India, the land of culture, heritage, and variety of forms of art, has a few notable sports and games which are believed to have emerged from the land. Kho-Kho, a widely celebrated sport, being one of those, has always been at the heart of rural India also being one of the oldest outdoor sports dating back to the ancient Indian subcontinent. People from all walks of life, enthusiastically play this game though it is nothing but a highly modified version of 'Run Chase'. The sport is widely played across South Asia and has an indigenous presence in South Africa and England. It is played most often by school children in India and Pakistan and is a competitive game. The activity involved in the game increases stamina and aids in the social and mental development of school children.

Origin and Emergence of Kho-Kho

An extremely sober in nature, the origin story of this energizing game is quite the opposite. It is widely believed that the respective sport has been inspired by the Hindu sacred text of Mahabharata. However, Maharashtra is believed to be its birthplace and in those ancient times, it was known by the name Rathera. Several references to the game of Rathera could be found in tales of the epic 'Mahabharata' and since then the game has been modified and suited to different standards. The chorus reveals that on the thirteenth day of the war of Mahabharata the General of Kauravas along with Dronacharya, created the ‘Chakravyuha’- a military defensive circle. The fearless warrior Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, was killed due to this Chakravyuha having to fight seven warriors alone, managed to inflict heavy causalities over Kauravas. The tactical tricks and method used by Abhimanyu to fight this defensive circle and many other is frequently put in use in the game of Kho-Kho. The game of Kho-Kho was played using chariots during ancient periods. As the chariots are called ‘Rath’ in Sanskrit, the game was then popular by the name ‘Rathera’.

How is it played?

While lots of sports around may require equipment and proper places along with safety tools, Kho-Kho, on the other hand, is a game that anybody can play. It does not need any such necessary equipment without which it cannot be played, unlike other games. For example, to play cricket, you will need a bat, a ball, and a wicket, while to play Kho-Kho, you would just need your pals. Kho-Kho is played by several teams consisting of 12 players out of which 9 enter the field and the remaining 3 become the defending members. these nine are referred to as the chasing team, who enter the field and sit with their knees on the ground. The remaining players from the defending team try to pass by without being touched by the opposing team members. Defenders must be quick enough. The defender should highly possess qualities such as flexibility and speed. 

Defenders must have a sufficient amount of reflex in the body because it allows them to change the direction to keep the game active in a real way. The sport is played in a field of 29 * 16 meters. The poles are located on each side of the playground and the central lane is drawn from one pole to the other. There are eight cross lanes that cut the central lane perpendicularly and are drawn parallel to one another. The equipment that may come into need of Kho Kho includes a pair of watches, a whistle, a measuring tape, boric powder, and some stationery items for writing results. Also, there can be two referees who stand on opposite sides of the field opposite sides. They both carry stopwatches and each is responsible for deciding on a verdict. In this game, when a few individuals are sitting and one person is running, he or she may go from any place, but the person who is sitting must always be prepared to start racing after the fast person. As a result, the Kho-Kho makes you quicker than any other game you’ve ever played.

People nowadays are less interested in playing Kho-Kho, but there are still a few that see the value of playing Kho-Kho in their everyday lives. It makes you all so fast and your mind responds to situations rapidly; there are many advantages to playing this game, but the fact is that no one wants to play it anymore. Everyone loves to play cricket or football, and all of these sports are enjoyable, but Kho-Kho has a comparable significance to play. So that’s all there is to Kho-Kho, the game that keeps you active and healthy. The game that has no religious borders, the game that does not need anything other than people, and the game that makes school life the greatest life of your life.

This game helps in building physical fitness, strength, speed, and stamina. It also develops qualities such as obedience, discipline, sportsmanship, and loyalty between team members. The game is interesting because the position of the players sitting is dynamic; one will never find the same sequence of players are in the same order as when the game starts.

Kho-Kho has since grown from strength to strength, especially in the South Asian countries but it has failed to strengthen its hold in other regions. However as a sport, Kho-Kho is still in its early stages and it remains to be seen whether it would succeed in catching the eye of the Europeans, Americans and others like it has amongst the South Asian countries. Even today, kho-kho is considered as a game only instead of a sport in many parts of India as well despite its advantages and benefits as a sport, as not only the above qualities it too helps to develop leadership, teamwork, courage, patience in an individual.

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