Dankaur, (JPN/ Bureau): Even though Indians are crazy about cricket and cricket stars, Gilly Danda remains the king of all sports. Unlike other outdoor games, it does not require lofty set-up, nor a lawn and court, nor is a net needed to play. 

The paraphernalia for Gilly Danda involves two wooden chunks of contrasting sizes and two men, to start the game. At a time when cricket World Cup frenzy has engulfed the entire nation, a GillY Danda championship is something that we do not often come across. Few GillY Danda enthusiasts from Dankaur are straining every nerve to preserve the game and take it all the way to the national games on the lines of Kabbadi.

Dankaur, a small town near Uttar Pradesh’s most high-tech city Gautam Buddh Nagar, has been hosting Gulli danda championship in Eklavya stadium for the past 20 years. Earlier, young boys participated in the competition but hardly had the support of their families. Now, things have changed. The families have become more liberal about the game and come in great numbers to support the participants.

The clubs, which are named as Star club, Babang club, Dua club, Fanaa club, fight it out hard to win the championship. This year, Kadeem club emerged victorious and every member of the squad was awarded with a Hero Honda motorcycle, while the runners-up received hero ranger cycles. Along with it, players of both teams were given bluetooth and infrared enabled mobile phones.

Pankaj Kaushik, president of chief event sponsor, Drona Tourism Challenge Committee, says that it is the same venue where Eklavya constructed Guru Dronacharya’s statue and trained himself in archery. It is believed that Kauravs and Pandavas also played Gilly Danda here, after their archery lessons.

To incorporate Gilly Danda in the national games, letters have already been dispatched to the Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India.

Rajesh, GillY Danda player, believes that the educated section of society looks down at this ancient game with contempt. He also adds that the traditional game is India’s heritage which needs to be preserved.
Nasir Salmani, Star club player, feels that such type of competitions is vital to safeguard Gilly Danda from extinction. He adds that earlier it was tagged as a dangerous game but now people have realized that no game is played without involving risk, even in cricket, players sustain physical injuries.

Gilly Danda is not restricted to India only, even abroad it is played with great passion. It is known as Kon Ko in Combodia, Lippa in Italy and P-V in US.