The game of carrom is played in India since 18th century. Although no concrete evidence is available, it originated from India. Maharajas were playing this game in their palaces. One Carrom Board with its surface made of glass is still available in one of the palaces in Patiala. It became very popular among the masses particularly after the 1st World War. State level competitions were being held in different States of India during early part of the nineteenth century. Once treated to be a pastime game, carom is now being played by about 20 million people in India alone. It is widely played in the Indian sub-continent. Like Badminton, Polo and Hockey, little known in the West earlier, carrom is now poised to have massive presence in the West. It is increasingly becoming popular all over the world and is played in about 50 countries. At international level this game is controlled and supervised by the International Carrom Federation and respective continental Federations.
Few Japanese players played the game of carrom at Antarctica. A record created by USA players in carrom has been included in the Guineas Book of Records. International carrom players were honoured in the Palace of Westminister, House of Commons, U.K. Indian world champions were honoured by Her Excellency, President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil in the President House. They were also honoured in Parliament House by Mr. Jai Parkash Agarwal, Member of Parliament. His Excellency, President of Republic of Maldives, Mr. Maumoon Abul Gayoom is the Patron-in-Chief of the Asian Carrom Confederation. One of the carrom players, A. Maria Irudayam, was conferred with most prestigious Indian National Sports Award (Arjuna Award) in 1997 by His Excellency, President of India, Mr. K.R. Narayanan.
Carrom is one of the most popular indoor games in India. Once treated a pastime game limited to children and ladies, it is now played at competitive level in an organized manner. It is a scientific game and is based on physics and geometry. It requires thorough knowledge of angles, deftness of touch, keen sight and superlative control of nerves besides mental and physical fitness. It also requires skill and deep concentration.
The All India Carrom Federation controls this game in India. Forty-seven affiliated units (30 State Associations and 17 Institutions) are supervising carrom activities in India through hundreds of District Associations and their office network in case of Institutions. The Federation has already organised 144 national championships and hundreds of other tournaments.
The Government of India and State Governments recognize this game. It is treated at par with other game in India. The Government of India is releasing grant-in-aid for national carrom championships. Different State Sports Councils are also extending financial help to the State Associations for different carrom activities. In 1991, the Government of India included the game of carrom in its list for the purpose of recruitment under sports quota in Government offices/ organizations. Hence, carrom players are getting jobs in Government offices and Public Sector Undertakings under sports quota. Carrom players are getting scholarships from Sports Authority of India. This game is also recognized by few State Governments for admissions under sports in different degree courses including medicines and engineering. The School Games Federation of India recognized it in 1996. The Indian Olympic Association has also recognized this game.