‘Khelo Kabbaddi’ is a popular mantra in India. A game made popular since the times of kings, it even exists today. Centuries have gone by but the magic and fun of this game in India persist strongly. Let us learn about this exciting sport and its origins.
Historians have confirmed that Kabbaddi originated in India. It dates back to a period long before India was what it is today. Our nation then spread far and wide including several kingdoms and states. Mythology also refers to a game like Kabbaddi in the times of Devas and Asuras. Nobody can attest to it but we know there was some version of it being played. There are one or two references that claim it may have originated in Iran. Again, we don’t know if that’s true either. During the Indus Valley civilization, Kabbaddi found its roots here. Some texts claim that Lord Krishna himself played the game. This, in turn, made it popular among the Yadavas, an ancient civilization that worshipped Lord Krishna. Despite this confusion, there is no doubt that India has helped champion the sport. The country thrives on its sportsman spirit and athletic intensity. India was also one of the first countries to make Kabbaddi a competitive sport. India has made consistent efforts over the years to promote and support Kabbaddi.
Unlike cricket, Kabbaddi is a sport from the villages and small towns. It allows people and kids from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds to become athletic. It has also been a common hobby and passion of several rural Indians. The sport can be played by men and women both. India doesn’t have a national sport due to the variety of sports available here. But if it did, Kabbaddi and Hockey would be competing for the spot. Wrestlers in rural areas play it to keep them fit and fast. Even the British Army used this sport as recreation and exercise for its Indian regiment. Indians have taken this sport to various countries such as United Kingdom. There is an official body called the England Kabbaddi Federation UK that governs the sport and hosts leagues. In India, the sport was even included in the National Games. In 1950, the Government decided to add legitimacy and formed the All-India Kabbaddi Federation. Since then the game has been included in Asian Games. Now that we are familiar with its history and origins, time to found out how the game is played.
There are different versions of Kabbaddi. Different leagues have rules that they follow and expect. Two teams play this sport. Each team consists of 7 players. Teams can have 3 players in reserve should any player be injured. There is a court designed and players are expected to play within it. The game lasts for rounds of 20 minutes. Players get a break of 5 minutes between rounds. Player from Team A has to cross over to the side of Team B. He/she has to tag as many players as he/she can. The player has to keep chanting ‘Kabbaddi Kabbaddi’ while he/she does so. The player gets only 30 seconds before he/she has to return back to his side. If the other team tackles him and stops him from reaching the bob line (the line dividing the sides), the player is out and Team B gets a point. Team A has to play with one player short until they score a point. Its speed and short duration make this sport very watchable and exciting. That is why the Pro Kabbaddi League was founded in 2014. They hold annual competitions with teams from each city competing for a cup. The matches are broadcast live on television and you can even purchase tickets to watch at the arena.
Kabbaddi has also been depicted in movies, books, and literature.
Featured Photo by sasastro