An Attitude Toward Life

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I was driving early in the morning before sunrise on the road from Varanasi to Bodh Gaya and at a few miles before the border of Bihar I saw a little akhara lost in the fields near Sakalhida, a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
An akhara is a place where Indian wrestlers practice their training (gymnasia).

“Although the majority of wrestlers tend to be in their early to mid-teens, the term pahalwan designates an identity that is by no means limited to the teenage wrestler.
In fact, the term pahalwan includes men who were disciplined wrestlers in their youth and who, as married adults, continue to subscribe to the ideals, if not the strict regimen, of a wrestling way of life.
These men are employed, support families, and are integrated members of their communities in every sense.
However, their whole identity derives from the complex discipline of wrestling exercise and values.
A wrestling identity, then, is not restricted to the context of an akhara; it is an attitude toward life in general.”
(“The Wrestler’s Body: Identity and Ideology in North India” by Joseph S. Alter)

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