bharatiya kushti

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A traditional form of wrestling linked to the Hindu pursuit of a holy life, still practised in the north of the Indian subcontinent. The wrestlers do knee-bends and push-ups that are recognizable to Western athletes, but accompanied by the chanting of mantras. The instructor also supervises the controlled breathing (pranayama) of the wrestlers, as well as their diet and sex life. Allen Guttmann (Sports: The First Five Millennia, 2004) notes that in some respects the sport transcends the normal rules of caste, the system of social stratification central to Hindu culture; in a search for bodily purity, the rules might allow physical contact—in foot massage, for instance—between practitioners from lower and higher caste backgrounds.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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