Kusti – Ancient Indian Wrestling on Soil
Kusti is India's traditional wrestling on soil. This ancient sport used to hold great importance in Indian societies of the past, its popularity over the recent years however, has dwindled tremendously.
At present Kusti is only practiced in a handful of pockets around India and future of the sport is uncertain. The government constantly pressures traditional Kusti schools to abandon ways of the past, embrace international wrestling standards and win medals at the Olympics hence it is seeing a slow death.
In order to qualify for the sport, the athlete needs to follow grueling daily training, strict diet and celibacy for the duration of their careers and many also quit their homes and live in the sports grounds known as ‘Akhadas’ – a place similar to the Gurukul in order to become a champion wrestler – a ‘Pehlwan’