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The Long and Short of Gilli Danda

Can you believe ‘Gilli Danda’ or ‘Tip cat’ was played in India from the 6th century BCE? It is found that some of the games that we see or play today have their antecedence in old Pali literature and have passed to us in gradual process of transformation and development over more than two millennia. It is amazing to note that this game then called ‘Ghatika' has got its significance with the spreading of Buddhist religion across Southeast Asia. This game was played in countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam.

Though there are quite a few variations of the game but it all involves a stick of about 1½ ft and a shorter stick of about 6 inches tapered at both ends. When hit at one of the tapered end with the big stick, the little stick flips and it becomes easy to hit it to a distance.

The most common variation that is still played is one in which the short stick is hit at one end and when it flips, it is swung or hit to a distance. The number of points scored depends on the distance the Gilli has covered, which is usually measured with the bigger stick. Additionally, a player scores doubles when he is able to strike the shorter stick more than once in mid air. If the Gilli is caught mid air by the opposition the striker is considered out.

 By: Madhuchanda saxena


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