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Ready for a bout of desi kushti?

J.S. Ifthekhar

Wrestlers fight for the ‘Hyderabad Kesari' title in Barkas


For the last 10 years Samaj Sevak Welfare Association is organising wrestling tourney

165 wrestlers vying for the ‘Hyderabad Kesari' and ‘Bal Kesari' titles




Show of strength: A wrestling bout at Barkas playground for the ‘Hyderabad Kesari' title on Wednesday.

Hyderabad: No oiled bodies or rippling muscles. They only look like ordinary mortals. Only when they enter the ring do they flex their sinews and thump their thighs.

There is a rush of adrenaline and everyone seems to hold their breath as the combatants dodge and grapple with each other. Suddenly, a cry goes up as one of them manages to pin the other on the mat to the point of submission.

Yes, it is desi kushti at it best. Barkas reverberated with battle cries as wrestlers fought for the ‘Hyderabad Kesari' title on Wednesday. The GHMC playground turned into an ‘akhada' as the two-day wrestling event got under way.

Decade-old event

People here keenly look forward to the Republic Day. It is not just the traditional celebrations but much more. For the last 10 years the Samaj Sevak Welfare Association has been organising a wrestling tournament on January 26. “The idea is to promote the sport,” says Abdulla Bin Mohammed Bamaz, the man behind the event.

The traditional kushti may not have many takers elsewhere, but in Barkas it is a rage. The good turnout at the playground on Wednesday was proof enough. Not just youngsters even elderly persons came -- some with the aid of walking sticks to catch the action.

Mohammed Khan, the veteran of several bouts, was also present. At 79 he still trains boys at Saleh Jabri Akhada in Isamil Nagar.

His presence was a morale-booster for the pehelwans. All of them would first approach him reverentially, take his blessings and then step into the ring. “I still love to wrestle if I get a good match”, remarked the ustad.

There are in all 165 wrestlers taking part in the two-day event. For the ‘Hyderabad Kesari' title the 80 plus weight wrestlers are vying, while for the ‘Bal Kesari' title the bout is open for 50 to 60 kg category.

Police had a tough time controlling the surging spectators. Some yelled and some egged on their wrestler-friends to go for the kill. Kya kabbadi khelra, dau kar, the cheerleaders pressed on.

There were some witty remarks too.

As a duo seemed to get aggressive the announcer shouted in the mike pehelwan shanti se lado.

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