Strong Man

One is traditional, the other modern, but both have similar goals of control, beauty and masculinity, albeit with different ways of attaining them.Adhering to the traditional style of Indian wrestling, kushti is fought in a clay pit where soil is mixed with ghee(denatured butter). Each wrestler is responsible for tending to the soil as well as adhering to a strict exercise regimen with a diet of mostly milk,almonds, ghee, chapattis and eggs. A celibate life is believed to givethem both physical and spiritual strength.Modern bodysculpting is growing in India in the form of bodybuilding. In the run-up to a recent competition, the afternoon sun cast a golden hue on the men warming up, all in introspective silence. Assistants smothered them in fake tanning cream. Adoring fans stood gawking. An aide holding an oil-filled spray bottle stood by the stage entrance to add last minute lustre before competitors swarmed onto the stage hissing grunts through gritted teeth and forcing their muscles to popveins.Bodybuilders and kushti wrestlers are part of a strong man tradition which has in the past given India medals on the international stage. In a country still starkly divided and impoverished, investing in national sports has ben low on the agenda, and thus medals few. Wrestlers and weighlifters have been among the few to buck the trend.