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Meet Jeetu Pehalwan: The 24-year-old ‘Sultan’ from Delhi

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(Representational Image) Kushti. Image Source: YouTube.com
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  • An akhara is full of mud where people practice kushti. One of such akhara is situated on the edge of South Delhi, Guru Shyam Lal Akhara.
  • Some of the wrestlers of this akhara will be featured in movie Sultan.
  • The akhara is also famous for Jeetu Pehalwan. He is the grandchild of Guru Shyam Lal after whose name the Akhara has been named.

Kushti is an ancient Indian form of wrestling and flourished during the Mughal reign. The earliest form of wrestling is called Malla-Yuddha and is also known as the the predecessor of kushti. The people following the tradition are known as pehalwan (wrestlers) and the place where it is practiced is known as an akhara.

India boasts of some very well-known pehalwans like Dara Singh, Narsinh Yadav and Shamsher Singh among others. An akhara  is a plain ground full of mud where pehalwans practice kushti. One such akhara is located on the edge of South Delhi called ‘Guru Shyam Lal Akhara’. It is situated alongside the yellow metro line and the nearest station to it is  Arjan Garh.

Dara Singh. Image Source: The Hindu
Dara Singh. Image Source: The Hindu

This akhara has been in news for quite some time now. Reportedly, some of the wrestlers from the akhara have featured in Salman Khan starer Sultan.

Apart from it, the akhara is also famous for its stellar wrestler Jeetu Pehalwan. Although Jeetu will not appear in Sultan, he enjoys the celebrity status in the neighbourhood and among the fellow wrestlers. He is the 24-year-old grandson of late Guru Shyam Lal, after whom the akhara has been named.

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The respect accorded to Jeetu springs from the fact that he has not lost any kushti competition to any pehalwan in Delhi and adjoining areas till date. Jeetu usually practices two times a day- morning and evening. Early mornings are reserved to practice ‘Jor’ and the evenings are dedicated to polishing techniques, ‘daav’.

He is not a stereotypical wrestler who believes that the pehelwans need to follow celibacy and must think about starting a family only post retirement. Jeetu is a father to a six-month-old daughter, Kanvi, with whom he likes to spend as much time as possible.

Jeetu Pehalwan won Bronze at National Wrestling Championship. Image Source: kushtiwrestling.blogspot.com
Jeetu Pehalwan won Bronze at National Wrestling Championship. Image Source: kushtiwrestling.blogspot.com

While he has been practicing only one time these days, he reiterates that the dangal season is synchronized with the farming cycle of the villages. Jeetu explains,”The kushti season in Punjab and Haryana ends by April and begins after August. The wrestling season starts a bit earlier in Jammu and Himachal Pradesh because it is a lot cooler there. The crops would have been harvested by now and people have time to go to dangals.”

He has also won a Bronze medal at National Wrestling Championship (U-17) held at Kanyakumari in 2011. While he was selected to the national camp, Jeetu couldn’t continue owing to a “lot of politics” involved in the selection, he added.

After being rejected during the selection process, Jeetu returned to the mitti. Contented with the decision he told The Indian Express, “I haven’t lost to any wrestler from the other big akharas of Delhi. Money is not bad either. Big wrestlers can make close to a crore every year. At the Nandurbar dangal in Maharashtra this year, I won Rs 1 lakh and a silver mace. It has been my biggest prize so far.”

 

Guru Shyam Lal Akhara. Image Source: YouTube
Guru Shyam Lal Akhara. Image Source: YouTube

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Talking about the perks of being in the profession, Jeetu explains that wrestling makes him feel venerated along with securing his future financially.

But there are setbacks too, he adds. Jeetu has undergone ligament surgeries in the past. Talking about the surgery he said, “The joke goes that my knees are made of plastic now.”

Jeetu also puts forth his discontent with the lack of government support to the sport. He complains, “Kushti is only seen as a popular village sport. The government doesn’t assist us in any way and the wrestling federation too doesn’t back mitti kushti.”

Irrespective of the demotivating attitude of the government bodies, he is positive about continuing pehalwani. “I am still referred to as Guru Shyam Lal ka pota (grandson of Guru Shyam Lal). I haven’t achieved anything close to what my grandfather did, but I have to take his legacy forward,” he added.

-prepared by Aparna Gupta, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna99

Also Read:

 

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Aparna Gupta

    Kushti is a part of Indian culture. Jeetu Pehalwan is really taking this tradition to new miles.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Indian traditional sports should be encouraged more

  • Aparna Gupta

    Kushti is a part of Indian culture. Jeetu Pehalwan is really taking this tradition to new miles.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Indian traditional sports should be encouraged more

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.