike the guli with the danda. The other side has to catch the guli before it falls. If the guli is caught, the player who has struck it is out. If the guli isn’t caught, he continues till he is out. If he is out, the next player in the team comes in. One team plays after the other. The game is also known as dangbadi, gutbadi, tyamdang, bhyatadanda etc.

Holdug (tag me in water) played by boys while bathing in rivers or ponds. The boy who wins the toss takes some water in his hand and asks questions which others answer: eta ki? dudh/ eta ki? tyal/ eta ki? marich/ bap bale dharis (What’s this? Milk. What’s this?/ Chilli. Catch it if you can). As soon as he finishes the formulaic rhyme, he dives and others try to find him. The one who touches him first becomes entitled to question the others in the next round. The game is played by turns. This game is known as malai in Mymensingh and hattihatti in Noakhali.

Openti Bioscope  is mainly played by girls. Two players face each other and touch their arms to form an arch. The other girls pass under the arch in a circular path reciting a rhyme until they come to the last line: amar nam Jadumani, jete habe anekkhani (My name is Jadumani, I have to go a long way). When the last line is uttered, both the girls bring down their arms on the girl passing under the arch at that moment. All the others then rejoice, holding the girl aloft.

Ekka-dokka (hopscotch) also known as satkhela and chiriya in some regions, is chiefly played by girls across the country. The game is played on a rectangular court drawn on the ground. The rectangle is further divided into four or six rectangular or square cells. At some places, the fourth or sixth cell is split into two and is called the ‘rest’. The cells are known in order as ekka (first), dokka (second), tekka (third), chaukka (fourth), pakka (fifth) and lasthi (sixth). Each player has a marker, either a piece of flat stone or potsherd, known as chada, ghunti, diga, khopla etc. One player at a time tosses her marker into a cell and starts hopping from one cell to the other. The object of the game is to throw the marker into the consecutive cells, pick up the marker and hop through all the cells. If the piece rests on a line or falls outside the boundary of a cell, the player loses her turn. She is followed by the next player. The player who advances her piece successfully through all the cells wins the game.

Country Games are very interesting indeed. They can be played without spending too much money. Large fields are also not needed in most of the cases. The village games give sufficient exercise to the limbs of the body. They are the source of innocent joy and pleasure. They make us strong, healthy and active. The village games keep people busy, tension free and delightful. They can spend their leisure in them. These remove their boredom, monotonous routines of life and fatigue. Considering all these advantages we must say that folk games are way better than those played with the help of some gadgets such as computers, laptops, tablets, mobile sets and other devices.



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