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Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat

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The inspiring life story of one of India's greatest wrestling coaches. In 2000, after the Olympic Games closed with much fanfare in Sydney, legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat watched, dejected and heartbroken, as the prize reserved by his state government for winners of Olympic medals in wrestling was left unclaimed. Determined to never see this instance repeated, Pho The inspiring life story of one of India's greatest wrestling coaches. In 2000, after the Olympic Games closed with much fanfare in Sydney, legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat watched, dejected and heartbroken, as the prize reserved by his state government for winners of Olympic medals in wrestling was left unclaimed. Determined to never see this instance repeated, Phogat decided to do the unthinkable. Much to his neighbours’ curiosity he spent two days digging a pit in his courtyard and asked his young daughters and nieces to join him there at the break of dawn one day. Little did they know that this unusual command from him would change their lives forever. Yet, each of their wins in the ring, every ambition he had for them, came at great personal cost. In the small village of Balali in Haryana, a state infamous for its practice of female foeticide and low literacy rates, Phogat had to battle not just deep social stigma and an apathetic government, but also a disapproving family and personal tragedy, to train the girls in his sport. Due to his efforts, the girls have all gone on to win medals and acclaim at the national and international levels, including at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Akhada tells the remarkable story of a man of tremendous fortitude, of a father who fought against all odds to give his daughters a future they could not have dreamed for themselves.


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The inspiring life story of one of India's greatest wrestling coaches. In 2000, after the Olympic Games closed with much fanfare in Sydney, legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat watched, dejected and heartbroken, as the prize reserved by his state government for winners of Olympic medals in wrestling was left unclaimed. Determined to never see this instance repeated, Pho The inspiring life story of one of India's greatest wrestling coaches. In 2000, after the Olympic Games closed with much fanfare in Sydney, legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat watched, dejected and heartbroken, as the prize reserved by his state government for winners of Olympic medals in wrestling was left unclaimed. Determined to never see this instance repeated, Phogat decided to do the unthinkable. Much to his neighbours’ curiosity he spent two days digging a pit in his courtyard and asked his young daughters and nieces to join him there at the break of dawn one day. Little did they know that this unusual command from him would change their lives forever. Yet, each of their wins in the ring, every ambition he had for them, came at great personal cost. In the small village of Balali in Haryana, a state infamous for its practice of female foeticide and low literacy rates, Phogat had to battle not just deep social stigma and an apathetic government, but also a disapproving family and personal tragedy, to train the girls in his sport. Due to his efforts, the girls have all gone on to win medals and acclaim at the national and international levels, including at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Akhada tells the remarkable story of a man of tremendous fortitude, of a father who fought against all odds to give his daughters a future they could not have dreamed for themselves.

30 review for Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ankush Chander

    'It was one of the greatest moment of my life,' Mahavir smiles proudly. 'I was speechless watching with awe the sea of humanity waiting for us. Even today, the moment is etched in my mind. It was such an amazing experience that words cannot do it justice - one has to live it to really appreciate it. Before the Commonwealth Games, Geeta and Babita were recognized as my daughters, but after the Games , people started recognizing me as the father of Phogat sisters. It felt like a gift from God.' 'It was one of the greatest moment of my life,' Mahavir smiles proudly. 'I was speechless watching with awe the sea of humanity waiting for us. Even today, the moment is etched in my mind. It was such an amazing experience that words cannot do it justice - one has to live it to really appreciate it. Before the Commonwealth Games, Geeta and Babita were recognized as my daughters, but after the Games , people started recognizing me as the father of Phogat sisters. It felt like a gift from God.'

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dhruv

    It's a inspirational book... it shows that always strong financial background in not the only factor for a achievement of a successful person... determination is also much important It's a inspirational book... it shows that always strong financial background in not the only factor for a achievement of a successful person... determination is also much important

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rishika S.

