September 1, 2023


Indigenous Art & Culture




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The rural areas of West Bengal seem to be rich in different traditional practices. We cannot find it in cities. Ingredients like broken clay pots, ragged clothes, fruit seeds etc. are used as different playing items in rural areas. Due to financial weakness their choices are less unlike the city people who are always fond of buying expensive playing items like cricket kits, tennis kits etc. Rural people have access to limited resources. The influence of western culture and globalization have made us forgot our traditional folk games and adopt their culture. Traditional folk games can impact a child’s mind very much. 


Traditional practice, financial weakness, limited resources, folk games.


Games are any forms of play or way of playing in which people engage themselves for refreshment, amusement, entertainment and joy. The games are very much needed for physical and mental development of the children. Different types of games have different effects on the players like chess develops concentration and thinking power. In ‘kana machhi’ game players develop a sense of sound. Games develop the habit of teamwork and friendship. During the British rule Indian people became addicted to the foreign games like cricket, hockey ignoring the traditional games. The reason probably was that playing of these types of games would make them equal to the British people.


i)To inform the people of new age about our rich heritage of past.

ii) Encourage the new generation to play those games.

iii)  Promote them as the replacement of western games like cricket, football. 


Secondary data has been collected. Journals, books and newspapers have been used for the study.


People of West Bengal are mainly of poor class. Most of them depend on agriculture, tending of flocks etc.  Mainly 70% of the population are directly or indirectly associated with agriculture. For this reason, it is natural to get intimacy with the traditional games like ‘kana machhi’, ‘pittoh’, ‘kith kith’, ‘guli or marble balls’ etc.  Parents also force their children to play these types of game for their mental and physical development. Arrangements of these types of game are free and easily available. Children can play on the sides of village roads, in the playground, on the way from home etc.


All the parents want that their children remain physically and mentally fit. For this reason, when children grow up, they rush to play with their friends. Generally girls and boys are found to be engaged in separate types of games. Boys are generally found to play ‘Goli or marble glass’,‘lattu’, ‘danguli’, ‘ghuri or kite flying’, ‘luko-churi or hide and seek’, ‘ha du du’, ‘rumal churi’, ‘lathi khela’, ‘ Morog Lorai’  etc.  

Girls are generally found to play ‘kith-kith’, pittuh’ ,‘putul khela’, ‘ranna bati’, ‘kumir danga’,  ‘ kanamachi’ etc. But there are no such gender biased games as both boys and girls play all types of games to some extent.

The boys games are discussed below:- 

  1. GOLI or MARBLE BALL:-It is very popular games among the boys of rural Bengal. Here, every player keeps a goli and a hole is made on the ground with the heel. The players stay some feet away from the hole and they kneel down to send the ball into the hole with the help of their forefingers of left hand. They stretch back the finger with right hand finger and the ball is released to put into the hole. Most of the times boys fail to put it in the holes. The person who can beat other by pushing out other’s ‘goli’ from the hole becomes the winner.
  1. LATTU:- It is a play of  spinning and balancing. A wooden ball with a pin passed through it, is tied with a rope from the bottom.  Then it is thrown onto the ground. The person who can spin the ‘lattu’ for the longest time becomes the winner of the game. Sometimes they clash by throwing one’s ‘lattu’ on the others.
  1. DANGULLY:- Gully is a three–four inch wooden cylindrical shape. ‘Dan’ means ‘danda’, a wooden stick. It is 24 inch long. A small pit is dug in the ground of about 4 inch. The first player puts the gulli across the pit and puts his ‘danda’ into the pit under the ‘gulli’ and holds. He then pushes the gulli off. Then the other players try to catch gulli. If they succeed in catching it, the first player is out and second gets a chance to push the gulli in a similar way. But if the other player fails to catch the gulli, the first player places the danda on the pit and one of them throws the gulli on to danda from the point where the gulli had landed. Even if he succeeds in hitting the danda, the first player is out and it will be second player’s turn to play.
  1. GHURI:- It is a lovely game. Kite is made of colorful paper and thin bamboo sticks. Cord is tied with kites and they are flown in the air. When the kite soars up, it fights with another kite and tries to bring the other kite down .Who can bring down the kite, is declared the winner. There are small boys who chase those runaway kites and collect them. That is another enjoyable part of the game. 
  1. LUKO CHURI or HIDE & SEEK:-It is very popular game among the rural children. Children learn the game in their house from their seniors. A child at first is asked to close his or her eyes and other players rush from that place and go for hiding. Then the person opens his or her eyes and searches for other people. A child also plays this game with mother, grandmother and other family members. If he catches any person then the other person will do the same.
  1. HA DU DU or KABADI:-Kabadi and Ha Du Du are the different names of the same game. In this game two teams are formed. Two teams are separated by a line. Then one enters within the others area in a single breath and touch the opponent body. The person who is touched by the opponent player has to go out of the field. Then the person tries to return to his own court within the span of breath and opponents try to stop him from going back. If he fails to get back to his court, he has to be out of court. Thus the game continues.
  1. RUMAL CHURI:- In this game one becomes ‘chor’ or thief. Others sit in a round shape by closing their eyes.  All the players sing song and within this period the thief keeps the ‘rumal’ or handkerchief behind the sitting players. When the song ends the players search for the ‘rumal’ behind them. The person who gets the ‘rumal’ runs after the thief and the thief runs around the circle and tries to save him from the thief. Then he sits in the vacant place created by the man running after him. If the man is caught by the thief before grabbing the seat, their position changes.
  1. LATHI KHELA:- It is a game played by boys mainly. The person who performs it, is called ‘lathial’. The sticks are made of bamboo. It is also part of a martial art. They wield the bamboo sticks and perform different tricks in his style as a part of self-defense. It is very popular among the rural people.
  1. MOROG LORAI or COCK-FIGHT:- It is also a popular game played by boys of teen age. The boys stand on one leg in a circle. Each player folds his one leg with two hands and pushes the other boys. The person who falls is thrown out of the game. Who can push out every one becomes the winner.

