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Apr 23, 2011


Junior wrestlers take the spotlight in a dangal organized by Khalifa Charan Singh, which also attracts a film star and international guests. Deepak Ansuia Prasad reports.

Khalifa Charan Singh, a kushti coach (Khalifa is a title we often give to wrestling coaches here in Delhi as a term of respect), invited me to come to a dangal he organized in memory of his late father, a social worker named Chowdhary Ajit Singh, or Bhagat Ji.

This was the first such dangal Khalifa Charan Singh had organized. It was mostly for junior wrestlers and I told him that I would be happy to attend.

Geeta Chandola di, a great film personality, social worker and businesswoman originally from Uttaranchal, was on a trip to India from Dubai where she now lives and had wanted to come to a dangal, having seen a few videos and pictures of traditional Indian wresting from the blog.

My friend, Nick, from England had contacted me recently about the Ghitorni Dangal, which was scheduled for last week but was canceled due to rain. Since he missed that dangal, I invited him to come to this one as weather seemed fine this time. He readily accepted and was given a warm welcome, along with myself and Geeta Chandola Di, by Khalifa Charan Singh.

Many junior wrestlers came to compete. They all fought very well and drew a large crowd of kids who wanted to watch them wrestle.

The chief guests were MLA Matin Ahmad, agriculture minister of UP, Hind Kesari Raju Pahalwan, and Guru Brahmchari of Munni akhara. Councilor Laxmi Dhasmana, and another lady councilor from the area were honored with headgear pagri along with Geeta Chandola, Rameshwari Nautiyal Bahukhandi.

At many dangals, there isn’t much time for junior wrestlers to compete. Bouts are often short because they need to finish quickly to make room for the bigger wrestlers. This dangal was a chance for the younger wrestlers to be the center of attention and they were all full of enthusiasm.

The first prize match was cancelled, as Jeetu Pahalwan who is the No. 1 Junior wrestler could not find anyone to challenge him, and hence was honored with his prize money.

It was dark when the event concluded and the dangal committee extended its thanks to all the spectators, visitors, guests and wrestlers.

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