Gilli Danda: original Indian cricket…
Imagine a game like cricket or baseball but without a ball! That’s what ‘Gilli Danda’ is like. Gilli Danda requires two wooden sticks – a ‘Gilli’ and a ‘Danda’. The ‘Gilli’ is a small wooden piece which is about three inches long with tapered ends. The ‘Danda’ – a stick, about 2 feet in length, is used to strike the Gilli.
The game is called ‘Dānggőli’ in Bangla, ‘Vhinni-dandu’ in Kannada, ‘Viti-dandu’ in Marathi, ‘Kitti-pullu’ in Tamil, and ‘Gootibilla’ in Telugu.
The demeanor of this sport is such that every individual that plays it once gets fond of it. The challenge of striking the gilli after it’s in the air is very stimulant.
How to Play:
A small circle about four feet in diameter is drawn on the ground with a small oval-shaped hole in the centre (the hole should be smaller than the gilli). The gilli is placed across the hole.
Two teams are formed. One bats and the other fields.
Fielders stand in a position from where they can catch the gilli. The first player places the gilli in the hole and lifts it quickly high in the air with the danda and then strikes it. If he fails at first, he gets another turn. If the fielder catches the gilli before it touches the ground, the batsman is out and the second player tries to hit the gilli. If the gilli is not caught, the distance from the hole to the place where the gilli falls is measured with the danda. Each danda equals one point.
The fielder stands where the gilli had fallen and tosses it to the batsman. The batsman tries to hit the gilli while it is in the air. If it falls, he taps the tapered end and lifts it in the air and strikes while it is in the air. He gets three chances to hit the gilli. If he does not hit it, or is caught, he is out.
The game continues till all batsmen are out. The team changes side and continues the same way. The team with higher score wins.
Whenever the game gulli danda is mentioned we recall the dialogue in the Bollywood movie lagan when bhuvan (Amir Khan’s character) mentions the traditional sport of gilli-danda as similar to cricket.
When you are in a lone battle to fight with the loneliness and boredom of an urban life, I am sure the memory of your childhood in a dusty village surely gives you some feelings of the relief. When in a long holiday, there is no work in your hand, there is nobody to talk with, the fun play afternoon with friends.
Gilli Danda is surely pass through your thinking process like a cool splash of fresh air.