Dangal or the sport of Combat Wrestling forever had been integral part of country’s village Olympics. Especially for socialist way of living ever since, the aromas of life just can’t be imagined without the traditional arena of clay or mud pit and supremely trained and well-built grapplers or Pehalwan who brings exciting fizz to the village carnival.
In Persian, combat wrestling or Dangal is called Varzesh-e Bastani.
Socialist patriarch and former Defence Minister of India, Mulayam Singh himself had been a renowned wrestler in his own right. His ability to use some moves, like dhobi patak, in outmanoueuvring his political rivals are remembered even today with a touch of spice and salty reverence.
And the son, Akhilesh Yadav, former Chief Minister of heartland province and national president of Samajwadi Party, attaches a great amount of significance to the spectator sport.
This afternoon, he was the guest of honour in Mohanlalganj’s village, on the outskirts of Capital Lucknow for a great feast of dangal.
Even when he grew up playing football, hockey and cricket, Akhilesh has been a selfless promoter of village sports, including Dangal, Kabbadi and athletics. So much so that he had been concerned with the economic well-being of athletes, therefore, rewarded quite a good number of them with the highest state award, Yash Bharti with monthly pension.
Some of the prominent names of YB recipients among others are female wrestlers, Alka and Anshu Tomar, Bachchan Lal, Bhagat Singh, Vijaypal, Rajkumar, Gargi Yadav, Ram Milan, Panne Lal, Ram Aasre, Kali Raman, Mewalal, Narsingh and Janardan Singh.
Akhilesh has a flair for the field sports and carnival atmosphere during the scene of the action. Spectators packing the stadium are as much important in his view as are jumping and squating. leaping and strutting wrestlers climbing into the arena.
Smiling socialist star claps in encouragement at the sight of wrestlers flexing their muscles, grappling moment holding each other around the waist while resting their necks on each other’s shoulder, legs entwined ahead of breaking into the attempt to punching, biting, choking and smashing for victory and defeat.