By Dhruba Sagar Sharma, Galeshwor, Aug 5: Elders and sports lovers have voiced their concern over the near-extinction of traditional and indigenous games due to excessive use of information technology (mobile phones and other gadgets), globalization and lack of conservation.
Stating that many physical games were already extinct over three decades, they have also called for the preservation, promotion and popularization of these disappearing indigenous games.
Dandibiyo and Kapardi which were once recognized as national sports are on the verge of extinction while Guchcha, Chamcha-Guchcha, Khopi, Baghchaal, Paandunge, Lakkudhal, Rumal Lukai, Gir, Ghurra, Bhale Judhai, Rassi Tanne, Phirphire, Khutti, Gatta/Gatti, Chor-Police, Thelo, Ghaito Phutai among others are no longer played at houses and playground localities unless in schools as a fun-activities among the students.
Although the National Sports Development Act-2077 incorporates traditional games in sports while defining sports, grievances are rife that the Ministry of Youth and Sports was not taking any initiatives to develop, conserve and promote these games.
Govinda Shrestha, a senior athlete from Myagdi, lamented that the Ministry was indifferent toward traditional and indigenous games. Nain Kumar Shrestha, an elderly from Beni Municipality-7 viewed that the massive craze of mobile phones and the internet among the children had also contributed to the disappearance of those games widely played with peers during his childhood.
Recollecting his childhood, the elderly bemoaned that exciting games such as making pots from clay, purchasing those pots with leaves of Chilaune assuming it to be currency, climbing into the branches of trees and shaking the branches to feel like riding vehicles and chatting with peers on telephone made of string and empty matchboxes were now extinct.
Eighty-six-year-old Bed Prasad Upadhyay of Beni Municipality-2 added that keeping bumblebees, bees, flies or worms in the box of matchsticks and pretending to be playing radio while attaching a string to the tail of the dragonfly is now a thing- of- the past.
With the ubiquitous influence of mobile phones and the internet, children in both urban and rural areas have ceased playing these physical sports. Upadhyay reminisced playing with paper-made aeroplanes, boats and birds with peers which he argued boosted their physical, emotional and social health.
These days, he commented, neither children nor their parents or schools encourage children to play such games. A social teacher at Buddha Academy at Bagarfaant, Dhanabir Thapa, shared that children hooked in internet games such as Free Fire and PUBG among others were aloof and would feel decreased feelings of the collective spirit.
Our indigenous games were cost-effective and environment-friendly as well, asserted another elderly Min Bahadur Karki. The retired captain from the Indian Army opined that such games would promote physical fitness, ensure entertainment and foster brotherhood. The disappearance of those games was certainly a cause for concern and incurred loss in public health and national identity, he argued.
A committee was formed by the National Sports Council in the 1970s to hunt indigenous games in Nepal. Data and statistics on such games were collected from all over the country and a report on the same was also prepared at that time. Much to the dismay, no action was taken thereafter to preserve and promote those games.
Although indigenous games play an important role in establishing national identity, the senior citizens and sports lovers expressed that the concerned Ministry was not paying any attention to the preservation, promotion and popularization of such games. (RSS)