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Dec 3, 2010


Deepak Ansuia Prasad attends a marathon dangal in the village of Sarfabad, where hundreds of wrestlers competed for cash prizes and two champions wrestled against each other for about two full hours.

Globlisation - we use the word a lot – when talking about anything we perceive as known throughout the word. Like when we talk of movies, we think of Steven Spielberg or Brad Pitt, and when we talk about technology, we think of iPhones and Sony video cameras. But the world is made up of many lands and many countries, and they all have their own identity.

When we talk about wrestling, we think of WWE, or maybe the Olympics. Yet many countries have their own types of wrestling. Mongolians have their own style that the display at the Nadaam Games. Japanese have sumo and Turkey has its own form of oil wrestling.

India is famous for its down to earth, simple and fascinating style of wrestling, or Kushti.
In kushti, two equally matched opponents, called pahlwans try their strength against each other in a pit of specially tendered dirt, which is considered sacred. Both wrestlers try to pin each others shoulders to the ground. Kushti is admired throughout India, and there are hundreds of coaching centres or clubs called akharas, in which a guru teaches his disciples the art of wrestling and prepares them to compete in wrestling competitions called dangals.

Dangals are organized regularly by village committees, wealthy patrons or wrestling gurus. Wrestlers from anywhere can take part in a dangal. First a wrestler must choose his opponent and then register before the dangal committee. The winning wrestler gets a cash prize.

Many rural people come to watch these events. Since they are free, it’s a good form of entertainment.

Recently, a dangal was held in the village of Sarfabad, Sec-72, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Sarfabad Village, which is home to the famous politician D.P. Many members of the Yadav clan helped organize the dangal, among them Rajbeer Yadav and Surender Yadav.

The referees were Pappu Yadav, Budhpal Pahlwan, Sukbir Pahlwan.

There were hundreds of wrestlers, and countless bouts. The competition started as early as 11.30 am and ended at almost 8 pm.

There were many famous wrestler competing, such as:
  • Varun Pahlwan,
  • Goonga Pahlwan,
  • Ashok Bhati,
  • Guddu Pahlwan
  • Rajni pahlwaan
  • Shastri Pahlwaan of famous Indian yoga Guru Baba Ramdev of Haridwar.
  • Bhim Pahlwaan
  • Naseer Pahlwaan
  • Babu Pahlwan
  • Sheru Pahlwaan
  • Gazab Pahlwaan
The kids’ bouts were great. They all wrestled well and happily took their prizes. Then came the junior wrestlers. There were so many of them that almost three pairs had to wrestle at the same time, just to complete all the matches.

Then came the star attractions, the famous wrestlers who the public had come especially to see. The crowd occupied every inch they could grab, and watched the wrestlers with awe. In the super heavyweight category, Ashok Bhati defeated a great wrestler in an exciting match.

The final bout for first prize was between Varun and Goonga, which lasted almost two hours. They tried their best to pin each other, but were so equally matched that the referee called the bout a draw and they were declared joint winners.

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