Sports in India are synonymous with Cricket. What is usually forgotten in our frenzy for the game is its colonial imprint. Cricket’s rules were devised by the whites, for the whites. In India, the first cricket club was formed in 1792, but the Indian National Cricket Team played its first Test Match in 1932, just 140 years later. Now Cricket has so many forms and Trillions of fans around the world, but this is not the Sport of Indian Origin.
A number of games which involve mental exercise and a clever play of intuition and luck are said to have originated here. These include chess, card games, carrom, kabaddi, snakes and ladder and badminton to name a few. If certain accounts are to be believed, dices were also invented here. Archeological study of Harappan civilization has found the four-sided dices which are the skeletal of a number of children’s play no-a-days.
Chess draws its history back to 6th Century North India, where ‘Chaturanga’ was played avidly. With the Persian invasion, ‘chaturanga’ became ‘shatranj’ and travelled to the Middle East and the western nation. Interestingly, the word ‘checkmate’ is an English rendition of the Persian ‘shah mat’ or the king is stumped!
Every Indian has panicked on seeing their dice close to the snake in ‘snakes and ladders’. The game was much more stressful in the 13th century, when Sant Gyandev designed the game! The snakes were representatives of vices and the ladders symbolized the good in life. Following the Indian philosophy of karma and moksh, the game taught its players one thing – only by avoiding vices can one achieves the ultimate victory.
Although no concrete evidence is available, it is believed that carrom was originated in Indian Subcontinent. Now it is widely played in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is widely accepted that Indian Maharajas invented the game of Carrom in 18th Century. Now it is so popular indoor game that one can see carom board in every house.