December 14th, 2015
News Source: IndianExpress | Image Source: YouTube Screen Grab
There are no women in the heaving crowd watching the dangal, a traditional wrestling tournament. It is being held in a large bowl-shaped clearing, surrounded by the village of Salawa, vast fields of ripe sugarcane and the Ganga canal that runs along the Doab plain of western Uttar Pradesh. The dangal has been organised by Salawa residents although the 10,000-odd spectators could be from any of the nearby 24 villages, referred to collectively as the chaubisi.
The area is brimming with men, with more arriving by foot and on packed autorickshaws and tractors. The organising committee, comprising politicians, a few holy men and police officials, sits in a tented bandstand, sipping cold drinks. Others — moustachioed old men in turbans, teens watching through smartphones — squat on the fringe of the wrestling ring. Inside a circle marked in white chalk, the men slathered in mitti — the driven earth on which kushti is fought — grapple, to the rhythm of beating dhols.
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