How many of us know that India is the unbeaten champion in the Kabaddi World Cup even today. Perhaps none of us. How many of us are aware that India has been playing in the finals of the Kabaddi World Cup each time the cup was held since 2004? How many of us are even aware of the existence of the Kabaddi World Cup? Very few of us. How many of us know who the cricket world champions are? How many of us know about the latest iPad or the latest Play Station? Most of us.
Kabaddi and Kho Kho are two of the most popular tag game sports. Both of them were very integral part of the physical training of students in schools and students were often seen enjoying these games in the recess. Both these games were highly competitive and need strategy and organisational skills. Hence, they were an important part of the curriculum.
Sadly, today one does not encounter many students playing these games anymore. During the days before India was colonized these two games were among the most popular sports in the country. There were regular tournaments and matches. People gathered for these matches and watched them together. It was a source of entertainment and recreation. People socialized with one another during tournaments. As both these sports are played on a relatively smaller ground the audience has to sit or stand around the playing area. There were no stadiums or audience stands. This further bought the people closer. However, with the British came the gentlemen’s game.
With the coming of cricket people started losing interest in Kho Kho and Kabaddi. Initially, they lost their interest at a slow pace but with India prospering in cricket and the state backing it, people lost all interest in Kho Kho and Kabaddi. The two games became the games of villages and were looked down upon by sports such as cricket, tennis etc.
However, even though the popularity of these two sports was declining they were still played in schools. They were considered vital as helped build stamina and strategical thinking. Through these games the students learnt the importance of team work and how to work in teams.
Around a decade and a half ago, the first play station was launched. Computer games started gaining popularity. Today, if you ask the average 12 year old child, he would know and would have played all the games one could play on an iPad from Temple Run to Fifa but most likely he would have never played Kabaddi.
Apart from football and cricket, children hardly play any team sports these days. Basketball and hockey are seldom encouraged by schools or by parents. The problem is not with students playing Angry Birds or Fifa; the problem is children not playing sports like Kho Kho and Kabaddi.
The decline of these sports have led to several things which include lack of stamina, team spirit and cooperation. The generation as a whole has become lazy with the level of tolerance falling every day. In the past people from the entire village or an entire housing society in the towns and cities used to come together to watch a match. Such socializing is not done anymore. Our society has reached a point where we don’t know who our next door neighbours are.
Several ways can be adopted to revive these sports back. The state has to play a major role in this by funding these sports adequately. Once the state funds them, the media will automatically start paying attention to them. Schools should encourage students to play these games. Also, these games should be made into iPad and Xbox games. Once the children play these games sitting on their couches, they might want to play them on the ground too.