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Apr 11, 2011

The Rampur Village Dangal

Deepak Ansuia Prasad shares his thoughts about the Rampur Village Dangal, which featured star wrestlers like Jeetu Pahalwan and Varun Pahalwan, and also a young wrestler fighting to fulfill his father's dream.

The village committee of Rampur near Kaasna, Uttar Pradesh, announced plans to hold a dangal more than a month in advance, so I had been eagerly waiting for the competition since then. On the morning of April 7, I prepared myself and headed towards the village. It is not far from Delhi, about 70-80 kilometers, but it took me a long time to reach there as the route I took last year was closed for repairs. I had to ask village people for alternatives routes and I drove on muddy roads amid vast open farms of wheat ready to be harvested. It was a very pleasant drive through countryside, which I love. I reached the village just as the kids’ bouts were ending and the junior wrestlers were busy finding their opponents and challenging them to a match.

Wrestlers from all over Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan came to compete, accompanied by their gurus. A photograph of the late wrestler and Arjun Awardee Bhim Pahalwan was displayed next to the competition area and all the gurus paid tribute to the great disciple of Guru Jasram Ji.

People were rushing in to watch the wrestlers compete, while wrestlers were busy discussing their strategies. The wrestling pit, surrounded by a circular stone wall was hastily being prepared. It hadn’t been used sine the previous year so there was no fresh soil and there was grass growing in some spots.

They had improved the sound system since last year because now the referees and announcer had wireless microphones. And there was plenty of water for the wrestlers to wash after their bouts, but as usual, there were no medical facilities in case of injuries, which generally don’t happen, but there is always the risk. The weather was great with just a few clouds in the sky.

As I turned my attention to the wrestling, a kid won his match by pinning his opponent's shoulders to the ground. He beamed after his victory and was given a small cash prize.

There was a fierce competition between two other junior wrestlers. I had seen one of them wrestle many times, but this day belonged to his opponent, the son of a peasant, whose father told me that he dreamed of his son becoming a great wrestler. He said he pushed his son to work very hard and give everything he had to wrestling. The man’s words made me reflect on what we wrestlers are made of, and I wished all the best for the kid and his father.

In another match, a very lean wrestler wearing yellow trunks from Gorakhpur pinned his opponent with lightning speed and great technique. Everybody was impressed by the way he fought.

The wrestler, Manish, from Guru Shyam Lal Akhara, Aya Nagar, in New Delhi showed off his amazing skills as he pinned his opponent almost immediately, bringing his opponent to the ground with a loud thump.

Another wrestler used incredible speed to win his match, charging into his opponent and applying a technique to pin his shoulders to the ground in just a few seconds. His opponent was caught so off guard he didn’t even know what had happened to him as the referee called the match.

Jeetu Pahalwan, who is a rising star in this region and is the grandson of late Guru Shyamlal, wrestled an opponent from Aligarh. Both wrestlers have great skill and fought well, but Jeetu scored an easy win over him.

There were many great heavyweight matches. Satish of Guru Jasram Akhara battled a very good wrestler but the two were so evenly matched that the bout was declared a draw.

The last match was between Varun Pahalwan of Railway and Kishan Pahalwan. Kishan Pahalwan outweighed Varun, but Varun still managed to dominate the heavier man. The light was fading by the time that match started and by the end, it was too dark to even shoot video. It was almost 9 pm when the match ended and Varun pinned Kishan to win the match. He was given the prize of 51000/- , and Kishan Pahalwan was paid 10000/-

The dangal committee thanked all the gurus, wrestlers, and spectators, and concluded the event.

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