By Deepak Ansuia Prasad
The Lord Krishna was born on 2nd September, and everywhere in India, people celebrate his birthday as a festival. He was born at midnight in the custody of a cruel ruler called Kansa. Lord Krishna defeated and killed the king in a wrestling match when he was a teenager and freed the public from his cruelty. Lord Krishna gave the “Geeta” and the “Karma” and “Nirvana” to the world.
Sanctifying the wrestling venue
Tributes to Lord Krishna
In Mumbai, as part of celebrations, people fill pots with curd and butter (Dahi Handi) and tie to buildings as high as 60 feet, while “govinda” (men posing as Krishna) make human towers to steal the butter. Krishna himself used to steal curd and butter when he was a kid.
One of the dangal organisers
In Delhi a dangal (wrestling competition) has been organized for more than 100 years on this day. Krishna and his brother Balraam were both wrestlers, so villagers from Badarpur and nearby areas collect money from residents to stage the event. This dangal has never been postponed or cancelled since then, says Dharmendra BhagatJi.
Honoring Hind Kesari Jaiprakash Pahalwan
Inauguration of match by local MLA Ramesh Bidhuri
Inauguration of seniormost bout between Vikram and wrestler from Haryana
Opening of a bout by Jaiveer Pahlwan
Organisers of dangal with Rajiv Tomar
I reached the site of the dangal as preparations were being made and strolled around the area, which is called Surajkund (the pond of sun). There is actually a pond nearby, and it is beautifully surrounded by stone walls. Two five-star hotels were built nearby for Commonwealth Games. It is a picnic spot and venue of the famous Surajkund Mela (fair), which is oraganised in February every year.
At 4 o'clock young wrestlers began to compete. I was amazed to see the way these kids were fighting. They were like the miniature wrestlers who know every move and technique. They were happy, excited looking for their opponent and then asking the match referee to conduct their bouts. Now I understand how much it takes to be a good wrestler, you have to start early in life and be devoted to it. Among them a few girl wrestlers also announced their arrival. I felt thankful they are starting a new trend to come to the competitions, showing changing attitudes towards women.
The guests, gurus and elders started reaching the venue and Dharmendra Bhagat ji welcomed Udai Chand Bhdana councilor, Mahesh Awana councilor, Village Head Imrat, Fateh Singh Bhadana, and Sunil Bidhuri (councilor). The local MLA, Ramesh Bidhuri, although very busy in organising Janamashtami events came to inaugurate a match and the left hurriedly. Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, local MLA, also inaugurated a match.
The star attraction was wrestler Rajiv Tomar, who himself has won as many as 35 Hind Kesari and Bharat Kedari, the national titles in Indian-style kushti wrestling. He wished his best to the organizers and supported the wrestlers who came there to compete. He is a role model for many young wrestlers. He received the Arjuna Award (the supreme award for sportpersons), and won gold at the Asian World Championships and Commonwealth Games. He is now competing, in Delhi CWG in the heavyweight category.
Great old wrestlers like Vijje Khalifa, Ranveer Pahlwan, Rupi Pahlwan, and Bir Singh Pahlwaan were also there to watch the wrestling. Match referees were the best. They made sure the dangal wouldn't be ruined by giving their decisions cautiously and honestly. Under the watchful eye of guests and village elders, including Choudhary Balbir, Choudhary Veere, Satte Khalifa, Ch Ran Singh Neta ji, Ch Jagpaal , Ch Krishna Nambardar, Ch Rajkumar, Ch Binde Bhadana, Rajes Kumar Pappi, Jahid Khan, and Lala Pappu, the dangal progressed smoothly.
The weather was fine and the crowd watched the bouts with passion till the rain gods decide to come .. expecting heavy rains, all the matches except the last were cancelled. The last bout was between Vikram and a wrestler from Haryana for Rs. 21000/- prize. The match was inaugurated in haste. The time was set 30 minutes, but soon the rain came. The wrestler were fighting against time, and the rain to decide the bout, but were so equally matched that the organizers had to stop the bout as the rain started coming down hard. Both wrestlers were declared winners and the organiser thanked all the guests, and wrestlers for coming. I could see the faces of the crowd -- curious, fascinated, happy, excited -- as events like this does occur rarely -- and for free. Drenched from the rain, I came back home wishing such games would continue for 100 more years.