    3.5 Stars! The story of Mahavir Singh Phogat became widespread public knowledge when Indian actor, Aamir Khan, starred as the wrestling coach in a dramatized biopic of the man who forever altered women's wrestling in India. Phogat's official biography, penned by Saurabh Duggal, was released a few days prior to the film. The film in question, Dangal, was another in a string of dramatized biopics that have been released in the past few years. Mary Kom, starring Priyanka Chopra as Olympic champ Mary 3.5 Stars! The story of Mahavir Singh Phogat became widespread public knowledge when Indian actor, Aamir Khan, starred as the wrestling coach in a dramatized biopic of the man who forever altered women's wrestling in India. Phogat's official biography, penned by Saurabh Duggal, was released a few days prior to the film. The film in question, Dangal, was another in a string of dramatized biopics that have been released in the past few years. Mary Kom, starring Priyanka Chopra as Olympic champ Mary Kom, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha 'The Flying Sikh' Singh were two more that became huge successes. Compared to the actual stories of Mary Kom (Unbreakable, which I'd read the night before I saw the film) and Milkha Singh (The Race of My Life, which I read a little after watching the film), the movies downright sucked (Sorry, not sorry!). So when I watched Dangal, I decided to let some time pass before I read the real story. And one thing I can say for sure now that I have read it is that the movie wasn't bad, but it's more of an entertainer, because it does almost no justice to the crazy, inspirational, and often tragic life that Phogat actually led - a life that made him the man, father, and coach that gave India some of her best wrestlers. Here's my review of Saurabh Duggal's Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat. Genre: Non-fiction, Biography Length: 232 Pages Overall Rating: 7 out of 10 Primary Element: 8 out of 10 for its raw-ness and simple but impactful storytelling Writing Style: 8 out of 10 Highlighted Takeaway: This isn't a dramatized version of the story of a man who changed the society he lived in, but a very real look into it. And that is what makes it so good - the story had to only be told to be inspirational, it didn't have to be embellished to be made so. What I Liked: The way the author showcases all the strengths of Mahavir Singh Phogat, but does not shy away from showcasing his weaknesses too, making it truly reflective of the wrestling coach. The way the author describes the social and economic circumstances of the region for what it is, without turning it into a social justice gimmick, and consequently displaying its grim reality as well as cautious hope. What I Didn’t Like: The book isn't sequential. Given the sheer number of events mentioned in the book, it makes it a little difficult to identify and follow the timeline, which takes away some of the effect of a life led full of struggles and achievements. Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in sports and autobiographies/biographies. Who Should Avoid: I don't think anyone would dislike this book or the story it tells. Even if you aren't interested in sports, it's worth a read, if only for the inspirational tale it tells. Read It For: A look at the real struggles of real people, and the proof that greatness can come from the most unexpected of places - you just need one person to see potential. This is the story that changed the face of Indian wrestling in an unprecedented manner and has also changed the deeprooted beliefs of a system that wasn't necessarily working. More than a tale, it's history that shaped a different present and future and, as such, should be more known.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nishant Gupta

    This is a biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his family, Dangal movie is based upon their story. Read this book, especially if you've seen and liked the movie. There are a lot of things in the book which are not there in the movie. Dangal, a good movie, but suffers from overdramatizing the story in the second half. I believe the book is more closer to the reality than the movie. It's a good biography, language is simple and the story is told without trying to make it emotional, dramatic or co This is a biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his family, Dangal movie is based upon their story. Read this book, especially if you've seen and liked the movie. There are a lot of things in the book which are not there in the movie. Dangal, a good movie, but suffers from overdramatizing the story in the second half. I believe the book is more closer to the reality than the movie. It's a good biography, language is simple and the story is told without trying to make it emotional, dramatic or complicated. Good, inspiring and interesting book. Easy pick towards the reading challenge.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Prasanta

    It is an inspirational story of a man who raised his daughters achievement incredible feat at Olympic sports. I think this story could have written in much better than what the author has done in this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Afifa Mehreen

    Good

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mitesh Patel

    Amazing story of hard work, single-minded focus and perseverance. Written in a very simple English, the book’s message is simple - anything is possible; if you want to make it possible

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diksha

    A very interesting and inspiring read. It brings forth the background picture of the success of the Phogat sisters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shreya Ganju

    Story of a ordinary man in making his daughter's extraordinary. A must read.. Story of a ordinary man in making his daughter's extraordinary. A must read..

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dipika Bangera

    A true story about a father who encourages and coaches his daughters and nieces to break all boundaries set for women.Very unlike the movie which is quite filmy, this book is all about the hard work and toil that goes into making an international athlete. A Dronacharya who helped create 3 Arjuna award winners in wrestling and all from one family. Truly inspiring!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shubhada Kale

    Saurabh Duggal's book based on the life of the Phogat sisters and their father/coach is a clear and detailed representation of the determination and passion of a man, which brought women's wrestling into the spotlight in India. Mr. Phogat's hard work in the span of his life has been translated effectively in the book. The writer has kept a good balance between the portrayal of multiple protagonists while telling the story. A must read if you wish to know the real story behind Dangal. And as alwa Saurabh Duggal's book based on the life of the Phogat sisters and their father/coach is a clear and detailed representation of the determination and passion of a man, which brought women's wrestling into the spotlight in India. Mr. Phogat's hard work in the span of his life has been translated effectively in the book. The writer has kept a good balance between the portrayal of multiple protagonists while telling the story. A must read if you wish to know the real story behind Dangal. And as always, the book is much better than the movie.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Senthil

