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Kho Kho: The lost Indian game makes a comeback in the era of online gaming

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Fancy gadgets have taken over the space of outdoor games in our lives
Fancy gadgets have taken over the space of outdoor games in our lives

By Ankita

If you’re a kid who grew up in the 1980’s and 90’s in India, kho kho would sound familiar to you. And for those of you who are new to it, ‘Catch me if you can’ is what best describes the traditional Indian sport.

A game played on a rectangular court between two teams of twelve players each,kho kho is a test of speed, strength and stamina. Nine players are allowed to take to the field in one match and every one player down leads to another one joining the team. The contest continues till all players of a team have been sent back.

A clear origin of the game remains untraced but the first book of rules known to be published about it was in 1924 from Gymkhana Baroda (Gujarat). Before the cricket mania that India is known for, Kho kho was being played in almost every corner of the country, by men and women alike. Every village and town had its own teams and every age group had its own lineup. It was fast, fun and extremely popular among the youth. 

It was popular in small towns and at school level. But this is changing now. The game has just changed its diversions. League of events, commonly known as the ‘Premier League’, recently inaugurated the ‘Kho-Kho Premier League (KKPL) at Shivaji Park in Maharashtra. Similar to the Kabbadi League, KKPL had its share of shimmer. And it will still be some time before we can see the game becoming as glamorous as cricket. However kho kho has its fans and the event managed to appeal to quite a few. It attracted more than thousand people every day in the south-western corner of the country. It was a blend of Bollywood and politics.

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The effort expanded the world of traditional sports, making India look beyond cricket and has served as a great way of keeping up the morale of those interested in it. Events such as these can be revived in schools and can be promoted at the corporate level with its lessons in team spirit, alertness, discipline, obedience and coordination.

Though KKPL has initiated with not-so-big incentives for the winners, youngsters are more than happy with this new-found attention.  It is definitely not a grand celebration, but its very beginning is nothing less than a fest for admirers. The contest between the chaser and defender is as good as a wildlife predator and its prey, the only difference being in the hunger for food and the passion for victory

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Astronaut Floats in Space on Mural Sporting a Gandhi Patch on Shoulder

The mural that looks up from the vista that opens to the iconic glass-fronted UN building a block away commemorates the occasions

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Gandhi
Sporting a Mahatma Gandhi patch on his shoulder, an astronaut floats in space on the mural painted on the side wall of the Indian Mission to the UN. Wikimedia

The high-tech future of green jobs and the Gandhian virtue of the dignity of work meld their messages on a six-storey high mural commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the centenary of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Sporting a Mahatma Gandhi patch on his shoulder, an astronaut floats in space on the mural painted on the side wall of the Indian Mission to the UN that was inaugurated on Tuesday.

The mural that looks up from the vista that opens to the iconic glass-fronted UN building a block away commemorates the occasions.

The other themes on the mural, a joint effort of the ILO and the Indian mission, include the concept of “green”, environmentally sustainable jobs and the greening of the world by planting trees.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said at the inauguration that the mural addresses global concerns of decent jobs and the environment.

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Sporting a Mahatma Gandhi patch on his shoulder, an astronaut floats in space on the mural painted on the side wall of the Indian Mission to the UN. Pixabay

He said the mural effort goes beyond the diplomatic work at the UN of dealing with resolutions to a new diplomatic area of reaching out to people to create broader awareness of issues.

Victor Ash, the artist who painted it while perched high on a cherry-picker, told IANS: “I mixed different ideas and came up with this ‘green astronaut’ that is also worker – the worker from the future who would be working in space.”

And to commemorate the anniversary of Gandhi’ birth, he said he added Gandhi’s image as a logo on the arm of the astronaut.

Ash said that one of his inspirations was India’s record in 2017 of planting 66 million trees on a single day.

The mission building with a red-stone facade was designed by the internationally acclaimed Indian architect Charles Correa, but one of its sides was bared to the bricks after the neighbouring building was torn down and a hotel was built on the site with a deep setback.

The mural now decorates that side without impinging on the building’s Correa design.

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The other themes on the mural, a joint effort of the ILO and the Indian mission, include the concept of “green”, environmentally sustainable jobs and the greening of the world by planting trees. Wikimedia

The mural was one of several sponsored across the city by ILO to commemorate its centenary with a project called Street Art for Mankind that aims to spread the message of decent work for all with sustainable development and social justice.

Portugal-born Ash said that he had painted a mural at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai during its Summerfest.

He said that he had started as a street-artist in Paris, where he had studied, and later went into doing paintings for galleries.

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“But it was only the studio work and exhibiting in galleries was not reaching such a broad public,” he said.

“So I went back to the street and did murals because it has a much bigger impact and you can actually transmit messages much better than just exhibiting in galleries for a few specific people.” (IANS)