How Traditional Hoptscotch Lost Its Turf To Technology

Posted by Raja Ishfaq Lateef in Society, Sports
February 15, 2017

An old game seems to have been utterly forgotten. “Saz Loung” or “Khane’h”, both names of a single game, hopscotch. A game that is played by both, boys and girls, alone or together (to add more fun). I feel that nowadays, the game is alive only in remote areas.

It needs very small spaces and can be played anywhere, from the lawn to the lane outside the house, on paved streets and open grounds.

This game involves making a huge rectangular box on the ground with smaller boxes inside. The number of small boxes depends on the players. Commonly, it is limited to six boxes named, Awwal (first), Doum (second), Soum (gentle), Jaanat (heaven), Samandar (sea) and Jehnum (hell).

A box, comparatively smaller in size, is drawn on the upper side of the huge rectangular box and is called Queen or Ayam or Dullej or Batta.

The players have to throw a small flat piece of wood or a flat stone in the small boxes and cross the boxes while hopping on one leg. The box with the stone in it has to be skipped. After doing this with all the six boxes, the player has to aim for the Dullej, throwing the piece into it. Later with their back facing the boxes, the player has to throw the wooden piece over their heads, beyond the boundaries of the first box (Awwal).

The team or person who crosses the boxes first is declared winner. The losers of the game are then supposed to carry the winners on their shoulders as a celebration gift. Saz Loung is one of the earliest outdoor games that people of all ages and genders, particularly children, were very fond of.

It is obvious that the game, since played on the soil, has some disadvantages like “dirt” but is better than diseases like obesity and some others. Across generations, technology has changed everything and it is technology that has replaced the old age games with the latest techno gadgets. People now are playing in a single place without even moving the body.

“The oldies still miss this game very much,” says Umbreen. The doctor continues, “I played this game till eighth grade and then my tution classes replaced it. We were forced to attend the classes before, as well as after the school which reduced the possibility of playing games.” “But, honestly speaking I am missing the game so much,” laments doctor Umbreen.

“Before joining these classes, we used to gather after school and enjoyed the game till late in the evenings,” she added.

She says that these days it seems that the game has lost its popularity in rural areas as children as they, as well as their parents, prefer to remain indoors during their leisure time. Time has changed everything but if we talk about urban areas, the children are still enjoying this game. “I cannot say for certain, but in many places, in my point of view, games of this type are better than the games we play inside,” the doctor added.

A cute first grade student, Irtiza Ayoub says, “The game is of two types.” As she was unaware of the English names, she termed the two types as Simple-Khan’e and Samandari Khan’e.

Not only does the game provide pleasure and enjoyment to the kids, but it also teaches righteousness and how to live in harmony. It also develops the physical abilities of the child and most importantly, teaches them sportsmanship.

“In times like these, when we are glued to our laptop or mobile screens, living in a virtual world, outdoor games become too cumbersome. Talking about traditional games then is like mentioning something from the ancient world,” says Qadri Inzamam.

He continues, “It is tragic that we have not been able to preserve these traditional games for posterity. They are an essential part of our culture. But who should we blame? I believe we as a society are equally responsible for the death of these traditional games.”