By Deepak Ansuia Prasad
It was a pleasant day in January 2010, when I visited the reputed akhara of Guru Amichand, at Village Gadhi, in the heart of South Delhi. It was 2.pm when we reached there. The akhara is neat and clean and features a mud wrestling pit, which is next to an equally beautifully maintained temple of various Hindu deities, such as Hanuman, Shiva, godess Kali. There are also rooms for wrestlers behind the temple. Sons of Zamindars, villagers, poor labourers and even sons of rickshaw drivers do the wrestling here, says Khalifa Sh. Chotu Ramji. I witnessed brilliant wrestlers at this akhara -- especially the younger ones. It made me think about the apathy the govenment demonstrates towards the plight of wrestlers and towards the sport. At the same time I felt a sense of gratitude and respect for Guru Charni ji, who is following in the footsteps of his father, Guru Amichand ji, and even after a small govt. job is supporting many wrestlers along with maintaning the akhara. Devoted people like him have kept Indian wrestling alive ... but the future seem unsure. But sh. Chotu Ram ji, says that since Sushil Kumar won an Olympic medal during the Beijing Games, the sports is seeing some upward trends. The akhara is running in two shifts here, and many famous wrestler are prcticing. He introduced us to many wrestlers, even a brilliant young boy, the son of a rickshaw puller, another one a famous wrestler working in the vegetable market nearby to support his expenses of being a wrestler.