“We don’t stop playing because we grow old… We grow old because we stop playing” -George Bernard Shaw
Perhaps Bernard Shaw was right. This quote immediately brought back memories of my childhood days, when my friends and I would happily participate in countless traditional games in my hometown village. Right now, screens have invaded each and every spectrum of our life. I am not complaining per se, but I am concerned about how the spaces are shrinking and we are confined indoors, missing out on the enjoyment that these indigenous games provide.
With time, we have not only lost the zeal for indigenous games but there are fewer playing spaces for children and students. I have always believed that neither extreme is recommended; children and the youth should have fun with new technologies, and they should also enjoy the outdoors with the age-old classic games that have entertained countless prior generations.
Time has flown, and in this modern era, it is always a challenge to find new ways to play traditional games in limited spaces. It is here, REVA University, one of the forerunners in higher education has come up with a unique initiative called Khel Khoj. It is our modest effort to promote and revitalise indigenous sports in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, NEP 2020 and G20 India. I am sure this gives the necessary impetus for students to interact with each other.
Be it board games like Pagade or Cowrie Khel or the field sports like Buguri or Lagori, most of these games are group games. This means the games are not only compelling to play, but also encourage interaction between children by letting them converse, laugh and even share personal experiences. I believe that such camaraderie is crucial for students’ development.
The depth of our nation's tradition and past never ceases to astound me. Sports and games have been a part of our tradition. There is no shortage of references to games in our epics and mythology, whether it be the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. Khel Khoj is essentially a return to these old games and their inclusion as a part of the Indian Knowledge System.
I believe Khel Khoj is just the beginning and we, as a Social Impact University, are committed to providing much more. Just like Bernard Shaw said, we grow old because we stop playing. Hence, let’s strive to incorporate more sports and activities into our lives. Maybe, include the traditional and indigenous games so that there’s a desi flavour and an indigenous feel. By doing so, we as a higher education institution align with the larger goal of bringing back the traditional games as well as a bit of our childhood.