The wrestling sport in Pulwama district is fading away very quickly as government and administration are doing nothing to bring back the sheen and glory it enjoyed years back.
Many villages in the district have produced many sports men who are known for their wrestling skills. The villages including Rahmo, Wanpora, Parigam, and Newa have produced many legends of the game.
Notably, wrestling though not patronized by government in Kashmir Valley was practiced on Urs’ (religious congregation) on anniversaries of Muslim saints particularly at Pukherpora shrine.
Wrestling used to remain key attractions of Urs at Pukherpora, a known wrestling place for wrestlers to show their skills.
Mohammad Ismail Mir (85), a veteran wrestler who defeated famous Dara Singh at Bakshi stadium in Srinagar said that government was not giving any incentives to wrestlers which could have made the sport bloom in the entire state.
“In my 40 years career of wrestling I have remained unbeaten,” Ismail said, adding that people in Kashmir have a natural physique and techniques for wrestling if harnessed.
“I was a man of ordinary physique yet I defeated Dara Singh utilizing all of my skills and strength,” he said. Farooq Ahmad (36) from Rahmo, who had been taking his visits to fight wrestlers in Beru Budgam said that he has remained unbeaten for 12 years, but left wrestling when it could not feed him and his family.
“In a small village like mine I can practice the sport but it cannot be my livelihood as these fights garner nothing for me so that I continue with it,” said a resigned Farooq, holding a saw in his hand.
Farooq said that he has now started to earn his living by getting engaged with wood cutting business.
He said that only five or six people were active wrestlers in his Village and the rest have retired or have joined other jobs to earn livelihood.
The wrestlers in Rahmo Village said that if they would get an Akhada (arena) in their locality they would practice the sport.
Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir state Sports Council Waheed Ur Rehman Parra said that JKSSC was ready to help the wrestlers in every way so that the age old game of locals can be revived and the wrestlers can bring laurels to the state.
“I will meet the wrestlers myself,” Waheed said, adding that they would not be let down.