The birthday of Balram Singh Tanwar, MLA of Village Dera Fatehpur, is celebrated every year on 20th October with a great kabaddi tournament.
This year the village decided to also host a kushti dangal – with very good prizes! 1110000/- for first, 51000/- for second, 310000/- for third , 210000/- for fourth and lesser awards for some other matches.
There were lots of VIPs in attendance: Kamal Nath, MP Cabinet Minister, Sandeep Dixit who is an MP and son of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, MP Ramesh Kumar, who is also the brother of Sajjan Kumar, a veteran congress party leader, 3 time MLA of Tughalakabad Ramesh Bidhuri, MP Kartar Singh Bhadana, Olympic wrestler Jaiprakash, the Greeat Hind Kesari Wrestler Raju Phalwan, Pandit Prakash Kulhipuria Pahalwan, Guru Rajkumar Goswami, Guru Haripal, Rajinder Pahalwan, Capt. Chandrup Akhara coach Rajesh. All were honored with pagari as a tradition of the sport.
The kabaddi matches took up most of the day, which left little time for the wrestling matches. There were few games for the kids, which made all people feel sorry, as it is the children who need to be motivated to participate in the sport.
The matches for the 5100/- to 31000/- were also reduced to 2-3 matches because it was after 4 pm and would be getting dark soon. Many wrestlers pleaded with the dangal committee to let them compete, but there just wasn’t enough time.
In retrospect, it would have been a much better idea to hold the kabaddi and kushti competitions on separate days so there would be enough time for both.
A wrestler named Bhupinder from Guru Jasram Akhara secured a fantastic win in his match. And the great wrestler Vikram Pahlwan, who has defeated almost all the great wrestlers of his time, was matched up against a very good Haryana wrestler. In the end neither man could secure a pin.
The last match was between Olympian Rajiv Tomar and Joginder Singh. It was a slow-paced match as going on for 20 or more minutes. I couldn’t stay for the end because I had to go check on my car.
Meanwhile a wrestling guru invited me to his house along with Guru Kulhipuria Prakash, Haripal Pahalwan, Rajinder Pahalwan, Shambhu Pahalwan, Lala Pahalwan etc. We accepted the invitation, had food and refreshments there and came back home late in the night.