In Haryana’s Balali village, once lived a veteran Indian wrestler by the Mahavir Singh Phogat. He had a dream to see his children win gold medals for India. And to realize his dream, all he wanted was a son.
He had this orthodox belief that girls can’t be in the wrestling ring. And in the anticipation of a boy, he became a father of 4 daughters. But one day when he found out that his daughters beat the bully out of few boys, the rest is history. All the four daughters are truly the best wrestlers in the world, winning India many medals and national and international events.
History is created by his daughters and designed by a man, Mahavir Singh Phogat – The Dangal King for women wrestlers in India.
Passion for the sport: Mahavir Singh Phogat
Mahavir left the job at state electricity board to train his two elder daughters, Geeta and Babita. He taught them all the tricks he knew. After that, he took them for Dangals in nearby villages. The fear of losing out to a girl kept the men skeptical about wrestling with them. Also, the strict training regime was so hectic that none of the boys from the extended family could withstand it. The girls took the same amount of punishment, for a bad performance, as the guys. Thus, the girls and their sisterhood flourished. Neighborhood boys feared getting defeated from them. These girls used to train from 4 to 7 am in the morning and again in evening when they returned from school or college.
The popular phogat sisters are not the first or only sister-wrestlers of India. Deepika & Sonika, daughters of legendary wrestler and Mahavir’s coach Chandgi Ram would be credited for that. Inspiration to train daughters for wrestling was partly due to the influence of Chandgi Ram and partly, the Olympic bronze medal win of Karnam Malleshwari.
The whole village was taunting Mahavir and calling him a man with no dignity but he never let this bashing reach his champion daughters. Chandgi Ram once told him ‘what you are doing for your girls, you will see one day that it will bring you great happiness. So keep doing it, don’t be scared, face your difficulties like you face opponents, and be deaf to the criticism.’
Proud moments of Mahavir Singh Phogat
The most elder daughter of Mahavir is Geeta Phogat who had won the first ever gold for India in women wrestling in Commonwealth games, 2010. She was also the first woman to ever qualify for Olympics
Guru Mahavir’s second daughter Babita Kumari followed her sister’s steps to bring laurels for the family in 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth games by winning a silver and a gold medal respectively. His elder niece Vinesh phogat also won a gold 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth in 48 kg weight category.
With skewed sex-ratio and literacy rate, it is quite astounding to see just one Haryana village family producing 6 wrestling champions all of whom are girls. Mahavir has 4 daughters and 2 nieces into wrestling. Three of them have won gold medals at international stages and the rest 3 are championing their respective age groups making a bright future for Indian women wrestling
A movie on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat played by actor Amir Khan is about to release. Kripa Shankar Bishnoi, a coach with the Indian women’s wrestling team has trained the crew for wrestling sequences. There are many other legend wrestlers who have made us proud but this is the wrestling family of India.
Same villagers who criticized him to their limits recently made him the chief of the village, SARPANCH .