The girls games are discussed below:- 

  1.  PITTUH:- Girls are divided into two groups. Two teams stand at a distance from each other with seven or nine stones placed in the midway and piled up in pyramid shape. A member of the first team hits the pile and gets three chances. If the person fails to do this, the second team member gets the chance next. If the person from the first team hits the pile and the second team member catches the ball before it bounces back to the ground, the ball will be passed to the second team to continue the game. If the second team member fails to catch the ball, their aim is to stop the first team members from gathering the stones to make the pyramid again. They try to stop the first team members of other team with the ball. The members of the first team try to avoid contact with the ball and if they are able to make the pile again without being hit by the ball, they retrieve the ball to strike stone pile. 
  1.  KANA MACHI:- One person’s eyes are blindfolded with a cloth and ten rest of the children will stay around the blind person. The person sounds like – ‘kana machi vo vo ,(sound of fly ) jake pabi take chou(touch the person you can). He then tries to catch others and if he can do this, the other person will be the next blind folded person. At least three players are needed to play this game.
  1. KITH KITH:- The game is played with a piece of broken clay pot and it is called GUTI . It is round and flat in shape. A three yard long rectangle with two yards wide is drawn. The box is divided into six squares. The game starts by throwing the ‘guti’ inside the square box. The player transfers the guti by kicking with one foot and hops through the court. She lands one foot in single box and two feet in the double box. After reaching the last box in a single breathe the player turns back to return to the beginning place in the same way without losing the breath which she took at the starting of the game. If the girl loses breath and balance, she will be out. 
  1. PUTUL KHELA:- ‘Putul’ or doll is generally made of clothes, wood, clay etc. The girls decorate the dolls with ornaments and color. They try to portray the role of girls in a family. They cook for the doll, give marriage of the dolls etc. by chanting some rhymes like –

             “ Chompa fuler gondhe ,

                              Jamai aiche anonde ,

                   Chompa fuler subhase,

                              Jamai aiche aahase’’ 

The song says about the blooming of champa flower and the joy in heart for the arrival of son in law. The smell of flower is everywhere all around.

  1. KUMIR DANGA:- It is a very popular game among the children of rural Bengal. The place where the game is played is generally low land and the nearby places have to be higher. One player is selected a ‘kumir’ or crocodile. The players change their places among the higher places called ‘danga’ and they tease the ‘kumir’ who stands in the low lying area. They try to evade the ‘kumir’ by saying :-

         “ kumir tor jole nemechi, jol ghola korechi,

Dhorte parle dhor amar pa, r nahole ghola jol kha.”

The song says, “Oh crocodile! I’ve come to your area and muddled the water. Catch me if you can. Otherwise drink that muddled water.”

If the ‘kumir’ catches a person she becomes the next ‘kumir’.

  1. RANNA BATI:- The girls gather with their miniature utensils like – bowl, plate, cauldron, glass and cook different types of food falsely and distribute among themselves. Actually those foods were mixture of grass, green leaves, water etc. They sit together and have meal together. Thus the game is played.


Globalization has made the people of West Bengal gone far away from their own culture, practice, belief etc. It is not bad to follow the trends of the world. But at the same time we must not forget our own tradition.  Those traditional games helped our people in planning, strategy making, instant decision making, concentration, physical – mental development, team work etc. Those games are going to become a part of history. Though those were once practiced among the rural children. It is a source of physical movement, joy, health development, mental development. These varieties of games carry rich cultural value and heritage value.




iii)http://www.traditional games of India

iv) Bandopadhaya Kaushik, Khela Jokhon Itihas, Situ, Kolkata 2016

v) Ghosh, Pallab: Traditional sports and games culture around West Bengal, International Journal of Novel Research in Humanity and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, Issue 3, May-June 2015