New Delhi: India-born, Khali may have set pulses racing during his “fierce encounters” in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tournaments, however, his success has yet to make a mark on the Indian wrestling scene. Akharas (wrestling rinks) here continue to train pehlwans (wrestlers) for petty dangals (bouts/contests) held in villages of adjoining states with a rare one reaching a prominent match held for a national or international championship.
Most wrestlers have small ambitions hoping to make a living out of government jobs while they wrestle on the side. However, considering their meagre pay, with cost of special diets reaching nearly Rs15,000 a month, they resort to training children in their villages to make an extra buck. All this becomes possible due to the long leaves they get for training from their respective employers. Fortunately, they nurse the hope that wrestling will reach its former glory in the not so distant future. Meanwhile, for now, they just want to make the sport more popular.