Traditional sports losing popularity in Punjab

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Chandigarh, July 29 : Traditional sports like 'Gilli-Danda', 'Kanche', 'Pitthu' and 'Teerandazi' are out with the intrusion and growing popularity of modern sports like cricket in rural Punjab.

Drawing a line on the ground, Manpreet who is ready to play 'Stapu' said that the sport, which was once popular among the rural schoolgirls, is no longer a favourite.

"My friends are now more interested in watching TV more than playing. We want to play, but we don't get time. During our holidays, we have some time to play. But when schools re-open, there is pressure to study and sometimes we friends are unable to meet," she said.

'Stapu' is played by two to three female players. Each player throws a stone inside the gallery and pushes it by hopping on a single leg.

Another amateur youth sport is 'Gilli-Danda', the game of two wooden sticks.

Slightly similar to cricket and baseball, the objective of the sport is to use a danda to strike the gilli, just like striking a ball in cricket or baseball. The gilli becomes airborne after it is struck.

'Pittho Garam' is a game, where the player dislodges seven stones by throwing a ball at a pile of them. The challenge for him is to re-arrange the stones, while other players try and hit the player with the ball.

Cricket has now taken over rural sports like 'Gilli Danda' and 'Pittho Garam'. Only a only few caretakers remain in remote areas, where cricket has not been able to penetrate.

"In my village, a new generation has moved away from sports. Now, we hardly play 'Gilli-Danda', 'Rassa-Kassi', 'Volleyball', 'Kabbadi' and 'Pitthu', but in the days gone by we played more games. Nowadays, children don't have the time to play since they are more interested in mobiles or watching TV," said Ravinder Singh, a villager.

Transformation is a must, but it's equally important to preserve the past for posterity. The village elders, who were once the champions of rural sports find today's youth lacks in stamina.

Gurbachan Singh, a village elder said a lot has changed. Today, if you assign any work to the children they just don't listen.

'Kanche', the little marble balls, is still the most favourites' and is alive.

But, in the last few decades, much has changed. Though they can hardly be developed as professional sports, they could be a pleasant pastime.

ANI

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