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Top 5 Pakistani Group games

Updated on May 18, 2012

I am living in a different world

I live in Pakistan. Due to globalization and growing use of computers among children, the games a Pakistani child plays now are not much different from what a child in any city of America or UK plays. However, in my childhood, we used to play physical games and most of them were linked with the culture of sub-continent. Even now, there are many games that are quite popular among children of Pakistan but are foreign to the children of West.

In this lens, I am introducing you to the group games I've played in my childhood. Hope you like them and the lessons attached to it.

Photo: My little cousin playing "dulhan" (Bride)

"Ghar Ghar"

Ghar is an Urdu word for "home." In English you can call this game "Home sweet home." This was one of my favourite games at childhood. We used to become different members of a family (even some children play as servants). The game is very much like drama acting, there is always a plot to act and each child try it best to act as good as possible otherwise the other children will not let him play this game the next time. There is also a director, though not officially accepted, who is usually the best actor or the most popular one among the children.

Although I never realised this in my childhood, the game taught me a number of things, most of all imagining a story - a complete story with a number of characters and a proper plot with dramatic ending. Since every child contribute in the story, each child learn how to develop a story. Then, these stories often contains lesson related to our cultural values or ethical lesson we children learned form our elders.

It was an amazing game for girls and I've found that some of my cousins play it, even now. I wish all the children play this game so they can learn how to build a family, how to solve family issues, how to be united, and how to respect your values.

Oh a game I can never forget. It's a game of maximum five children as there are five terms to choose from "Yassu" "Panju" "Har" "Kabootar" "Doli" Each child chose one particular term for him/her. Then all children place their hands on the floor with the number of fingers they wish to open. One child count the number of fingers but not in numbers but in terms stating from Yassu till Doli and then restarting from Yassu. So if there are total five fingers the count will be Doli and if there are six the count will be Yassu. Based on the count, the child having that term will get free and the rest will continue to play until only one child left. The last child will place her hands in front of others as if asking for forgiveness and the others will try to slap on the hand. The trick is to move your hands in a way that the person cannot slap, if one succeeds in dodging the slapper the game ends

Now I usually think that the one who is actually the loser in the game, the one who was slapped by everyone is the actual player. The other just wait for their turns and their part in the games is just subsidiary.

The games does not have any particular lessons, it just improves children's dodging abilities and make them sharp-minded and active.

Yassu Panju Slapping

Cheel Uri (Eagle can fly)

It's a very simple game for little children. The purpose is to make them good listeners and to taught them how to respond quickly. All the children sit in a circle and a person, usually adult, keeps on saying names of birds with "uri" meaning fly and children respond by flying their hands. Then in between the names of birds, the person says the name of a thing that cannot fly like kitab uri (book can fly) and children were supposed to keep their hand on the floor. The one who fly their hands get punishments.

It's simple but really enjoyable, particularly if there are a number of children around and the adult wants to keep them sit peacefully.

Ankh Macholi

A game full of activity. A simpler version of this game is "Pakan Pakrai" in which a person tries to catch the other children. The one got caught will have the next turn to catch. "Ankh Machooli" is a bit tricky. The child who was supposed to catch is made blind by tying a piece of cloth around the eyes. The child has to use his/her listening sense to search out the children.

Gurea ki Shadi (Doll's marriage)

It is a game particularly for girls but we used to play it with boys as well. It's quite simple and I think girls in other parts of world also play such games, though in accordance to their culture. The owner of the doll arranges the marriage ceremony and other friends of her are invited to join. The owner of the doll is usually the mother of the bride while other girls can choose the other characters like sister or friend of bride, aunt or grandmother of bride etc. The boys can also join and they can choose their characters, as marriages usually involves boys as well.

In Pakistan, marriage ceremonies are quite time consuming with a number of rituals and events involved (I am thinking of writing a lens on Pakistani marriages as well). In this game, the girl perform all those rituals and in a way, learn them from their elders. The elders are also invited but they usually have no role in the game. They just watch the ceremony and tell the girls about the rituals.

Note: There are certain variations in this game as well. As in my title pic, instead of a doll, a baby girl can also play the role of bride.

Which game do you like the most?

These five games are my favorites among the many I played in my childhood. Which one do you think is the best?

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Which was your favorite group game in the childhood?

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    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 4 years ago

      Dodge Ball.

    • profile image

      dannystaple 5 years ago

      We used to play "tag" which is very similar to Ankh Macholi, including the person trying to catch the others having their eyes closed in some games. There was games like at and mouse, where each caught child became another cat and helped catch the others. We had "what's the time mr wolf" and may others. This is a great and unique lens. I am not so sure about the punishments for the flying game, but eye spy was a little similar. Anyway have a blessing for writing about something different.