Photo Studio

Vanishing Art of Kusti

We all have heard our father and grandfather talking about ‘Akharas’, and how they use to wakeup 4:00 in the morning, drink a huge glass of milk, ghee and almonds, and start their day with ‘Kusti’. The chickpea water was their protein shake and mace (Gada) was their barbell.

Pehelwani/Kusti is a traditional form of Indian wrestling that is being played in India since 6th century and is globally renowned as a superior wrestling form now. Indian pehelwans (Kusti athletes) have grabbed numerous grand titles in 1960s but unfortunately the art of kusti is diminishing in modern-day.

Nevil Zaveri, on his recent trip to Kolhapur discovered the ‘Akharas’, how few Ustaads (Gurus) have still preserved the Akhara legacy with those buttermilk sprinkled red mud and training all the Pehelwans with rigorous Dand and Suryanamaskars every morning.

This album titled as ‘Vanishing art of Kusti’ is intended to relive our traditional history through the lens of Nevil Zaveri. The story begins with a portrait of a ‘Pehelwan’, as if wrestling with his own inner-self!, getting ready and warming-up, sporting ‘kusti’, soaking sweat with the specially treated soil and the last, resting in their ill-equipped hostel. Some dedicated people are fighting hard to keep alive this ancient tradition, but the state of ‘Akhara’ shows it need much attention and aids to make it possible.

Nevil Zaveri is known for his work reflecting artistic touch, where genre is no bar. His photographs are exhibited in many exhibitions. He has earned awards, worked as visiting faculty for photography workshops, served as a jury at photo contests and his work is published in many national/international magazines and books. Since few years, he is also conducting in-depth photography classes. He always believes that his insight and passion for photography has deepened by sharing and teaching photography!

Creative Yatra is pleased to share this PHOTO STUDIO album about the Vanishing Art of Kusti and would highly recommend everyone to spare a few minutes and get inspired!

Nevil Zaveri’s Flickr page

Photo Studio Curator : Ketan Modi


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