Various indoor and outdoor games as well as musical and dance performances form part of the peoples' cultural life in any region. Dhulia, there are various such forms, traditional as well as newly adopted ones, The following is a brief description of them with their peculiarities:―

Infants and children of early age are more interested in toys than in games which involve some intelligence or physical exercise. Babies who are susceptible to the influence of sound are fascinated by anything that jingles. Similarly colour works as a charm to them and so wooden or metal rattles with bright colour attracts them. All kinds of pipes, whistles, drums, tambourines are their initial playthings. Then come dolls and moving articles like trains, steamships, motor cars worked by springs or drawn by strings. Toy horses, elephants, lions etc., amuse them. These used to be wooden but are also made of tin and are brightly painted.

When children reach the age of walking and running, they take to such simple games as sivasivi which involves chasing and touching. One of the groups of children at play becomes a chaser and others run about. The chase is simple. The player who is touched becomes the chaser and the merry-go-round goes on until they are all tired. Swings are popular among children especially girls who sing little rhymes and songs as they enjoy the swing go forward and backward. High jumps, low jumps and somesaults (golanti udi) are more popular with boys. During childhood, mimicry or imitation plays a large part even in the game pattern. Horse-driving, engine-driving, palanquin-bearing, playing at school i.e. imitating the teacher are great attractions. Girls indulge in doll marriages and housekeeping. These games have no set rules but they are played in a team spirit, every player having some function to perform.

Ghoda-ghoda, playing at horse, is played in many ways. One way is for two children to stand one behind the other. The garment of the, one in front being held by the other behind and both of them running, make one a horse and the other a horseman. Another way is to pass a rope from the back of the neck of the child playing the horse and it being held in one hand by another playing the driver with a whip in other hand. Or one child may crawl on all fours and let another child use it as its mount. Even a single child plays at horse by passing a stick between its two legs and holding its one extremity in its hands and allowing the other to rest on the ground. Agagadi or playing at train only means that a number of children stand in a line, one behind the other, each holding the garment of the one in front of the other. The engine is the foremost child and the rest are wagons and bogies. One of the children is a guard in charge of the train. It stops or speeds up according to his whistles. Palkhi or palanquin is usually played by three. Two children stand face to face with their arms locked up with each other's and the third child sits in the square formed by the arms of the other two, with its arms resting on the shoulders of the other two. Children everywhere are ingenious enough to devise variations of all these games.

Somewhat older children play a number of chase and tag games. Blind man's buff and hide and seek known as andhali kosimbir and lapandav are quite popular. Cappdav is a tag game with the restriction that the chaser cannot touch a player who sits down and the squatter cannot get up unless helped by some other player who is on his feet by lending his hand to the squatter. In all chase and tag games, the player who is tagged becomes the chaser and the game starts afresh. Playing at marbles, the top and kite-flying are also quite popular. Hitting one marble with another by the help of the middle finger whatever the distance between the two marbles and faking correct aim constitute the essential skill in this game. Spinning the top is not a competitive game. A single person can enjoy it. The Sankranti festival is the season for kite-flying in which even grown-up people join. Two boys so handle the kite when up in the sky as to cut each other's thread. For these tournaments a special thread called manja is used. It is treated with powdered glass and gum.

Team Games.

Games which involve physical exercise have an attraction for grown-up boys. A simple game in. which any number can join and can go on indefinitely is badabadi and raparapi. A soft ball made from rags or rubber is tossed up in the air for all to catch. The player who catches it tries to hit any other player with the ball. Whoever is hit tries to hit others. Toba is also a simple game. A well knotted piece of cloth is taken by a player. Other players are seated in a circle. The player with the piece of cloth called Toba runs around and places it quietly behind the back of some one and keeps on running. If the boy behind whom it is kept is not alert and does not notice and catch hold of the toba, it is taken up by the boy making the round who beats the sitting boy with it till he makes a full round and the victim resumes his seat. In vaghbakri, one of the players is assigned the role of tiger and another that of the shepherd. The rest are all lambs. The lambs line up behind the shepherd, each holding the one in front by the waist. The shepherd hands a piece of cloth for the protection of his lambs and keeps on beating the tiger with it. His work is to capture each of the lambs despite beating.

Girls Games.

