Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
This seemingly benign game is played by 2-4 people of all ages.
A roll of dice and a little thinking determine the outcome.
The boards I have played it on as a child have been called Chopat (Gujarati), Ludo (English) and Mensch argere dich nicht (German – a gift from an aunt). So the game appears to have been enjoyed in many geographies.
And definitely in history.
It took me awhile to realise that this game, that is played without any parental controls or taboos is one that has proven to be more dangerous for men than Pokemon Go or any other adventure sports
This is that game of dice through which the Pandavas lost their empire to the Kuru sons and sowed the seeds of the Great War fought in India – the Mahabharat! Were it not for this game, Yudhishtir would not have lost the play to Duryodhona, nor would he have bet & lost his properties of Jan (people), Janani (land) & Janaani (woman), and nor would he have earned the stubborn oath of wife Draupadi to avenge her insult. Life would have continued without escalating into the great war.
(If only it were truly the fault of the game alone they would not have had the war and we would not have had the great lessons in strategy and psychology that come from the Mahabharat!)
So a game that played such a pivotal role in Indian history surely deserves to be an object of decoration….
So here are three game boards that come from commoner households in towns and villages – no silk – no zari – no royalty – no great wealthy patua owner – just cotton thread and cotton cloth.
Simple objects made beautiful!
Once again through the compulsive desire of the women of Gujarat to decorate everything they see shines through these lovely game boards!
If only all the men & women in the world spent all their free time creating art such as this, the home would be a place of peace and fulfillment would come from small things rather than from chasing greed …..and maybe, no one would ever need wars.
Jan 3 2017
The textiles are all from wovensouls.com