While girls were once prohibited from sports such as wrestling, times have changed and women are excelling in every field now. Many women have now made the country proud by proving their mettle at both national and international levels. Dangal, based on two exemplary women wrestlers—Geeta and Babita Phogat—has given women’s wrestling a further boost. Taking inspiration from this film, Swaminath Akhada at Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi has opened its doors to female wrestlers.
Akhadas hold an important place in each wrestler’s heart. However, until recently, they were open only to the menfolk. Moving away from this tradition, Swaminath Akhada recently played host to a dangal for female wrestlers, who demonstrated some incredible skills to the crowd.
These girls were unaware of the techniques required to win a wrestling match. However, they were extremely passionate about the sport and knew that they wanted to learn it. Gradually, they learned these techniques, and their families also began supporting them once they began going for competitions.
This akhada was built during the time of Tulsidas, who strongly believed in equal opportunities for men and women. Dr Vishambharnath Mishra from Swaminath Akhada believes that it is equally important for women to stay mentally and physically fit to create a healthy society. He thinks that akhadas will prove to be very helpful in building these women’s confidence.
Sankatmochan Foundation, the organisers of the event, have credited Dangal with giving them the inspiration to take this initiative. Nearly 50 wrestlers practise at this akhada every day, and the female wrestlers believe no one can stop them from excelling if they are provided with good facilities and coaching.