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Posham Pa, Gilli Danda Among 75 ‘Bhartiya Games’ to be Introduced in Schools

The central government has announced that it will introduce 75 “Bhartiya Games” in schools under the Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) initiative. The list of the games includes games like posham pa, vish amrit, gilli danda and langdi. Games like Santhal katti, a version of gilli danda played by Odisha’s Santhal tribe, mardani khel, a form of martial arts originating from Maharashtra, and yubi lapki, a rugby-like game played with coconut in Manipur are also in the list.

The list was compiled with the help of experts who suggested indigenous games originating from different parts of the country.  “The idea is not just to simply promote Indian games in schools. The actual idea is to make sports more inclusive at the school level. For instance, the schools in rural areas do not have infrastructure for popular school games like basketball or badminton. Why should we restrict their participation?” Ganti S Murthy, national coordinator of IKS told a leading news daily.

The introduction of Indian games was announced on the second anniversary of the National Education Policy that was implemented in 2020. The initiative will be sustained under the Ministry of Education. These “Bhartiya Games” are said to be deeply rooted in Indian culture, with some dating back thousands of years. For instance, gilli danda is believed to be a 5,000-year-old game that has been mentioned in the Mahabharata.

The Indian games listed under the IKS initiative will be introduced in schools through physical training (PT) teachers. The teachers will also share pictures and videos of students playing the game. The best performing schools and the PT teachers associated will be awarded certificates.

On the second anniversary of the announcement of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, home minister Amit Shah had said India is using only 5 per cent of the potential of the country, if we are not teaching and learning in local Indian languages. If we are teaching in English only, we are reaching only five per cent of the students in a class, said Shah. The government said that teaching in the mother tongue will ensure easy understandability as well as ensure no one is discriminated against in colleges or at the time of employment because of their language skills.

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