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Dara Singh considered Parekh as guru

Singh took regular lessons from Parekh on the traditional art of clay wrestling.

SUSENJIT GUHA  Kolkata | 15th Jul 2012

A statue of Nathmal Parekh in Kolkata.

ctor and wrestler Dara Singh learnt several key tactics of wrestling from the late Nathmal Parekh of Kolkata. Parekh headed the Ganga Seva Samiti akhara or wrestling gym, on the banks of the Ganga till his death in 2006 at the age of 96.

According to the wards of the present akhara, Singh came to pay his respect to Parekh and spent a long time with him in the room adjoining the akhara during his last visit to the city in 1994.

Singh, who made Kolkata his home in the 1950s, lived in a central Kolkata gurdwara and took regular lessons from Parekh on the traditional art of wrestling on a clay surface, softened with milk and clarified butter.

It was on the grounds of the Howrah Maidan that Dara Singh, who had the distinction of remaining undefeated in all the 500 professional fights he participated in, lost for the first time to a pehlwan from Uttar Pradesh, Paramdev Mishra. The match was refereed by Parekh. Old timers recall that Dara Sigh was so dejected after his defeat that he took permission from his guru to stay away from bouts on clay pits and concentrate more on freestyle wrestling on mats.

Jwala Tiwari, who runs the show at Ganga Seva Samiti akhara, told this newspaper, "Guruji (Parekh) used to say that Dara was a true pehlwan and very, very strong."

 
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