Kolokpa, a traditional game, has been played for entertainment by the people of Dewathang for as long as anyone can remember. “In the 1950s it was a very popular game. Many young people, adults, and elder people of both genders would play and show keen interest in it.” said 77 year-old meme Khotsha. He added, “Back then the losar of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, was celebrated for more than ten days and they would engross in playing Kolokpa and archery during the day and at night would go for Changshay (drinking alcohol and local beverages) around the community.”
The game is played using a kolokpa seeds. These seeds are found inside a case which grows from the kolokpa plant. The kolokpa seeds are deep red and circular in shape (some are irregular). The few numbers of seeds are arranged in one line at three to five meters away. A seed, usually best of all seeds is used by player to spin throw and hit the targeted seeds on row. The throw will continue between players taking turn until all the seeds are finished.
Kolokpa is a team game and also an individual game. There are two ways of playing the game: “the gyelpo” (king) and “the gyelmo” (queen). Before starting, the players have to decide which one to play. The “gyelm” means if a person hits one of the piled targeted kolokpas, he/she will win two kolokpas and subsequently if it hits on two kolokpas one would take four and so on. This is a quick game. On the other hand, the “Gyelpo” meaning if a person hit one on the targeted kolokpas, he/she wins only one kolokpa. As a result the Gyelpo game lasts longer as compared to the Gyelmo. The winner and the loser are decided based on the number of the kolokpa possessed in hand after the play.
|Photo: Brodie Lewiss|
As per Khotsha’s view, nowadays we don’t see as many youth playing kolokpa. He hypothesizes this is because they go to school from an early age and spend most of their time in the school and urban areas. "In our days in the 1950s and 60s we didn’t have to go to school and we spent all day playing this game. We played this game with a lot of energy and with complete fun in it. Today, because of modern entertainment facilities and other activities like football, volleyball and television, the traditional games like Kolokpa are paid less attention. Many young people do not want to come back to their community now and as a result that traditional wisdom remains isolated and vanishes along with the elder people."
Khotsha observed that the skill of spin throw, the charm of the kolokpa game to topple down all the piled kolokpa at one go if executed well, is not very visible in the youth. The skill, as passed down from parents and grandparents, should produce a high-pitched whizzing sound. It appears elegant to make the sound on every throw. However, the skill remained stagnant with only few elders of the community because of less interest shown by the present youth.
Kolokpa is a fun game and can be an effective tool to teach simple arithmetic. Besides this student can also learn the skills like spin throw, game discipline, and keep up the tradition of game.