(As William Wordsworth once said “Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness”. The great poet must have played Gulli-Danda to come up with such a poetic uttering)

I have nothing against Golf. In-fact most of my friends who used to play Gulli Danda all their lives are now established Golf players. Being a born Paindoo, I have proudly stuck to the old game of Gulli Danda. The game belongs to an age when life was simple but beautiful. That age is long lost; what remains are the ashes of those immortal memories.

Once, a friend of mine was golfing on a course which was right next to a cemetery. On seeing a funeral procession, he took off his hat and placed it over his heart. I asked him why did he do that for? He replied, ‘’well we were married for almost 40 years. It’s the least I could do for her’’.  Since then, I started taking interest in the sport hoping to give a similar answer one day. But God has not been kind to me on that count.

Gulli (or Gilli) Danda is 2,500 years old sport played generally in the rural areas and small towns. The game is played with two sticks; a large one called a danda, which is used to hit a smaller one, the gulli. The game is played in many countries with different names like, Tipcat in English, Dandi-Biyo in Nepali, alak-doulak in Persian, dānggűli in Bengali & Assamese, chinni-dandu in kannada, viti-dandu in Marathi, kitti-pul in Tamil, Gooti-Billa in Telugu, Geeti Danna in Saraiki, Iti-Dakar in Sindhi and Lappa-Duggi in Pashto.Golf on the other hand lacks that cultural diversity with only one name to its credit. It is a club and ball sport in which competing players (golfers) use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course using the fewest number of strokes.

Being categorized in terms of Rich and Poor, both the games follow similar pattern. Hole has an important place in both the games. In Golf you have to put balls and in Gulli Danda you have to put the Gulli. You have Golf stick to hit Golf ball and a plane stick called ‘Danda’ to hit Gulli. One measures distance in golf in terms of par and in Gulli Danda by the Danda or one’s own step.

Hindu Cast System categorizes humans as being Brahmans, Khashtaris and Shudders. The same kind of cast system has crept into today’s sports with Brahmans being the Golfers, Khashtaris the cricketers and the lowest Cast Shudders being the Gulli Danda players. Sadly, gofers tend to look down upon people who do not play this sport. On and off I have the misfortune of sharing a table with acquaintances who only talk about Golf(makes me nauseatingly sick). Luckily, as soon as they find out that I love reading books (a dying breed), writing or playing “ordinary” sports, they tend to move away, looking for friends with “common” interests and equal status.  

Modern day Golf has turned into a business affair. Widespread belief about it is of being a boring sport where business people plot deals between shots. So if you are a CEO, a General or a Bureaucrat, you cannot be taken seriously (a low class scum) unless and until you adopt this sport. The game has got nothing to do with any extensive physical challenge but is driven by the need to rub shoulders with people who matter.    

Luckily, a new sport by the name of “Trash golfing” has taken over golf. It allows everyone to get out and swing the club. It is affordable because one uses pieces of trash, cans or any other objects that could be hit with a golf club. Trash golfing can be used to clean parks or the road sides. Trash golf is perfect for back yard barbeques or parties too. Any skill level can simply pick up an iron, a piece of trash, and head out side. Hitting pieces of trash with an iron works best and is an excellent way to practice for a real course. Plus it transforms the game of Golf into an effective social work.

As William Wordsworth once said “Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness”. The great poet must have played Gulli-Danda to come up with such a poetic uttering. Forget about expensive clubs; just pick up a Danda, which for all practical reasons is a multi-purpose tool which is much more relevant considering the present security situation in the country.

n    The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living in the Grave and several research papers.The writer prefers to avoid human interaction and finds peace & happiness being alone, in silence with his own self.