    Impressive

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gunjan

    Nice overview of life of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters during the early years, when he trained them to become world champions. The writing by Saurabh Duggal is smooth and easy to follow, and achieves the objective of making Mahavir's story known to the readers. Overall a good weekend read. Nice overview of life of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters during the early years, when he trained them to become world champions. The writing by Saurabh Duggal is smooth and easy to follow, and achieves the objective of making Mahavir's story known to the readers. Overall a good weekend read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shiny Ajit

    Lots of things which we were not able to know is nicely explained in this book.hardwork of a coach and the sisters .Big Salute!

  15. 4 out of 5

    George Ambooken

    The sheer inspirational nature of the story keeps the reader moderately interested. However, the narrative comes across as bland and utterly unremarkable. It serves more as a simple chronicle of events rather than a story of sweat and blood. That said, the book is indeed commendable in that it does not resort to hero worship and does bring out some of the flaws in Mahavir Phogat's otherwise stirring tale - something that 'Dangal' fails to do. The sheer inspirational nature of the story keeps the reader moderately interested. However, the narrative comes across as bland and utterly unremarkable. It serves more as a simple chronicle of events rather than a story of sweat and blood. That said, the book is indeed commendable in that it does not resort to hero worship and does bring out some of the flaws in Mahavir Phogat's otherwise stirring tale - something that 'Dangal' fails to do.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mayuri Nidigallu

    If you watched the film, 'Dangal' and thought it was inspirational then this book is a MUST read. Mahavir Phogat is truly a great human being, who didn't care about what his community and others thought but plowed ahead with the sole ambition of training his daughters and nieces to represent India in a male-dominated sport and own it! With no help, financial or otherwise, he dedicated his entire savings and life towards training his wards who in return showered their Gurus with medals. If you watched the film, 'Dangal' and thought it was inspirational then this book is a MUST read. Mahavir Phogat is truly a great human being, who didn't care about what his community and others thought but plowed ahead with the sole ambition of training his daughters and nieces to represent India in a male-dominated sport and own it! With no help, financial or otherwise, he dedicated his entire savings and life towards training his wards who in return showered their Gurus with medals.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anil

    I had not much expectation from book after seeing Dangal. However the book gives a more vivid picture of the father and also socio-economic fabric of late 1990s. It not only covers the time till Commonwealth games but captures the journey of other two daughters and how new fond riches have had no impact on father or daughters Kindle edition was available for INR39 and it was truly worth every penny.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ravish

    Hell lot of dramatization done by Nitish Tiwari in "Dangal". Except for training start part and bias towards girls, there is utter difference in what is presented in this book and the movie. Nevertheless a decent one time read to understand the realities and difficulties of training girls in a highly patriarchal society. Had the author worked on personal aspects of Mahavir through his childhood, teenage and further stages with higher detailing, it would have been a priceless book to keep. Hell lot of dramatization done by Nitish Tiwari in "Dangal". Except for training start part and bias towards girls, there is utter difference in what is presented in this book and the movie. Nevertheless a decent one time read to understand the realities and difficulties of training girls in a highly patriarchal society. Had the author worked on personal aspects of Mahavir through his childhood, teenage and further stages with higher detailing, it would have been a priceless book to keep.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mehul Ashar

    Trulyan amazing story of grit and determination. A must read. The story serves as an ispiration proving that nothing is impossible. One man's vision to achieve the impossible helped the country win awards at a global level. More importantly it changed the mindset towards women. Trulyan amazing story of grit and determination. A must read. The story serves as an ispiration proving that nothing is impossible. One man's vision to achieve the impossible helped the country win awards at a global level. More importantly it changed the mindset towards women.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aashish Jain

    more than Dangal.... Great work by saurabh duggal to bring out the real story of Phogat Family. movie was just 20% of what legend the family owns....

  21. 4 out of 5

    Manish Gupta

    An inspirational story. A badly written book. Narrative is very dry and the book does not even remotely do justice to the immense inspirational efforts of Mahavir Phogat. Avoidable.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pratik

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bagath srinivasan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rituraj

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nayan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Modi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mandar

  28. 4 out of 5

    ZAID

  29. 4 out of 5

    Prashanta Dalal

  30. 5 out of 5

    Baleshwar Wahengbam

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