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Nov 1, 2010


Deepak Ansuia Prasad attends a unique wrestling competition at the flower sellers festival in Mehrauli - one that helps to bring Hindus and Muslims closer together.

Since the 1960s, a mela, or festival, for flower sellers has been held in the village of Mehrauli. Phoolwalon ki Sair, as it is called, happens every year after the monsoons recede, leaving greenery and flowers everywhere. The festival features different types of entertainment for children and various sporting activities. Kite flying, kabbadi matches, and dance competitions are held with people from different states participating.

The highlight, though, is the kushti event, which is held on the second and third day of the 3 day of Phoolwalon ki Sair. The dangal is unique because it celebrates unity and brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims.

Phoolwalon ki Sair was originally organized by Padma Shree Late Yogeshwar Dayal, a member of one of the oldest and richest families of Delhi, who wanted to preserve the old traditions of the city. Among his many distinctions, he was an Honorary Magistrate in Delhi and was associated with a cultural institution known as Kala Vihar, as well as being on the Managing Committee of Cambridge Schools and the secretary of Sarada Ukil School of Art. At the behest of Jawaharlal Nehru, he revived the Phoolwalon ki Sair and the annual dangal. Since his death, Ms Usha Kumar has continued the tradition.

Mr. G.S. Gulati, who for the past 20 years has organized the wrestling event and distributed prizes to the winning wrestlers on behalf of the committee, told me that he has a minimum of Rs 50/- prize for however many child wrestlers come, and then 100/-X10 , 500/- X5, then 1000X2, 1500X1, 2100X1 and 5000X1 planned. He told me that the final match would be fought between the best wrestlers in the dangal.

I also happened to meet bhai mian, who told me that there would be a kite-flying competition where he would try to fly 150 kites tied together with a string.

The chief guest at the dangal was Paras Saini, the president of the Phoolwalon ki Sair. His father, Radhey Shyam Saini and brother, Maheswar Saini had preceded him in the role.

  • Satveer Pahlwan
  • Kamal Pahlwan
  • Dhannu Pahlwan

Winning Wrestlers:

First Prize
  • Jeetu Pahlwaan of Guru Shyamlal Akhara, who defeated Meharchand (Fathepur)
Second Prize
  • Bhola Guru Shyamlal, of Guru Shyamlal Akhara defeated Deepu Pahlwan (Fatehpur)

Other Matches:
  • Anni of Guru Shyamlal Akhara defeated Dev Pahlwan of Village Mehrauli
  • Guru Shyamlal Akhada defeated Amar (Fatehpur)

Among other wrestlers: Vikas, Vishwas and Sunil Pahlwan of Guru Shyamlal Akhara won their matches.

One young wrestler, Mougli Pahlwan won three matches in the row.

The S.H.O and other officers of the Police Station Mehrauli were responsible for security arrangements. The officers were present throughout the dangal and made sure everything went smoothly. Gulati ji, one of the organiser, asked one of the police officers, Mr. Vijay Singh to inaugurate a bout, which he readily agreed to.

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