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Oct 17, 2009

Sunday Fight

By Alokparna Das, ExpressIndia

Even though the number of akharas in Delhi has come down from 100 to 15 in the past 30 years but both budding and established wrestlers participate regularly at the Urdu Park dangal

The Sunday market on Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg is abuzz with activity. Right from the bookshops on Daryaganj’s pavements till the makeshift shacks selling woolens opposite the Red Fort, the place is teeming with people. Squeezing my way through this road I head towards the historic Urdu Park at the traffic intersection.
Inside the park, hundreds of men are sitting in a circle waiting for action to begin. It’s 4 p.m. In the middle, on a sand enclosure, a referee announces on the mike that the show is about to begin. Soon, it’s a believe it or not situation, as at least 50-60 boys and men, all pehelwan or kushtigeers, are ready to jump into the fray to test their skills. The dangal starts, with pehelwans aged between 12 and 22 waiting for their turn. The first kushti is between two teenaged boys. The winner gets Rs 10 and the loser a consolation prize of Rs 5 from one of the organisers.

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