It took weeks of hard work and gaming sessions, but I’ve finally finished preparing and uploading all the important components of the game. I still have several pages to develop, including a photo gallery of early 19th century British artwork that shows what Uttarakhand was like at the sunset of its independent existence as the kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon. Another page will highlight important personalities and legendary figures, whose names have been preserved by balladeers over the last one thousand years. It is sad to see how this continuity of tradition is only now beginning to fail under the onslaught of “hypermodernity.” As Mohan Upreti so remarkably summed up in his work on the Ballad of Rajula and Malushahi (Malushahi is definitely one of those legendary personas):
When I heard Mohan Singh , I was amazed at the artistic wealth contained in the ballads, popular in the region. While the heroic ballads sang of the vitality of the race, the romantic ones eulogised true love, which invariably triumphed, regardless of barriers of class, tribe, community, or caste. All this inspired me, opening my eyes to great beauty and the simplicity of folk art; to its vigour and verve, its intense humanism and profound sense of justice; its love of nature, its materiality and emphasis on this wordliness; its tremendous power reflecting the emotions of the community; its derision of the acquisitive instinct, its belief in the power of good and human brotherhood, where gods can coexist with human beings. Above all, I was greatly impressed by its inherent capacity for constant renewal.
As such, the work of organizations like PAHAR and Yugmanch, both out of Nainital, are so important. In fact, it was Yugmanch’s release of its new documentary film, (Uttarakhand ke Lok Nritya), that convinced me that I was on the right path with this board game. Although the idea was originally stoked at the Uttarakhand Mahotsav in Dehradun, a more profound link between history and culture was seen in the film’s coverage of the folk dances and songs of Kumaon . The header for this web site is in fact lifted from a painting on the back side of their booklet (right: front cover) by Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal of the Museum of Folk Culture in Bhimtal.
Anyways, there will definitely be more pages coming.