In Mumbai, Wrestling to Be a Cop

In Mumbai, Wrestling to Be a Cop

Young Indian men who want to boost their overall health and job prospects rigorously train in the ancient sport of Kushti. (Time)

To build the physique and confidence necessary to become police officers, young men from the lower classes come to Mumbai to learn traditional Indian wrestling. For a small fee, students enter a live-in program with a rigorous training regime consisting of running, weight lifting, rope-climbing and plenty of wrestling — in dirt. Competition takes place in a room with a supple red clay floor, scented with oil and spices. “The rich have their gyms, but the earth has provided what we need,” says the long-time owner and trainer at the location featured in this Time magazine video.

To win at Kushti, you must pin both of your opponent’s shoulders to the ground, but these trainees see each other as brothers rather than rivals. As demonstrated by one of the best wrestlers, success in the “pit” can mean rising from abject poverty to a good job, so students strive to make one another better for the real competition of life outside.


Length: 4:26

Videojournalist: Jason Motlagh
Supervising producer: Craig Duff