Not many of us would have heard of him but he is a hero in his own stride. A man who is willing to swim against the tide with confidence and fortitude. Let me proudly introduce to you today, the real life SULTAN !

A freestyle Kushti player whose skills and acumen are absolutely unmatchable in entire country when it comes to desi style kushti!
I always had a close connection with the world of sports & have often met several national and international sportsmen, but none like him. I consider myself to be absolutely fortunate to have met a personality like him. Most of us often blame our circumstances for our failures in life. We often consider ourselves as unfortunate and think to ourselves – Why do all bad things happen to me only, some like to blame our fortunes while others blame the God for our own helplessness. We find pleasure in self pity and we never stop complaining. But here was a man who was willing to ignore his weaknesses, set goals for himself and work passionately to ace them.

This man is an inspiration for all of us, in more than just one way. On 1st April 1986, in a small village called Sasroli (Distrcit Jhajhar) in Haryana, a boy was born in the family of wrestler Ajeet Singh. He was named Virender Singh. Little did they know that this was a special child. The family soon realized that the child could barely listen or speak. They did everything that they could do – visited several doctors and consulted everyone in village, but nothing seemed to work. The problem grew with his age.

But his father, Ajeet Singh wasn’t somebody who would give up just like that. He decided to take his 7 year old child, to what is traditionally known as ‘Ákhada’, a place where body builders and wrestlers practice kushti. Teaching a seven year old young kid with hearing impairment about the tactics of kushti was a herculean task for his father, but letting him sit idle and complain all his life was even more tougher. But as they say – When God takes something away from you, he gives you a little extra of something else. The special child was truly special and blessed. Vijrender’s ability to learn and understand things was exceptional. He was amazing at learning his dad’s lessons.

Ajeet’s efforts and Virender’s learning soon began to show results. Virender won his first kushti match in village’s annual kushti. What followed became a history! Ever since then, whenever Virender entered into akhada, he has always won!

Despite his disability, Virender won a gold medal at the 2005 Melbourne , 2009 Taiwan Deaflympics and the 2013 Bulgaria Deaflympics- International Olympic for deaf athletes respectively. And till date, he remains the only Indian athlete to do so. He still quotes his 2005 Melbourne victory as the most memorable moment of his life – the one where he couldn’t stop back his tears at the time when our “Tiranga” unfurled at the prize distribution ceremony.

His other achievement includes a silver medal at the second World Deaf Wrestling Championship in 2008 in Armenia, a bronze at the World Deaf Wrestling Championship,2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria and a gold medal in recently held World Deaf Wrestling Championship,2016 Iran.

His life had less of happy occasions and more of sorrows, but his smile hides them all! He still spends his life in lonely corners of old Delhi, unseen and un-noticed by sports authorities. Overlooked by everyone, Virender makes his living by fighting unprofessional domestic dangals with pehelwans almost twice his size for a sum between Rs 5,000-Rs 1,00,000. But this hasn’t stopped Virender from competing in international championships and you can feel the heart he puts into the fights.

Off lately he was offered a job of a clerk by Haryana Government. But call it misfortune of the sports-fraternity in India or the govt red tapism that despite bringing laurels and gold to our nation, Virender was neither offered equal treatment like that of a normal sportsman nor was given privileges that are awarded to other sportsmen of our country. Forget the basic privileges, in one of interviews, one of a senior official from Indian Wrestling Federation failed to even recall his name, when asked about how does the federation feel to have such great wrestlers with them.

virendra singh training

In my conversation with him, I could feel pain and sorrow of this young wrestler. He has spent most of his life in isolation, yet he doesn’t complain. He still spends most of his time in Chatrasal Stadium amidst new amateur players while other senior wrestlers rejoice the luxuries of AC chambers and all other fancy amenities.
Virender wishes to compete with all ‘Able-Bodies’ one day but owing to his in-ability to hear referee’s whistle, he isn’t allowed to participate in such a fight. He is however confident, if given a chance, he would not only keep a tab on his opponent but on referee too to understand the whistle postures /signals.

Ironically, this internationally celebrated wrestler hasn’t yet been felicitated with even a single award / recognition from Indian Govt. He now plans to participate in Rio – Paralympics 2016 with a hope that the prize money could take away his life’s woes and he could make his home and family thereafter.

Mute warrior virendra singh

Through this post, I request and plead before the Government of India to please recognize and assist our sportsmen in every possible manner, to ensure that they give their best shot and bring India pride and medals !

I also request the citizens of our nation to respect and recognize these talented super heroes who devote their lifetime only to see our national flag shine high! All they need from you is little love!
This lively and diligent wrestler is fondly known as ‘Goonga Pehelwan / The Mute Warrior’ in the Indian Wrestling community. In the year 2013, a documentary was also released based on his life, which won 62nd National Film Award for the year 2014 under Best Debut Film of a Director Category & Best Film awards at the International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities, 2015

Now let me share with you my experience of meeting him last Saturday which will touch your heart –

  1. We had to meet him at 4:30 pm but due to unforeseeable reasons I was fifteen minutes late. On reaching his home, I saw Virender bhai standing right at the door waiting for me. He actually had to start his training regime which he had postponed to see us!
  2. I will never be able to forget the shine and spark his eyes had, when I gifted him his sehat singh tshirt. This will stay withhim for lifelong!
  3. Immediately after meeting us, he started his training routine. I saw him train 12-14 kids and was wondering to myself how fortunate these children are, to have such a guru in their life!

I left the aakhada after seeking Ajeet Uncle’s blessings. All this while I kept thinking to myself – we can have whatever we’re willing to struggle for! So basically, If you think you can, you will !

I request hereby our country honourable Sports Minister shri Vijay goel to please acknowledge the contribution of this “Mute Warrior” and do help him in whatever capacity you can.
You can connect to his page by following Virender Sing-Goonga Pehelwan

Please Please Please do help him by spreading and sharing his story so that it can reach to the right ears.


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