Rudraneil Sengupta is preparing a book on the history of wrestling in the subcontinent, and is searching for the etymologies of certain common terms used in the sport.
He believes that some of the most common words in wrestling come from Iran & Turkey and that general region, and some are of Sanskrit origin. For example, the old Sanskrit word (now rarely used) for wrestling is Malla-Yudh. Yudh means battle. Now Malla, as far as his research tells him, was first used as the name of a tribe, then was the name of a kingdom, then became a derogatory term — a term to denote a despised "other" (dark-skinned, poor, tribal). Apparently this same tribe was famous for their proficiency in wrestling, and thus the term Malla-Yudh came to be coined. He's not sure whether this is accurate, or if the etymology has ever been carefully considered. But that's where he is starting from.
I myself recognized a few of the words as looking distinctly Persian (e.g., Pehelwani / Pahelwani / Pahlwani and kushti), and I remembered that there was a Malla dynasty in Indian history and a series of Malla kingdoms in Nepalese history, but wasn't sure or precise enough about their possible relationship to words for wrestling, so I asked some colleagues who are specialists in Asian languages if they knew more about them.
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