Cards Against Sanskaar: A game that turns political correctness on its head
A party game of cards is poised to look at Indian politics with a shade of dark humour
Karan Dilip Worah and Adrita Das. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
What started off as an April Fools' joke between three friends could very well turn into a cheeky political statement. Meet Adrita Das, Karan Dilip Worah and Akhil Singh, who, on the eve of this year's April Fools' Day, came up with a social media prank to launch a game called Cards Against Sanskaar. If the name sounds familiar, that's because it is a desi spin-off of an obscene yet hugely popular party game called Cards Against Humanity, known to be digestible only if dark humour is your thing. Given the immediate traction their prank received, the trio decided to create the game on popular demand.
"The idea came to us nearly a year-and-a-half ago and we thought that it had a nice ring to it," says Das, 26, who is the co-founder of a design studio company, along with Worah, 27. Worah calls himself a "classic liberal" with a distaste for "religion-mixed government thickshake". He explains the game: "Read the questions on black cards. A group of friends seek to one-up each other with the most politically incorrect or edgy answer printed on the white cards. For instance, one of the questions on the cards is: According to my mother, it is a bad omen when you see... To this, you could choose from answers such as, 'a primetime debate between pigs' or 'a pink nightie'. You could even attempt a question such as, 'In the Vedas, there is ample proof that Indians invented...'"
"This is exactly what Cards Against Humanity does in a Western context, and ours is (yet) unofficial Indian un-sanskaari version of it," says Worah. "The game is something a lot of people would want to play right now because of the kind of subversive content that it caters to. At some point, we had to consider drawing the line on what's offensive and what's not. But then we decided that if people really wanted to buy the game, it needed to be completely transparent. There was no tiptoeing around it," says Das, who is also well-known for her religious and political satire that she posts on Instagram.
"The entire concept of what Indian culture is and what sanskaar is has been hijacked in a way that there is a lot of moral policing that, personally, I don't agree with," Das says. "According to me, they are looking at a very narrow version of what people think Indian culture is. There is no chance for us to make sense of 'sanskaar' - something that the game allows you to do; it gives you the power to laugh at authority. If you see the cards individually, they are just things that happened or stuff people have said, but it is only when you put a black and white card together that you read the kind of context which is offensive."
As for when the game is expected to hit the stands, the makers are still looking into distribution and gameplay, mainly to understand appeal and so that they don't encroach upon Cards Against Humanity's copyright. When it's out, the makers hope that, at the very least, it will put a smile on people's faces when they think 'Hindutva'.
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