Tuesday, April 30, 2013




(Children playing  Sazalong or Hopscotch in a village in Kashmir  .A photograph of 1911 AD.)

  To poor , Mother Earth appears  indifferent . Yet  this indifference is always benign. She comes forward with everything .The birds , dancing brooks, shady trees , green valleys and above all her own  surface . She appears to say :-

“ Come child! Draw your dreams on my  body and play your games. Here am I .  ”

This game was played the world over . In India, hopscotch is also  known as  Stapu, or Ekhat-Dukhat (meaning one two houses) and in Kashmir children  used to call it  SAZALONG  . The  game has a  similar basic  principle all over the world with a little variation .Each player tosses a small marker inside one of the squares on the hopscotch grid, then hops from square to square, hopping over the square with their rock in it. Each player's goal is to hop all the way down to the end and back without the other foot touching the ground.In a common variation, the marker must be kicked with the hopping foot from space to space.The marker can be anything from a stone to a coin.The game  encourages  agility, competitiveness among children  apart from making them physically fit .

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the etymology of hopscotch is a formation from the words “hop” and “scotch”, the latter in the sense of “an incised line or scratch”  .

Hopscotch game in India is known by many names. In regions where Hindi is the prominent language, the game goes by Kith-Kith, Stapu, and Langdi. In Bengal, it is known as Ekhaat Duhaat or Ekka Dukka. You can find kids in Maharashtra enjoying a game of Langdi Paani. The game is widely popular in South India and is known by the names Kunte Bille (Karnataka), Paandi (Tamil Nadu), Tokkudu Billa (Andra Pradesh and Telangana).Played mostly by girls in India , Sazalong was quite popular in  Kashmir . It was predominantly a street game in Kashmir.

It is widely believed that  ancient Romans started this game wherefrom it travelled  the world over.It is believed that the game was invented to train Roman soldiers and the courts spanned to over 100 feet. The Hopscotch court was used to help Roman foot soldiers to improve their footwork as they ran the course in full armour.The French version of Hopscotch is popularly known as Escargot meaning ‘snail’.
I conclude this mini write up with a quote of Ricky Shroder, the well-known  American actor and filmmaker :-

" I spent my whole childhood wishing I were older and now I'm spending my adulthood wishing I were younger."

( Avtar Mota )


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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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