AKHADA AS AN ANCIENT TRADITION
The word ‘akhada’ according to one historical version is originated from Sanskrit word ‘akhanda’. Its usage started from the need to maintain continuous vigil against the adversaries by the group outfit of armed sadhus and sants especially established to protect their own faith and traditions. Small section of the akhada is called ANI or KHALSA.
Kushti, the traditional mud wrestling of India is the ancient sport in India and the oldest in the world. As per Indian epics Mahabharata has the great wrestlers included Bhima, Jarasandha, Duryodhan and Karna Ramayana also mentions Hanuman as one of the greatest wrestlers of that time. India had still some great wrestlers ,In 1962 Asian games seven wrestlers from India were placed for medal list and they won 12 medals in freestyle wrestling, Indian wrestling titles are the “Rustam of India”, “Rustam -i -Hind, ‘Bharat kesari”, “Hind Kesari”. In the recent Olympic 2012 Indian wrestlers have won the silver & bronze medal for the country. This will help the Indian wrestling to gain its prestige again in the sports.
A VISIT TO CHANDGI RAM AKHADA
My visit to CHANDGI RAM AKHADA is a very interesting visit where I came to know a lot of things which are present at akhadas. MASTER CHANDGI RAM was born on 9 November 1937 and died on 29 June 2010 (aged 72). He was a gold medalist in the ASIAN GAMES 1970, Bangkok). He has 3 children JAGDISH KALIRAMAN, DEEPIKA KALIRAMAN, SONIKA KALIRAMAN. MASTER CHANDGI RAM was an Indian soldier and wrestler who won a gold medal at 1970 ASIAN games. He received both ARJUNA AWARD and PADMA SHRI AWARD. He was born in 1937 in the Hisar district of Haryana, which is famous for wrestlers. He later set up the akhada to train women wrestlers for international events. He was popularly known as MASTER CHANDGI RAM. His daughter SONIKA KALIRAMAN is also a wrestler and was the member of DOHA ASIAN GAME’S INDIAN SQUAD. His famous pupil is SANJAY KUMAR who had won BHARAT KESARI many times, and also a GOLD WINNER OF COMMONWEALTH GAMES. The thought of women wrestling in India reminds us of great wrestler MASTER CHANDGI RAM. His struggles and contributions to begin women wrestling in
India can never be forgotten. When women wrestling was introduces in India, people used to have an absolute negative thinking regarding women wrestling that they are to be a house wife only. At this time it was MASTER CHNDGI RAM who took courage to introduce all his three daughters into game of wrestling and promoted it extensively all over the country. His daughter SONIKA KALIRAMAN became the first Indian women wrestler to receive the most coveted award of BHARAT KESARI and represented India in wrestling in Asiad games.
In this akhada,Wrestlers have to practice 2 hours in the morning as well as in the evening. They were practicing in a heat without having any cooling. They practice in an indoor court with a wrestling court in the middle and the other space for other wrestlers to do warm up and exercise. Wrestlers have set of matches some of single set and some of 3 sets. Each set is of 3 minutes. Within 3 minutes any wrestler has to put another wrestler down and make sure he will lie on the ground without moving and declare his own defeat.
The wrestlers have their important kit also. A wrestler should have their uniform, mat shoes, knee cap.
There are 2 girls also who are learning wrestling to compete the national wrestling championship.
There are 20 wrestlers here and the coach is SAT NARAYAN JI who is 76 year old and still do certain moves of kushti. The head of this akhada is JAGDISH KALIRAMAN who is the son of prominent wrestler CHANDGI RAM JI.
There are no cast or religion issues in the akhada. But majority of wrestlers were from Jaat background and some of them Gujjars. This akhada did not charge any wrestler to learn here, they are providing every service for free.
There are no such caste based regulations in this akhada. They all wore the costumes while practicing which is a major part of a professional wrestling, they wore shoes while practicing. They practice like professional wrestlers.