Games Played By Kids In Afghanistan
Tonanaal | Oqaab (eagle) | Gudiparaan baazi (kite fighting)
Tushla baazi (marbles) | Dandaclid | Jozbaazi | Sangchil
by Abdullah Qazi January 20, 2016
Note: Almost all of these games below are played a little differently depending on what part of Afghanistan the kids are from.
This game is played by a group of kids, the larger the better. The kids stand forming a circle, and one of them stands in the middle of that circle. One of the kids standing in the circle tries to hit the kid in the middle with a ball. If the ball hits the kid, the game continues. Each kid in the circle takes a turn. If however, he or she misses the kid in the middle, then that person will change places with the kid in the middle. If the kid in the middle catches the ball, he or she can throw it at any of the kids in the circle. If it hits anyone, the person who was hit has to be the kid in middle.
One child is chosen as the eagle or oqaab. The other kids are pigeons. The eagle's job is to capture all the pigeons before they make it safely to a base. The pigeon is considered captured if the kid being the eagle runs over and touches him/her.
The game continues until all the pigeons have been captured, then the kids choose another eagle. Typically, the first or last kid that was caught is chosen as the next eagle.
When literally translated, gudiparaan baazi comes to "flying doll game". However, it is really kite fighting. While this game is mostly played by kids, many adults participate in it as well. Kids (many times on roof tops) fly their kites with the goal of cutting their opponent's kite string. The string is no ordinary kite string - an adhesive mixed with rice and sharp grounded glass is applied to it. Leather gloves or a piece of leather is used to prevent the flyer from getting their fingers cut by the sharp glass. All sorts of strategy is used during the actual fight, and the undefeated champion is usually referred to as the Sharti. Many kids sometimes patiently wait till one kite loses so they can follow the losing kite and capture it. Gudiparaan baazi was one of those games that were banned during the rule of the Taliban.
As noted above, this is one of those games where there are a lot of variations. However, a simple form is played as such: A circle is drawn on the ground with a straight line through the center. Both players line up the same number of marbles on the line. Each player tries to knock off the other player's marble by striking it with one of their marbles. If successful, he/she collects the other player's marble. Whoever has the most number of collected marbles wins the game. This game can also be played with sheep or goat knuckle-bones instead of marbles. When bones are used, the game is called bujal baazi.
Dandaclid (also called clidbaazi) is a two player game involving two sticks. One larger stick (danda) is used to hit the smaller stick (clid). The smaller stick has both ends tapered so that when left standing on the ground, the ends are elevated slightly off the ground. One of the elevated ends is struck by the larger stick, to make it slightly airborne, and then hit again as far as possible. Typically, the ground for the game consists of two circles - an inner (base) and outer.
The hitter stands on the inner circle and tries to hit the smaller stick as far as possible - far from both circles. The other person (fielder) picks up the small stick and tries to throw it into the outer circle. If he succeeds, he wins a point. If he fails, the hitter gets a point, and the hitter can hit the stick again from that position - making it more difficult for the fielder to throw the small stick back into the circle. The players decide on the number of points needed to win the game.
An example of a jozbaazi court
A court with 4 levels, similar to the picture above is drawn on the floor. The player stands on the starting position and throws a piece of flat clay or stone to level 1. If it lands on level 1, then the player goes over and kicks it back to the starting position with only one leg. It doesn't matter how many kicks it takes, as long as the raised foot does not touches the floor. If completed successfully, then the player throws the clay to level 2. If it fails to land on level 2, then the player loses his or her turn and the next person goes. If it successfully lands on level 2, then he/she goes over and kicks it back to the starting position. The objective of the game is to complete all 4 levels first.
This game involves tossing a small pebble (sangchil) into the air, and grabbing another pebble from the ground without losing the pebble that was tossed into the air. The game gets more complicated as more pebbles are then required to be picked up from the ground as one is tossed. After one pebble, at attempt is made to pick up 2 at one time, then 3, and so on. Usually, the game is played with 5 pebbles at a time. Whoever is able top pick up the most pebbles is the winner.