Archive for sport

A Physical State

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2013 by designldg

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“When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.”
(Swami Vivekananda – Indian Spiritual leader, 1863-1902)

This picture was shot inside the akhara facing the Ganges at Raj Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras) where this pehlwan follows a daily training at dawn.
The reflection in the mirror was providing a backlighting which I always enjoy to work with…

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24-17-12

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by designldg

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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved. 
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“Any active sportsman has to be very focused; you’ve got to be in the right frame of mind.
If your energy is diverted in various directions, you do not achieve the results.
I need to know when to switch on and switch off: and the rest of the things happen around that. Cricket is in the foreground, the rest is in the background.
(Sachin Tendulkar – Indian cricketer widely acknowledged as the greatest living batsman, b.1973)

On Sundays Delhiites gather at India Gate cricket Ground in New Delhi where girls, Boys or mixed teams, all dressed in white, are meeting for friendly matches.
You may bring your kit if you have and join a team, some cricketers may also share their bat, ball and wickets with you and you might even be asked to be the umpire.
Of course if you have a French background like mine all this probably won’t make much sense however it will still be a great show and a treat for your camera… 😉

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Splendour & Beauty

Posted in Pehlwans & Gurus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“Because God created it the human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve its splendour and its beauty.”
(Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, 1920-2005)

When I reached the little akhara (gymnasia) which is lost in the fields near Sakalhida, a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, I first saw this pelhwan (Indian wrestler) who was outside with a gada.

A gada is a large round rock fixed to the end of a meter-long bamboo staff which is lifted and swung for exercise.
It may weigh as little as five or as much as fifty to sixty kilograms.
In the Ramayana and Mahabharata the gada is often mentioned as a weapon.
In popular religious art and iconography Hanuman is almost never depicted without one. It is not only the symbol of his strength but also of his countenance. The gada he carries is highly decorated and made of gold. At championship bouts wrestlers are awarded gadas made of silver. The gada is, then, clearly the mark of a wrestler’s prowess. Given the preponderance of phallic symbols in the akhara and the gada’s general shape it is evident that swinging a gada has clear symbolic overtones of sexual potency and virility.Each time the gada is swung it is brought to a balanced position, erect from the wrestler’s waist.The phallic aspect of the gada is also evidenced by its association with snakes. In the Harivamsa Akrura dives into the serpent world where he sees Ananta asleep on top of a mace…
In shape a gada resembles the churning stick used to make butter and buttermilk. A parallel between churning and sexual energy has been drawn above. By swinging the gada one might say that a wrestler is churning his body to increase his store of semen.
(“The Wrestler’s Body: Identity and Ideology in North India” by Joseph S. Alter)

“Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.”
(Blaise Pascal – French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist, 1623-1662)

This image was shot at Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).
This young man was striking several poses in order to catch my attention so I could take a few snaps of him but I was pretending not to see him as I am mostly working on natural poses.
It was a Sunday afternoon before sunset and he came there to wash his laundry, his attitude was amazing, full of narcissism, each of his gesture was carrying vanity and pride…
After a while I couldn’t help laughing and I took a few pictures, in fact he knew that I was leaving the akhara nearby where I often take pictures of the pehlwani (wrestlers).

The pillar on the left belongs to the remains of a massive palace which used to stand on Scindhia ghat.
The entire structure has sunk several feet into the earth since its erection and is still gradually and slowly sinking.
Sometimes in the winter when the holy waters of the Ganges come very low it is possible to see it otherwise most of the time it stays underwater.

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Inward Calm

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by designldg

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All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“Inward calm cannot be maintained unless physical strength is constantly and intelligently replenished.”
(Buddha – Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

This picture was shot at the little akhara (gymnasia) located nearby Scindia ghat along the Ganges in Vanarasi (Benaras).
Like many people in the Eternal city this pehlwan (wrestler) comes here every morning at dawn or before sunset in order to perform his daily physical training routine.
Since the Mughal Era it became a way of living deeply connected to culture of Northern India, this art of wrestling is a synthesis of native malla-yuddha and Persian Varzesh-e Pahlavani.
Through time Western training methods and nomenclature from Iran and Europe were introduced into Pehlwani.
Wrestling competitions, known as dangals, held in villages can have their own rules variations.

The Intention to Understand Ourselves

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2009 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention.
The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right.
It is important to understand that this is

 our responsibility, yours and mine…”
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Those are wood painted cylinders called “jodi”, each is 45 Kg weight.
They are used in twisting rotations by pehlwan during their physical training.
I took this picture in a little akhara which not far from Aurangzeb’s mosque in Kashi, the oldest part of Varanasi (Benaras).

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