Every Pakistani child who has ever lived has played the game of Ludo. I’ve always been smugly confident that this is one game that’s native to Pakistan and Pakistan alone (or Hindustan: same difference). Imagine my surprise upon learning that this quintessential desi pastime comes, not from Delhi or Luknow or Lahore, but from — sob — wilayath, the home of the ferengi, England itself!
It originally appeared in 1896 (the game was patented in England, as patent 14636) [link]
Some years ago, Abby’s purchase of a Parcheesi board confused me to no end. The cursed thing was Ludo, but not Ludo, a Justice Lord to one addicted to the JL. The board was too large, there were two dice, the gotis were called pawns. But to top it all off, the silly thing was subtitled The Royal Game of India. Why had I never heard of it?
The final piece of the puzzle: I was reading Hamida Nani’s memoir Humsafar. A particularly funny part of the book is when she describes playing Pachisi with her husband and Maulvi Abdul Haq. (Apparently, the Father of Modern Urdu was not above cheating at board games!) What on earth was Pachisi, I wondered? Could it be the same as Abby’s Parcheesi?
Ludo, Parcheesi, Pachisi: what is a Ludo player to do? Luckily, Wikipedia brought these pieces together.
Parcheesi is an American adaptation of the Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi.
[Ludo] is a simplification of the traditional Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi.
So, the ferengi bastards stole our game (Pachisi), marketed it as another game (Ludo), and sold it to guileless little ones in Pakistan. Their equally nefarious brethren across the ocean came up with yet another ripoff (Parcheesi) and conned my darling wife into buying The Royal Game of India.
Is there no end to ferengi duplicity? When will this cultural thievery stop? Will they steal saanp-seerhi from us as well?