|Photo © Fred Canonge-All Rights Reserved|
Based in Paris, Fred Canonge is a French freelance photographer who has extensively travelled in India for the last ten years, and is constantly exploring all the nuances and the diversity of Indian society. His website is replete with galleries of India, including some of images made in Kathputli and Varanasi, but the gallery which I liked the most has his work on the pehlawan.
Varanasi has a number of traditional wrestling training gyms (known as akhara), and one can spot them working with rudimentary weights near Tulsi ghat. The wrestlers' diets consist of milk, almonds, ghee, eggs and chapattis, but have a difficult time making ends meet. Some of them find work as bodyguards to those who need protection or as "enforcers" during political elections.