overshadowed by the grandeur of its Palaces and the magnificent World
famous ‘Dasara Festival’, has seen the age old tradition- wrestling
slowly going into oblivion and dying a slow death.
The mass crowd puller of a sport-Wrestling was patronized by the erstwhile rulers of Mysore State. The sport off-late over a period of two decades has slowly been dwindling and is been less practiced in the Garadis in and around Mysore District.
Mysore boasted of having over 250 Garadis in the olden days, and with the patronage for this traditional sport well known wrestlers like ‘Rudra Mooga’, Shankar Chakravarthy, Lokesh and Girish made their names in the National level.
Off-late the sport has seen less interest amongst the wrestlers due to lack of financial support and they are hesitant to take up to this sport as they do not get anything in return. Less attention from the civic bodies to maintain and run the Garadis in their respective areas in and around Mysore District and less support and patronage from the government, has forced more than 250 Garadis in and around Mysore to shut down.
Less exposure for wrestlers: The art of wrestling which is a very popular sport in and around Mysore district for centuries, now finds very little exposure beyond the events during the Dasara festival.
The wrestling bouts in the 60’s to the 80’s were held regularly at the Sauhkar Chenniah Kusti Akkada and the Mysore Jilla Garadi Sangha was instrumental in training young wrestlers who went on to bring laurels in the national level. After the closure of the arena, there was lull in the activity and only State-level Dasara competitions were held every year.
The sport off-late since February 2011, has seen some sort of revival due to the efforts of the wrestling enthusiasts and administrators, with monthly exhibition ‘Nada Kusti’ bouts being conducted at the D. Devraja Urs Multipurpose Wrestling stadium at the Exhibition grounds. Well-known Wrestlers from out-side the State also are taking part in the bouts which has seen been attracting crowds. The Negilayogi Trust has been formed and a Corpus fund of Rs.5 lakhs has been set up with contributions from former wrestlers and sports promoters so that activity goes on without a lull.
But, this does not in any way improve the local talents and local wrestling scene. The local wrestlers need to be given more opportunity to display their talent both in the ‘Nada Kusti’ and the ‘Greco-Roman’ style of wrestling.
Regular coaching and spotting talented wrestlers from different Garadis is a must and they need to be groomed with the required diet and financial assistance. There are Sports Schools for wrestling set up in Davanagere and Dharwad by the State Government, but a city like Mysore which is more famous for wrestling does not have a Sports School for wrestling.
The Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS) and Sports Authority of Karnataka (SAK) need to think in this regard and if they could allot a Sports School for wrestling in Mysore talented wrestlers can be trained under qualified coaches and the sport can survive.
Need for support from Government:
The present scene is gloomy with less number of Akkadas in the District in working condition. Many of the Akkadas in the district were thriving on the support and patronage of the erstwhile rulers of Mysore , but as the Princely State was taken over by the Government, patronage started diminishing and the art has slowly started to diminish.
The sport is still partonised and supported in other cities like Kholapur, Sangli, Bhivani in Harayana and Punjab by both the Government and the people. A example of the same is the effort of Sushil Kumar who won laurels for our country in the International level.
Local wrestlers need the support from the government as well as the authorities, so that they can continue practicing the sport and develop their skill. Each wrestler needs to have a good diet and needs to practice well in conditions fit for the same. With less financial support the above things are not feasible in the longer run and it’s one of the reason the sport has started to dwindle.
The State Government has been paying pension for the veteran ‘Pahilwans’ and the amount needs to enhanced as per the changes in times and cost of living. Well known coach L. Manjappa, SAI wrestling coach, who has produced a good number of wrestlers who have gone to win laurels for the state in the National level opines that “ The wrestlers need to be given proper training and training kits and infrastructure needs to be upgraded from time to time to produce quality wrestlers.” He also said that the wrestlers need to be looked after well and jobs should be provided to them in Police, KSP so that they are encouraged and earn their living.
He also said that a Sports School for wrestling in Mysore should be started by the government and it will help the talented wrestlers in Mysore to develop and perform well in the National level. A proper plan should be worked out by the Government to develop and promote the traditional sport (Nada Kusti) as well as the Greco-Roman style of wrestling which will go a long way in reviving the sport in the District.
Every year during the World famous Dasara festivities, the State-level and National-level Wrestling events are held. Every year a Wrestling Sub-Committee is formed and separate funds are allocated (around Rs.60 lakhs), for conducting the event. Events are conducted for all age weight categories in the boys, men and women section both in the traditional Style (State-level) and National-level (Greco-Roman style).
The event attracts wide participation from all over the State and the country. Attractive prize money is offered to the winners in all the categories. The event is a crowd puller and wrestling enthusiast throng in large numbers to witness the bouts.
Need for patronage
In order to prevent the traditional style of ‘Nada Kusti’ from dying a slow death, the State government, the State Wrestling Association, the Mysore City Corporation and the civic body and the administrators should work together and chalk out a positive plan to keep the sport going.
The Government should open a Wrestling School in Mysore and train the wrestlers in both the styles (nada Kusti and Greco-Roman ) which will go a long way in promoting the sport.
There is urgent need to revive the Garadis in different localities in Mysore City like the Garadis in N.R. Mohalla, Kennegowdana Koppal, Vv Mohalla, Hinkal, Srirangapatna, Ittigegud, Agrahara, Hinkal, Hootagalli, Srirangapatna, KRS and Ganjam. The Dasara Wrestling Committee last year revived and furnished a Garadi in Ittigegud and one in Agrahara ,but lot more needs to be done to bring hope and cheer amongst all wrestling Pahilwans who have strived hard to bring glory during their days of wrestling.
Finally, Mysore which has a traditional history for patronizing wrestling since centuries, need people with vision who could work out on a plan and see to it that this mass sport survives and the glory of the sport continues to flourish for ever in the days to come.