Girls participate in such games as blind man's buff, hide and seek and chapadar, but some games are peculiar only to them, as for instance sagargote. This is a sedentary game. Big round seeds, paddles or shreds of pottery serve as ready material. Five or any suitable odd number of these are thrown up into the air and the player attempts to catch as many of them as possible on the back of her palms. These are again hurled up and caught in both the palms. Another way of playing at sagargote is to throw all the pieces on the ground, pick one of these, toss it in the air and before catching it again, pick up one, two or three or more, all at once. Passing feet through a string thrown up in the air but held by the hands at the extremities is a clever feat much engaged by girls. Songtya, played with dice or cowries were once very popular but carrom has now replaced them to a certain extent. Phugdya is a game that is played in pairs or sometimes by four girls. The girls stand facing each other, keep their feet together with two or three inches between the toes, cross arms, keep them straight and hold each other's or one another's hands, according as they are two or four, balance the body backwards and each time, stepping the right foot a few inches to the right and shifting the left foot along with it, start an anti-clock-wise movement. As the footwork quickens the movement gathers in tempo till the players get a whirling sensation. By way of accompaniment they sometimes recite jocular couplets or rhymes. There are various types of phugadis. There is the banda-phugdi in which the players hold each other's arms. In bas-phugdi, a player keeps moving with bent knees while the other is standing erect. In bhui-phugdi, the players start with a full squatting position and arms on the knees. They scrape the feet alternately in oblique kicks balancing the steps with backward and forward movements of the arms. These are quite exhausting exercises. Zimma kombda and pinga are other variants in which there are no whirling movements and in which even a dozen can participate at a time.

Major Games.

A number of games, both indigenous and extraneous, are played in schools and colleges. Of the Indian games, hututu and langdi seem to be popular, though khokho, atyapatya and vitidandu are also fairly common. These games have some variations according to local customs but standardised forms and rules have been evolved by institutions like the Akhil Maharastra Saririk Siksan Mandal which have been adopted widely and observed when there are contests and tournaments. Cricket is the most popular among western games, though football, hockey, tennis and badminton are also played in school and college grounds and gymkhanas and clubs of professional people. Playing at cards, bridge and chess is quite common. The dasavatari ganjafas which were once popular have become almost extinct.


Akhadas and gymnasiums also are found in some rural and urban Gymnasiums. centres. They are patronised by those who are keen on bodybuilding and physical culture. Wrestling, malkhamb-climbing and exercises on single and double bars are taught at these institutions.

Devotional Entertainment.

The traditional forms of religious and devotional sermons such as purana, kirtana, pravacana and bhajana provide both entertainment and instruction to Hindu congregations. The more devoted among them are found to repeat constantly the name of their favourite deity such as Rama, Siva or Panduranga even while engaged in their daily pursuits. Professional reciters and readers of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvata read purana in some temple or during the four months of the rainy season called caturmasa. Usually the sessions are held in the afternoons but sometimes at night also. They read the original Sanskrt text and explain the meaning thereof in Marathi. Pravacanas are learned discourses on some text or other from the sacred books and usually learned sastris give them. They may not be professional puraniks. Kirtana is a more entertaining form of religious exposition in which music and humorous anecdotes have much scope. Some of the kirtankars also known as haridasas or Kathakaris, make their kirtans very enjoyable by the eloquence of their exposition and by the sweetness of their music. By a blend of story telling, quotations from religious works and singing to the accompaniment of musical instruments, they are able to keep large congregations and audiences almost spell-bound.

Two schools seem to have evolved in the kirtana performances. One is called the Narada school and the other Varkari school. The Narada school kirtankar chooses some Sanskrt or Marathi text from some religious book and develops a philosophic theme in the first part of his preaching called purvaranga. In the second part he relates an illustrative story in support of the philosophic theme. The Varkari school kirtankar quotes themes by way of reciting an abhanga or an ovi or a song of one of the Marathi poet saint and immediately expounds it with illustrations and commentary. Intermittently he begins a bhajan in which not only his companions but also the audience join. Bhajans are chantings of devotional pieces which are usually recited in chorus by a team. Now-a-days they are being adapted to scientific tunes and ragas by the chanters. A village or some mohallas in towns often have bhajan groups. Usually there is a leader of the group called buva, a player on the mrudang, a harmonium player and several talkaris i.e., cymbal beaters. The buva keeps a veena (lute) and a cipli (castanets). He recites a song, the musical instruments provide the rhythm and tune, the talkaris pick up the refrain and sing it aloud in chorus, clicking their tals in harmony. This devotional entertainment is a source of great pleasure to working class people.


