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Oct 1, 2011

The 21st Sarfabad Village Dangal

By Deepak Ansuia Prasad

For over two decades, MLC Jitender Yadav has been the man behind the annual dangal in Sarfabad Village in Uttar Pradesh. It’s a labor of love because it’s all in remembrance of his father, the late Sh. Shyam Singh Pradhan, who was head of the village for many years.

I brought along an Australian jiu-jitsu champion, who also does some MMA, named Alex Chew. Alex was eager to see what Indian wrestling was like and wanted to try it out himself.

The village committee included Capt. Malkhan Singh and Sukhbir Pahalwan – both great international wrestlers who served in the armed forces and are now promoting Indian wrestling. Also on the committee were: Kanwar Pal Pahalwan, Sanjay Pahalwan, Bhati Pahalwan, Manoj Pahalwan, and Dhrampal Pahalwan.

The referees were: Rajpal Pahalwan, Sukhpal Pahalwan, and Satpal Pahalwan. Security was overseen by: Vinod Pahalwan, Sudesh Pahalwan, Uday Yadav and others.

The dangal started with kids competitions. They got t-shirts as prizes and the organizers tried to let as many as possible wrestle.

The junior wrestlers prizes started at Rs 100/-, then 500/- and 1100/-. There were a lot of great bouts and many wrestlers got to compete.

Nitin Chawla from Guru Jasram Akhara wrestled two bouts—the first one was a draw, but he won the second match.

Jeetu Pahalwan was matched against a very tough opponent. Both wrestlers were fast and Jeetu attempted a move called Dhak. He picked up his opponent, brought him to the ground and tried to pin him, but his left foot got twisted and somehow his knee got injured, so the bout was declared a draw.

A budding young wrestler named Akash Pahalwan took our Australian guest, Alex. Akash was calm and confident. But Alex was a very experienced grappler and has even had some pro MMA fights in Australia. Alex went into the match with an injured thumb, but still wanted to wrestle. The two locked up and looked for openings. Alex took Akash down and nearly pinned him, but Akash managed to escape. Finally, time ran out and the match was declared a draw. Everyone applauded the two men for putting on a good show.

The second prize match was for Rs. 21000/- between Rajesh Bhati, a great wrestler from Guru Hanuman Akhara and a local favorite, Rijwaan Pahalwan of Guru Sukhbir Akhara. It was a great bout but ended in a draw.

Vijaypal Yadav from Sarfabad and Krishan Pahalwan battled it out for first place. The prize started out at Rs. 100000/- but as the match progressed, spectators sweetened the pot until the prize reached 153000/-. In the end, neither wrestler could pin the other so this match was declared a draw also.

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