These devotees of kushti wrestling have made a commitment that extends beyond the hours they spend practicing each morning and evening. They live an ascetic lifestyle, not eating meat and refraining from smoking, drinking and dating.
Like many traditions in a country that’s rapidly modernizing, kushti wrestling faces the threat of being left behind. But for many poor families, wrestling provides a glimmer of hope. Those who succeed can earn money, respect in their communities and even particular jobs. They’re often employed by the police force or India’s railways.