Games have been integrated very subtly yet powerfully in our cultural and engagement spaces. The ethos of our games has rarely been a “quick reward”. In the large variety of the repertoire of Indian board games, games inspired by the thrill of gambling to powerfully introspective games that build on decision making and awareness have found space.
Ancient board games of India provide the context of external and internal balance. They symbolically engage with our material and meta-physical worlds. Through philosophical concepts and historical narratives, they inspire introspection. Introspection and reflection are keys to building social awareness. Therefore, it becomes relevant to understand and recreate the ethos of our ancient games for our
‘riwayat-e-dilli’ has been re-created in the age old design of the game of ‘gyanja’. ‘gyanja’ was a common pass-time based on common narratives of djinns, miracles, azdahas (dragon like snakes), atashkada (ﬁre temples) and magicians. The arrangement of cells and the path is curated in such a way that it captures geographic, historical and social conditions of the heritage of Delhi. Learning from “history” is amongst the best ways to learn! ‘riwayat-e-dilli’ visits these narratives from the perspective of the history and architecture of Delhi. In the process it reveals a unique narrative of the land and recreates an experience of ‘adventure’, similar to what one experiences when touring a city. The game simultaneously provides a platform for adventure and learning. As players engage with history, they also engage with themselves. The thoughts, decisions and actions of others; reviewed through the periscope of time; provides a beautiful perspective to one’s own thoughts and actions. This game also sensitises to see the city as a living organism, as a storyteller, breathing every second, trying to tell you stories of its existence and sharing its experiences.
It is by unravelling the story of Delhi and its experiences, that one rediscovers his/her own narrative entwined in that of Delhi and its place in the larger story of the cosmos.