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Grappling for glory

The akhara is their home, wrestling their way of life. Veenu Sandhu enters the wrestlers’ world. Eighty-five-year-old Guru Jasram is angry. And his students, brawny young wrestlers-in-the-making, know it. As he raises his stick to give them one whack after another, the men, all of them wearing loincloths, cringe and move back to save themselves. The octogenarian’s stick catches the unlucky few on their bare arms, legs and backs. It’s a startling sight but not an unusual one in this world of akharas where the guru is next only to God. Guru Jasram Akhara — most akharas ...