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Preserving Tradition: Indian Gilli Danda Federation is Promoting and Sustaining a Cultural Heritage

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Founded with the mission to safeguard indigenous sports, the Indian Gilli Danda Federation stands as the vanguard of the legacy of Gilli Danda. 

In the colorful mosaic of India’s traditional sports, Gilli Danda holds a cherished place, embodying the essence of simplicity, skill, and community. It also unfolds countless childhood memories for many of us. 

Gilli Danda is one of the simplest outdoor games. With a Danda (long wooden stick) in hand, a player inclines a Gilli (a small oval shaped piece of wood) on a stone. Then he tosses the Gilli in the air with the Danda and while it is in air, he strikes it hard to transport it as far as possible. He runs fast to a marked point before the Gilli is retrieved. But if an opponent player catches it airborne, then the striker is out.

As the custodian of this timeless game, the Indian Gilli Danda Federation (IGDF) plays a pivotal role in preserving, promoting, and revitalizing this cultural heritage. BK Bharat, the Technical Director of Indian Gilli Danda Federation said, “In 2017, the official Rule Book was published by the IGDF where there are standardized rules and regulations to play the game.” 

Central to the IGDF’s mandate is the promotion and propagation of Gilli Danda across diverse demographics. Through grassroots initiatives, workshops, and outreach programs, the Federation endeavors to reintroduce the game to both urban and rural audiences. By partnering with educational institutions, cultural organizations, and government agencies, the IGDF raises awareness about the historical significance and recreational value of Gilli Danda.

A one-day workshop and a technical seminar was recently conducted in Kolkata under the aegis of Gilli Danda Association of Bengal. It was conducted by BK Bharat, Technical Director of Indian Gilli Danda Federation. Supriyo Biswas, Secretary of Gilli Danda Association of Bengal informed, “More than 50 participants from different districts of West Bengal as well as 6 participants from Jharkhand were present.” 

Through these kind of workshops and grassroots initiatives, the Federation endeavors to reintroduce the game to both urban and rural audiences. The IGDF also has the vision to integrate Gilli Danda into school curricula, extracurricular activities, and community programs. Through scholarships, coaching clinics, and talent identification programs, the IGDF want to cultivate a new cadre of skilled athletes, ensuring the continuity and vitality of the sport.

Parash Mishra, the President of Gilli Danda Federation of Bengal proudly said, “We have the vision to make Gilli Danda a much-acclaimed international game within a couple of years.”

In future, the IGDF also plan to conduct digital tournaments to connect to diverse audience. With all these efforts, the Federation is working relentlessly to transcend Gilli Danda from the status of a mere sport to a symbol of cultural resilience, unity, and pride. 

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PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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