Harshini J. Karunaratne | Pehlwani: wrestling in the sands
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Pehlwani: wrestling in the sands


Dubai, UAE

About This Project

Every Friday in Dubai, before the evening prayers, a group of Pakistani men gather to wrestle. The men assemble in a circle and take their seats, perching on small slabs of rock so their kurtas don’t get dirty. Stragglers shuffle in and form a standing ring around the crowd. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, casting long shadows across the dirt, the group grows quiet. They are spectators awaiting their spectacle.

And then, two wrestlers, the pehlwan, emerge.

This series was published as a photo essay in the Spring 2017 issue of Al Noor: The Boston College Undergraduate Middle Eastern Studies Journal. Read the full text here.


A selection of prints was on display at PLAY, a group exhibition at Tashkeel in Dubai that ran from 13th March to 24th April, 2019.