Traditional Games of Pakistan: A glimpse into past and present

Traditional Games of Pakistan: A glimpse into past and present
Traditional Games of Pakistan: A glimpse into past and present


By Jehangir Khan Tareen

MULTAN, Dec 19 (APP):Sports is the common denominator in the world that brings everyone together. If there is only one place across the globe where equality exits, it is probably sports.

It was something that always did not happen. We have come a long way in sports. Why can’t society use sports as a way to bring people together and create change?

It teaches us there is always a second inning in life. If we fail today, there is another chance may be two days later. May be there is another opportunity coming three or six months later. If we look at mistake as learnings and never commit to repeat, then we actually get better with every mistake we make.

Pakistan is a country where numerous games are played at international and national level besides traditional sports. Desi Kushthi (Mud Wrestling), Kabaddi, Horse Dance, Chirpiest Partridge competition, Goli Pila, Tent Pegging, Stone Lifting, Shooting Volley Ball, Bull Racing, Pitthu Garam, Gulli Danda , Cokela Chupati, and Veeni (Wrist grabbing) are some of known traditional sports and the list goes on.

The terms Khusti and Phelvani are expressions derived from Persian Khushti and Pahalvani separately. Locally known as Dangal, the competitions of mud wrestling are organized on Fridays. Different wresters participate in it and dance to the tune of drums after winning.

Titles are awarded to the wrestlers who conquer home and aboard. Rustum-i-Zama, Gamma Phelwan, Rustum-i-Hind, Ustad Raheem Bukhsh, Zubair Jhara , Nasir Bhola Bhala, Inam Phelwan, Bashir Phelwan and Umair Phelwan are a few acclaimed wrestlers.

The arena is popularly known as ‘Akahra’is made of mud around which onlookers assemble to support their favourite wresters. They give cash as prize to the winner. Mud wrestling used to be organized at Vasakhi, a festival marked after harvesting wheat in April every year.

Kabaddi is another famous traditional game played between two teams with seven players each. The game requires a rider of a team who is sent to other team’s court. He takes breath and keeps chanting “ Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi” without any break.

He tries to tag one of the defenders with his hand or leg and runs back to his court to point a score.The defender has to chase the rider and stops him by wrestling him to ground before he escapes without breaking his chant.

Director Media Sports Board Punjab, Abdul Rauf Roofi, told APP that Kabaddi is believed to be played first by founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Hence Sikhs consider it their religious game. Mostly, It is played in Indian and Pakistani Punjab.

Pakistan has an international Kabaddi team which won world cup in 2020 held in Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujrat. It was 6th world cup since 2010.

Irfan Mana, Shafiq Chishti, Lala Obaid Ullah Kambo, Ajmal Shahzad Dogar, and Saif Ullah Bhatti are celebrated players of Pakistani team; he said and added that Pakistan had constituted a women kabaddi team lead by Madeeha Latif. The team participated in 2014-15 world cup.

The Chirpiest Partridge is another interesting traditional sports whose competitions are held in South Punjab too. Caged partridges are placed to chirp the whole day — the chirpiest bird which wins the completion in the evening. People from far flung areas of the region attend the fascinating event

‘ Goli Pilla’ is a childhood game.It played with marbles or pebbles which have to be aimed into the holes in the ground. Instead of clubs, it is played with fingers which are used as a bow. It is played on dirt, getting all your hands and clothes dirty in the process.

Pitthu Garam is known for all the excitement – aiming, running, catching, hitting, and even harmless violence. The game is played by two teams and requires a ball and some stones that will be assembled to form a tower.

Team A piles up the stones and makes a tower. They then strike the pile with a ball at a distance of 3-4 meters. Team B has to catch the ball after it hits the pile without letting it bounce. If they are able to catch it, Team A loses its turn. But if they are not, Team A then tries to reassemble the stones, while Team B hits them with the ball. If they are able to dodge the balls and assemble the stones, they win.

President Traditional Sports and Games Association (TSG), Furqan Khan said that they were working hard for promotion these games. He informed that he visited to Uzbekistan in May this year with his team for an event.

Ex-DG Sports Board Punjab, Adnan Arshad Olukh informed that the board had organized Kabaddi World Cup in 2020 first time in the history of the country wherein nine international teams had participated.

Punjab Sports Minister, Rai Taimoor Bhatti visited Turkey for promotion of Desi Khushti and Kabaddi in the country and called on Turkish president’s son Bilal Erdogan who is interested in traditional and Islamic archery in Pakistan. Last but not the least horse dance is also a well-liked traditional sports in the country. Horse keepers train them for this purpose. They dance to the tune of drums at festivals and other events.

Divisional Sports Officer, Rana Nadeem Anjum said that though these are Non-Olympic games, but these are being played in far and wide of the country. These are healthy activities and people should take out time to entertain themselves. Someone has rightly said that sports is the toy department of human life.