With Toycathon, govt to concentrate on desi toys, superheroes from Indian mythology

The Union Ministry of Education has approached city-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) and sought the latter’s experience in Vedic research in addition to information of historical scriptures, manuscripts and cultures to include within the making of next-generation toys and video games, deliberate underneath ‘Toycathon’.

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had launched the maiden Toycathon – a kind of hackathon to advertise desi toys and toy-making primarily based on Indian civilisation, its tradition, ethos, expertise, ethnicity, nationwide heroes and vital occasions — on January 5. As a part of this programme, faculty, school and college college students, together with professionals, can current modern gaming concepts for all youngsters, together with the specially-abled.

“We have an expert team of oriental scholars, both young and experienced, who can assist in providing ideas and suggestions in developing toys based on Indian manuscripts, Vedas and our history. Last week, the Centre approached us and we are currently in talks with them,” mentioned Prof Shrikant Bahulkar, Vedic scholar at BORI.

Prof Bahulkar additionally confused on the necessity of utilizing desi supplies to construct video games and toys, to make the method fun-filled.

Incidentally, BORI is dwelling to 2 historical video games — Ganjifa and Tabulphala — with the institute in possession of boards relationship again to 100 to 200 years. A card recreation with 110 spherical playing cards with inscriptions of the quite a few incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Ganjifa finds its origins in Sawantwadi, situated on the Maharashtra-Goa border. Tabulphala of Goa resembles the present-day Ludo, however has a sure permissible sample by way of which the pawns transfer alongside the picket board.

Along with students of BORI, specialists corresponding to Arvind Gupta, Sudarshan Khurana and Manish Jain are all concerned within the programme.

Globally, toy-making is a $100 billion trade, with China, USA, Germany and Japan as the important thing gamers. India imports 80 to 85 per cent of its annual $1.5-billion toy market. In comparability to the big giants, Indian toys have a miniscule presence within the international market.

The Ministry of Education, University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have all reached out to its community of faculty, school and college college students, encouraging them to take part within the Toycathon, entry for which will probably be open until January 20. Prizes price as much as Rs 50 lakh have been earmarked.

Dr Abhay Jere, chief innovation officer of the Ministry of Education, informed The Indian Express that steps are being taken in the correct path to revive India’s wealthy toy-making custom, and it’s time to enter the worldwide toy market.

“India can produce innovative games and toys which no other country can make, based on our unique culture, history and civilization. India needs to be an active player in gaming. Why can’t we have PUBG-like games…and create Indian superheroes based on Indian mythological characters,” he mentioned.

The New Education Policy, launched final yr, mentions the function of toys and gaming within the general progress of youngsters and their studying outcomes. In the August 2020 version of his month-to-month radio deal with Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed conventional toy makers from Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam, amongst different states.

“Based on the New Education Policy, we have constituted a special team which is working to develop toy-based pedagogy,” added Jere.

As a part of the Toycathon, a couple of challenges have been launched and scholar teams — recognized in three classes, can submit their concepts. “Innovative ideas will then be selected. The teams will be provided with facilities and undergo workshops, and they will be encouraged to build toy and game prototypes. Then…we will connect them with the Indian toy manufacturers,” Jere added.

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