LUCKNOW: As mercury plummeted in the past few days and people huddled around bonfires, officers and staff at the Raj Bhawan warmed up to some traditional games. Gilli-danda turned out to be the top draw.
“When were kids and visited our grandparents in villages, we used to play gilli-danda. The game on the lawns of the Raj Bhawan was, in fact, a trip down the memory lane,” said an employee.
“People of all age groups were seen playing and enjoying these traditional games. There will also be games for women where they can recall their old younger days,” said Seema Gupta, information officer at Raj Bhawan.
Other traditional games – kabaddi, kho-kho, carom -were also organised in past days at the governor house.
The inspiration came from governor Anandiben Patel herself. She began the tradition post Covid, last year. “Patel intended to promote indigenous games that are on the verge of extinction right after she took over as governor but failed to do so due to Covid-induced lockdown. Under the Amrit Mahotsava, these games are getting revived and gaining prominence,” said an officer.
“There was excitement and euphoria among the players. In all, there were 18 teams with six members each. In the coming days, even children will be seen playing the traditional games, including gilli-danda,” Gupta said.
Renowned Hindi writer Premchand wrote a short story titled ‘Gilli-danda’, in which he compares old simple days and emotions to modern values and also casteism. The story is built around the protagonist’s experience with gilli-danda, and how people rejected and discriminated against him, and did not let him play the game because of his caste.





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