Indigenous Sports of India: Connecting Past to the Present


  • Megha Jacob Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University
  • Brij Nandini Jesus and Mary College
  • Niytanshi Sharma Jesus and Mary College



Indigenous/traditional Sports, Youth, Development, Policy Achievements, Economic Development, India


Historically, sports was merely seen as a recreational or leisure activity (Mandell, 1984). However, in recent centuries sports became a global, social and an economic activity (Mylik, 2014). Since the beginning of the twentieth century, sports industry has been growing at a fast pace (Forster & Pope, 2004). Today, sports is recognised as a soft power as it’s a global medium to improve diplomatic relations and to promote peace and prosperity (Beutler, 2008). Many indigenous and traditional sports are mentioned in several historic scriptures of India. Several local games have been practiced over centuries in India (Haque & Ghosh, 2014). Traditional and indigenous sports have served the purpose of channelizing youth's energy into constructive areas. Indigenous sports create a strong sense of belonging among the youth that can improve the well-being of tribal and backward communities (Rossi, 2015). It’s in this context that this study examines the scope of indigenous sports industry in India. It’s a remarkable achievement that many of India's indigenous sports have stood the test of time and continue to attract the youth even today. The development of such sports not only benefits the youth who participate in them, but also the Indian economy. Creation and utilization of sports infrastructure, employment generation and hosting sports events have positive economic impact on the long-term development of India. Hence, this study analysis in-depth about the various indigenous sports and their spread in India. It bridges the gap of lack of literature on indigenous sports in India.

Author Biographies

Megha Jacob, Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University

Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. 

Ms. Megha Jacob is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. She is currently Pursuing her Ph.D. in Economics from the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Delhi. Her areas of specialisation are Development & Health Economics, Public Finance, Macroeconomics and Environmental Economics. Her research interests include the Economics of Health, Education, Gender, climate change , MSMEs and Local Governance.

She is the recipient of the SAARC Education Award for her outstanding contribution in the areas of Environmental Education. She has worked on several Indian Government Funded Projects for NHRC, Ministry of Labour, NIEPA, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, CSO, Government Of India. She was a co-investigator in the first study of India on Human Rights of Transgender sponsored by NHRC  for the Government of India.  Her International Publications include a book which is being referred in the library of Deakin University, Australia which is titled ,“ Local Governments and Public Health Delivery System in Kerala: Lessons of Collaborative Governance” published by Cambridge Scholars Press, London. She’s has also written several research papers in different UGC-Care listed and peer-reviewed journals. She also has an e-lesson published  for the International Council of Sciences and the World Bank on “Shadow Prices and Market Prices”.

Brij Nandini , Jesus and Mary College

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.

Niytanshi Sharma, Jesus and Mary College

Research Student, Department of Economics, Jesus and Mary college, University of Delhi.


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