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Pehlwani or kushti is a form of wrestling from South Asia. It was developed in the Mughal era through a synthesis of the malla-yuddha form of wrestling in South Asia and the Iranian Varzesh-e Bastani.
The history of Varzesh-e Bastani in Persia or Ancient Iran can be traced back to the Parthian Empire of Iran (132 BC - 226 AD). Even the word Pahlavan comes from Parthia (according to one of the most reliable sources on history of the ancient Iran, "History of Ancient Iran" by Hasan Pirnia).
A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan, while teachers are known as ustad (or guru, for Hindu teachers). The undefeated champions of India hold the title Rustam-i-Hind, meaning "the Rostam of India", whereas the title Rustam-i-Pakistan is similarly used in Pakistan, denoting Rostam: the hero of the Iranian national epic, the Shahnameh.
Through time Western training methods and nomenclature from Iran and Europe were introduced into pehlwani. Wrestling competitions, known as dangal, held in villages can have their own rules variations. Usually a win is awarded by decision from the panel of judges, knockout, stoppage or submission.
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