THE TRADITION OF PEHLAWANS IN LAHORE
NO LONGER THE GRANDEUR OF YESTERYEARS
Men fought with each other for rewards. Men also perfected wrestling as a sports, in which no harm was done to others. It was a gentle sport here. Nobody got hurt. No broken limbs, nothing, but pure fun. That is why wrestlers grappled in mud. So that no hurt ever took place. When the Japanese wrestler Inoki broke the arm of Akram Pehlawan, it was something new. It had never happened before in our long tradition of wrestling.
Emperors grappled too. Emperor Babur was fond of wrestling. Other Emperors were fond of watching. The cousin of Emperor Akbar was a famous wrestler and his mausoleum still exists in Lahore, but it is the Governors House now. Outside the Lahore Fort, frescoes of Pehlawans are still there. A Royal sport with great pomp and glory. Now the Akharas are gone and the level of Pehlawans is down graded. Much hype is done but grass root wrestling is gone. We used to watch small boys learning these tricks from their Masters. Now no one sends their kids for evening classes like this. Just as vulgar Cable has invaded our drawing rooms, so had this sports been reduced to a vulgar class of people. Rustam Zaman Gamma Pehlawan was the last of our icons. Now the same family is in the political arena. Who cares about rules of playing dirty?