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Traditional games lose sheen

No takers for tribal sports



PERFECT PRACTICE: Gond children in Adilabad getting familiar with the improved version of the `Nimmakayalata' toy.

S. Harpal Singh

ADILABAD: The hot summer evenings in the tribal villages of Adilabad district are progressively becoming dull. One reason could be the declining interest of tribals in their traditional sports and games. During the tribal marriage season, which ends with the month of May, every evening was enlivened by the joyous cries of youth indulging in some sporting activity.

"We used to play `khus-khus gugdi' (crow of a cock) `chirra gonne' (gilli danda), `meskalval' (locating eggs), etc. in our childhood. These days I hardly find anybody playing the traditional games. Sometimes, youth can be found playing kabaddi and volleyball in the villages," observes Thodsam Chandu, the in-charge of the TB control programme at the Government Headquarters Hospital.

Interesting games

"Like in every society, the tribals too have developed sporting events of their own. For example, the `gunti' or hunting with bow and arrow and the `nimmakayalaata' or the lemon switching game. Individual sporting events like archery and team events such as `korpamguddi' (locating persons blindfolded) and `ingorchap' (hitting a pile of stones with a ball) were very popular earlier. These events introduce the participant to the idea of aiming perfectly at the target and locating an object using the sense of hearing. Such things were an essential component in the tribal way of life in the deep forests," explains Guruji Ravinder Sharma of the Kala Ashram, Adilabad.

Study conducted

Malli Gandhi and V. Lalitha, researchers from the Regional Institution of Education, Mysore, (NCERT), in 2002 conducted a detailed study of the extra-curricular activities of tribal students of different Ashram Pathashalas under the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Utnoor. They recommended inclusion of a few sports events in the curriculum of tribal schools.

Over the years, the loss of interest in traditional tribal sports has left its mark on the tribal way of life.

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