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Aug 31, 2009

Wrestling For The Masses by Jamil Khan

It was 5pm on Friday when an elderly man started watering an open space in the car park near Dubai’s Fish Market, using a plastic jar filled with seawater. He was preparing the site for the weekly sub-continental bouts of the traditional form of wrestling widely known as ‘kushti’ and ‘pehalwani’.
The site has been used for this major sport event every Friday evening for over eight years, to provide spectators with a chance to witness a couple of competitions between the pehalwans and fill their weekly off-day with enjoyment.
The majority of spectators hail from Pakistan, and work in different parts of the UAE. Among the roughly estimated 4,000 spectators, many are from India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are often present to enjoy the bare-handed competition between the wrestlers.
Although the Dubai Municipality has placed a ban on these events, so far, no officials have reportedly tried to stop an event or imposed a fine to implement the ban.
Ilyas Pehalwan, who has been supervising these events for the past 35 years, claimed that they had settled the issue with the officials after negotiations to provide recreational facilities for the people. This particular focus is due to the fact that the audience mostly consists of labourers, who have very limited options for making their weekly day off a memorable one.


Video Report from The National Newspaper

Aug 19, 2009

More clips from dangal at faridabad

In The Mud Pit

Generations ago, wrestling was a sport for gods and kings: Krishna, Bheem, Zeus, Prometheus… even emperors of ancient Persia played the sport. “Today, of one thousand Mumbai akhadas that flourished 20 years ago, less than 10 remain,” rues ex-champion wrestler and secretary of Samarth Vyayam Mandir, Uday Deshpande. Yet, the 56-year-old Mahatma Phule Akhada thrives, with a record of three Chatrapati award holders, 15 national champions and a throng of regulars – between the age group of 12 to 35, all waiting to be crafted from mud to pehalwaans, under the watchful eye of a large portrait of Lord Hanuman – predictably, the akhada’s only adornment. (READ MORE)

Aug 18, 2009

Photos by Bas Uterwijk

Photographer Bas Uterwijk took some great shots of the following akharas around Delhi:

Guru Hanuman Akhara, Guru Badri Akhara and Lalaram Akhara.

Here's a link to his Web page to see more of his work:

Aug 16, 2009

Dangal at Faridabad by Deepak Ansuia Prasad

106th annual rural wrestling competition

Archit Watts,Chandigarh, August 14 : The Punjab Governor and Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, General (Retd.) S. F. Rodrigues, inaugurated the 106th annual rural wrestling competition going to be held at Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar Stadium in village Khuda Ali Sher, here today. (READ MORE)

Dangal at Faridabad

Video clips by Deepak Ansuia Prasad
YouTube page: