Childhood memories of play and recreation bring nostalgia. Each one of us has some unforgettable memories to cherish which energize us and stay with us for a lifetime. But amidst the transition, from playgrounds towards an era of video games and gadgets, we have lost the rich heritage of traditional games which were an inseparable part of our lives.
Lagori or dikori is one such outdoor game played with a ball and seven flat stones (stacked above each other) in almost all parts of India with different names such as Pithoo, Ezhu Kallu, Saat Patha, Lingocha, Sitoliya, Dabba Kal, Palli Patti. The history of this game dates back to the era of Bhagwad Gita which quotes Lord Shri Krishna playing this game.
Lagori is a power-packed team game involving two teams, the seeker and the hitter team, with minimum three to maximum seven members in each team. One member from the seekers’ team throws the ball at the vertically stacked pile of stones to knock them down from a distance. The next aim of the team is to stack the pile of stones back to position, while the hitters try to strike any player from the seekers’ team below the knee level. While the players of the seekers’ team are allowed to run and save themselves from the strike the hitters are only allowed to pass the ball between the closest players to strike the other team. If the seekers’ team successfully stacks the pile they secure a point and a chance to throw the ball again, whereas if the hitters’ team strikes the player first then the possession changes. Skillful coordination between the team members is the essence of the game.
Lagori fosters strong communication and coordination between members of the team. The game is an excellent way of developing bonding and solidarity between children. Swiftness in action and alertness in thoughts along with a good pace while running & escaping are an important part of the game. Lagori focuses on hitting the target right and improves attentiveness and aiming skills.
Swinging the arms to pass the ball, running and jumping make children physically fitter while team spirit and cooperation strengthen them socially. It also helps to inculcate alertness, improves hand-eye coordination, precision & concentration, and sharpens observation skills which add to their mental abilities. Outdoor games like Lagori provide an excellent opportunity to multitask and teach children to compete in a healthy environment with the true spirit of sportsmanship contributing to their overall development.
We often recall the joy of outdoor games played during childhood, but we would fail in our duties if we do not pass on the legacy to our future generations. Efforts are being taken to revive Lagori with the launch of Indian Lagori Premier League (ILPL). Many states are joining hands for a revival of this game which is on the verge of extinction.