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City expo revives royal game of Bankura

Kolkata: Reviving more than 450-year-old traditional Faujdar game of Bankura, the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, India (ISCSI) launched 10 packs of Dashavatar cards at a handicraft exhibition held in the city on Friday.

In Hindu religion, Dashavatar refers to the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The set of 120 Dashavatar cards in forms and colourful symbols represent the rich cultural heritage of Bishnupur and Bengal's Folk Art. Interestingly, the cards are not prepared from any paper rather made from cloth with a special technique. While the cards were used for playing a complex game in the royal court of Bishnupur, it was introduced by king Hambir Malla in the late 16th century. However, after the introduction of European printed cards, the popularity of Dashavatar game declined.

"The members of Faujdar family, now residing near Manasatala of Sakhari bazaar, are the only artisans in India who know the art of making these cards," Arnab Nag, Associate Researcher of ISCSI said on the sidelines of the craft haat (handicraft exhibition) organised by the institute in collaboration of Ministry of External Affairs Branch Secretariat, Kolkata. Artisans from across the state displayed products at the exhibition.

"There are over 70 lakh artisans. The business of the artisans came to standstill due to COVID-19 pandemic. The main objective of conducting handicraft exhibition is to revive their business," C. Rajasekhar, OSD (States), Ministry of External Affairs said.

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