Thu, 12 Jul 2012 08:46:15 GMT | By Rajesh Viswanathan, India Syndicate

Dara Singh: The ‘Pehlwan’ who never lost a bout

It was a sad moment for all Indians as one of the heroes of Indian style of wrestling passed away early this morning. Dara Singh, the ‘pehlwan,’ who gave India the global name in wrestling even before independence in 1947 was a champion in every sense. He may have lost his battle with life but when he lived, he ensured he never lost a bout. He remained undefeated through his wrestling career

Dara Singh: The ‘Pehlwan’ who never lost a bout

This is a sport (wrestling) that has turned many boys into men and many men into leaders. And it is a sport in which you can be a giant regardless of how big you are."
Carl Albert

Perfect quote in every sense for someone like Dara Singh. I remember my early teens waiting every Sunday morning just to get a glimpse of the giant Hanuman portrayed by Dara Singh in one of the most popular television soaps, Ramayan. There was instant joy every time the giant stature of Hanuman would appear on our television screens. In the immediate few years that ensued, our visualization of Lord Hanuman invariably would lead us to the figure of Dara Singh in our minds.

But, haan Dara Singh was not just about Hanuman and this is something I realized as I grew up. He was definitely larger than life and when one looks at his amazing record as a wrestler, there will be absolutely no questions whatsoever.

Dara was born in 1928 in Dharmuchak village of Amritsar district of Punjab and like most kids in the state; he too was inclined towards the 'desi' style of wrestling, popularly referred to as Kusthi. It is a style of mud wrestling, which was very popular in the northern part of India during the pre-independence era.

Although that form of wrestling has waned down in terms of interest in recent years, Punjab still has managed to keep the art alive. After dominating the wrestling scene in India in the early 1940s, Dara decided to showcase his skills on foreign soil. He took to professional wrestling and travelled across South East Asia before turning attention to commonwealth nations.

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