Game of dice is back in Thrissur - The New Indian Express

Game of dice is back in Thrissur

Published: 23rd October 2012 12:49 PM

Last Updated: 23rd October 2012 12:49 PM

It’s all about courage. If you have courage, play intrepidly and accept whatever comes out of it. If you are afraid you can refuse and quit before the beginning of the game. There is no quitting once the game begins. It is the ultimate rule of the game and the dice will decide your luck.

Pakidakali, the ancient dice game, which is also a form of gambling, has been revived here through a tournament which is being organised every year for eight years now.  

The 64 team tournament is currently on at the Anjeri Muthappan Temple Ground in Thrissur from August 28.  The tournament will conclude  in the last week of  December. The games offer excitement and suspense to contestants and audience alike and at times it compels the audience to put stakes at the height of the game when the participant is throwing the dice. Though the dice is generally considered gambling, as referred to in the epic Mahabharata wherein the game played a critical role. Pandava king Yudhishthira ended up losing everything,  including his riches, his kingdom, his brothers, even himself and finally his wife Draupadi to Shakuni in a rigged game of dice.

But here, the tournament has been organised only for the Anjeri Muthappan Trophy, said Ramanan, the organiser of the tournament.

The contestants, mostly elderly people, are mainly from Malappuram, Thrissur and Palakkad districts. The game will be held every weekend and it will take at least 48 hours to complete, he said.  Each team has 2-8 members and they would throw the dice on the checkered carpet without any rest on these days, sometimes it will take two to three days to finish, Ramanan said.

The order of play in a game is usually decided by each player rolling a dice with the highest number throwing first, the second highest throwing second and so on. If an equally high number is thrown by two or more players, they throw again. Seating may be rearranged so that the dice is always passed to the left.

The dice that was used in Mahabharata for the game was made with Shakuni’s father’s thigh bone which would always do his bidding and that was how he rigged the game. However, the dice used here is made with ‘panchaloha’. The checkered carpet would be drawn for the game with the help of a compass, the organisers said.

“Unlike in the Mahabharata, here we are playing a fair game with hundred per cent sportsman spirit,” said Balan of Malappuram, a carpenter who has been actively participating in the tournament for the last eight years.

“There are no monetary benefits from this game even if we win the game. And at times, we have to spent money for travelling and other expenses from our pocket,” he said. Though luck plays a big part, strategy and skill are also needed for this ancient gambling game, he added.

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