April 18, 2013

Punjabi Gulli-Danda

Punjabi Gulli Danda is an amateur sport played in the rural areas and small towns all over India and Pakistan especially inTamil Nadu, Punjab, as well as Cambodia and Italy.
Gulli Danda known by various other names: it is called Tipcat in English,Dandi-Biyo in Nepali, alak-doulak(الک دولک)  in Persian, dānggűli in Bengali& Assamese, chinni-dandu in kannadaKuttiyam kolum in Malayalam, viti-dandu  in Marathi, kitti-pul in Tamil, Gooti-Billa or Karra-Billa or Billam-Goduin Telegu, Gulli-Danda in Punjabi, Geeti Danna (گیٹی ڈنا) in Saraiki, Iti-Dakar (اٽي ڏڪر)  in Sindhi, Lappa-Duggi (لپا ڈگی )  in Pashto and Kon ko inKhmer, the Cambodian language.


"Gulli Danda" origins in India date back to the "Maurya Dynasty" or even before that. This game is an extremely famous local game played all over the sub continent and even in South Asia especially in Pakistan. Gulli Danda is also believed to be the origin of many such European and American games like Cricket, Baseball & Softball. This is due to the similarities of this game to the current version of Cricket or Baseball.


Only two sticks are needed: a big one (called the Danda) which is used to hit a smaller one (called the Gilli, Gulli, Viti or Vittee).


"Gulli or Gilli Danda" is played with 2 pieces of equipment- gulli meaning a small oval-shaped wooden structure. This is believed to have evolved into the cork, seasoned ball or softball for cricket and baseball. In this game a player balances the gulli on a stone in an inclined manner (somewhat like a see-saw) with one end of the gulli rested or touching the ground while the other end is in the air. Player uses the second part of the equipment called "Danda" which in English is the stick- this is believed to have been evolved in to the Cricket or Baseball Bat. With the Danda, the player hits the gulli at the end which is in the air to flip it in the air and then strike the gulli as far as possible. The player is made to stand in a small circle with the Danda and the gulli. The objective is to strike the gulli while in mid air as far as possible. The player is required to run and touch a particular section as decided until the gulli is retrieved back.- This part is similar to runs in cricket or home-runs in baseball.

Scoring and outs

There are many regional variations to scoring.
The gulli becomes airborne after it is struck. If a fielder from the opposingteam catches the gulli, the striker is out. If the gulli lands on the ground, the fielder closest to the gulli has one chance to hit the danda (which has to be placed on top of the circle used) with a throw (similar to a run out in cricket). If the fielder is successful, the striker is out; if not, the striker scores onescore and gets another opportunity to strike. The team (or individual) with the most points wins the game. If the striker fails to hit gulli in three tries, the striker is out (similar to a strikeout in baseball).While the Gulli has been struck the opponent player/players need to retrieve the Gulli back to the Circle or, in the best case, catch the Gulli in mid air without it hitting the ground - this was believed to have later evolved into a Catch Out in Cricket and Baseball.


There is no official maximum number of players or teams. Gulli danda can be played where each individual plays for themselves, or between two teams.


As an amateur youth sport, gulli danda has many variations. A common variation is where the striker is allowed to hit the gilli twice, once initially, and then while the gilli is in the air.
In some versions, the points a striker scores is dependent on the distance the gilli falls from the striking point. The distance is measured in terms of the length of the danda, or in some cases the length of the gulli. Scoring also depends on how many times the gilli was hit in the air in one strike. If it travels a certain distance with two mid-air strikes, the total point is doubled.
In Nepal, Dandi biyo is played in similar fashion.

Similar games

·      In the Philippines, a game known as syatong is similar to gulli danda.
·      In Italy a similar game known as "Lippa", "Lipe", "Tirolo", or "S-cianco" is shown in the movie Watch out We Are Mad.
·      In the United States, a similar game is called pee-wee.
·      Dainty is a street ball game played in Schnitzelburg Louisville, in the United States
Premchand the famous Hindi literary figure, wrote a short story named "Gulli danda" in which he compares old simple times and emotions to modern values and also hints at caste inequalities in India. The protagonist and narrator of the story recounts his inability to play gulli danda well in his youth. He remembers a friend who could literally control the gulli as he wished. He goes away and comes back an adult and a Government officer. He searches for his old friend and finds him - he is very poor and says "Where do we get the time?" when asked by the protagonist whether he plays gulli danda. The protagonist convinces him to play - he cheats at every opportunity, but his friend meekly submits, even though he would not have let him get away with such deceit in his youth. After being defeated, the friend invites him to a gulli danda match the next day. The protagonist is shocked when he sees his friend play just as well as before and realises that he had indulged him because he knew that he had forgotten the basics of gulli danda. The protagonist feels very small and goes back to the city humiliated.

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