A similar recreational fare that is occasionally provided is what is called gondhal. Gondhalis are a community by themselves who specialise in it. They are hereditary devotees of the goddess Ambabai in whose honour they perform. Their services are usually requisitioned by Hindus of several communities to mark the rounding off of some auspicious or joyful event such as a wedding or a thread ceremony. A high wooden stool is placed in a room or a hall. A handful of wheat is laid over it. On the wheat is placed a copper cup with betel leaves in it and over the leaves a half coconut with some rice, a betel-nut and a copper coin in it. Near the stool is set an image of Ambabai and a light lamp-stand. The three or four gondhalis play on the sambal (double drum), tuntune (one stringed fiddle) and zanj (cymbal). One of them holds a divti, lighted torch. The head-dancer has a picturesque dress. It consists of a long robe, and garlands of cowris (shells). He stands in front of the others, lays sandal, flowers and offerings before the lighted torch. He takes up the torch, dances with the torch in his hands for some time, sings and at intervals makes a fool of the torch-bearer. Tins singing and dancing goes on for an hour. The arti is waved before Ambabai and those present offer silver and copper coins in the plate which holds the lamp. With the service of the prasad, the gondhal is over.


Among the young and gay, tamasa performances have maintained great popularity. A tamasa is predominantly an entertainment for masses particularly in rural areas' and includes singing, dancing, clever dialogues, although it is not altogether bereft of instruction in the allegorical form. A tamasa party called bari usually consists of seven persons, though five is the minimum required. It comprises artists of histrionic talent, rhetorical ability and musical skill. There is one dancer, one drummer, one comedian for fool and two others to keep time, one with tuntune, and the other with cymbals. In a bigger party, there is an additional dancer and drummer and more actors. A village may have its own tamasa party of amateurs. But the art is preserved by professional tamasa troupes who move from place to place during the major part of the year excepting the rainy season. The nacya porga in amateur troupes is usually a boy dressed as a girl, but female dancers and singers in the professional parties are their chief attraction. Many of the artists are very talented. Tamasas are generally performed at annual fairs of local shrines where people gather together in large numbers and are in a gay mood because the harvesting season is over by that time. Mahasivaratri, Ramanavmi, Hanumanjayanti and Holi are the occasions. Villagers liberally patronise the tamasas which are performed at night and last till early hours of the morning.

There are two types of tamasas known as dholkici bari and sangeet bari. The nature of the earlier part of the performance is the same in both. To start with, the participants present themselves on the stage, salute the audience and sing a prayer in honour of god Ganes. This over, in dholkicibari the item called gavlan follows in which the traditional Krsna-milkmaid theme is variously staged. Krsna, Yasoda, Radha, Kisna's playmates etc., participating in the humorous dialogues and songs. After gavlan comes the farce in which the comedian or the clown of the party plays the chief role. Thereafter starts the vag i.e., dramatic presentation of some story taken either from mythology or history or based on some aspect of social life. The performers are not educated nor have they any aid of curtains and other embellishments of scenery. But in many performances, the theme is developed with considerable skill and there is a good displaying of innate histrionic talent. The vag may last even for three or four hours. In the sangeet bari type, there is no vag. After prayer to god Ganes, there are a few songs about Krsna and his gopis. Then comes the clown with his pranks. Then starts what is practically a musical concert accompanied by dancing, there usually being one principal singer and dancer, a girl and others, also girls who are her partners. The music has sometimes quite a scientific touch; generally it consists of popular folk songs known as lavnis which are devoted to topics and situations of an intensely amorous character. The singing of lavnis evokes great enthusiasm in the audience and money is freely given to a particular songstress. This extra money is called daulatjada and is retained by the dancer. Tamasa as a form of popular amusement had deteriorated into a gross display of sheer vulgarity and obscenity. In order to rid this old art of such aberrations, the Government of Bombay as it then was set up in 1954 a separate board to examine the scripts and write-ups of lavnis.

Cinema and Drama.

Cinemas and plays by professional theatrical troupes also add to the amusement of town folk more than the rural people. Most taluka towns in the district have now cinema houses which exhibit films in Hindi and Marathi. Plays on the stage are not so frequent as they are mostly confined to metropolitan centres and big cities. The Government of Maharastra has a District Publicity Officer in every district who tours for three weeks in a month and shows the rural people documentaries, informative and propaganda films which also add to the amusement of the people. Radio sets in well-to-do people's houses and salary-earners are comparatively new means of amusement to the people. Rural broadcasting sets are also provided by the government at selected centres.