The Indian government has taken several initiatives in recent years
Traditional sports are the indigenous and folk sports that have been practiced in India for centuries. They reflect the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the country and its people. Traditional sports are not only a source of entertainment and recreation, but also a means of physical, mental, and social development. However, with the advent of modern sports and globalization, traditional sports have been losing their popularity and relevance. Many of them are facing the threat of extinction due to lack of awareness, recognition, support, and infrastructure.
To revive and promote traditional sports in India, the government has taken several initiatives in recent years. Some of them are:
- Khelo India: Khelo India is a flagship scheme launched by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2018 to encourage mass participation and excellence in sports. The scheme aims to create a sporting culture in the country by providing opportunities and facilities for all age groups and levels. One of the components of the scheme is Khelo India Indigenous Games, which organizes competitions and events for various traditional sports, such as kho-kho, kabaddi, kalaripayattu, malkhamb, thang-ta, etc. The scheme also provides scholarships, coaching, equipment, and exposure to the talented players of traditional sports.
- Fit India Movement: Fit India Movement is a nation-wide campaign launched by the Prime Minister of India in 2019 to encourage people to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. The campaign organizes various activities and programs to spread awareness and motivate people to engage in physical activities and sports. One of the initiatives under the campaign is Fit India Freedom Run, which celebrates the spirit of freedom and fitness by encouraging people to run or walk at their own pace and place. The campaign also promotes traditional sports as a way of achieving fitness and wellness.
- National Sports Development Fund (NSDF): NSDF is a fund established by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 1998 to mobilize resources from the government and non-government sources for the promotion and development of sports in India. The fund supports various schemes and projects for creating infrastructure, providing equipment, organizing events, sponsoring teams, offering incentives, etc. The fund also supports traditional sports by providing financial assistance to the national federations, associations, clubs, academies, etc. involved in their promotion.
- National Sports Awards: National Sports Awards are the prestigious awards conferred by the President of India every year to recognize and honor the outstanding achievements and contributions of sportspersons and coaches in various fields of sports. The awards include Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, etc. The awards also cover traditional sports by acknowledging their excellence and merit.
- National Sports Museum: National Sports Museum is a proposed museum to be established at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. The museum will showcase the history, heritage, culture, achievements, and legends of Indian sports. The museum will also feature a section dedicated to traditional sports, where visitors can learn about their origin, evolution, rules, equipment, legends, etc. The museum will also have interactive exhibits, virtual reality zones, games zones, etc. to engage and educate the visitors.
These are some of the initiatives taken by the Indian government to promote traditional sports and preserve the cultural heritage of the country. These initiatives aim to create awareness, appreciation, and participation in traditional sports among the masses, especially the youth. They also aim to provide support, recognition, and opportunities to the players, coaches, and organizations involved in traditional sports.