Note on Translation
I have made every effort to ensure that the translation of material from Hindi to English is as accurate as possible. All translations are my own. In citing classical Sanskrit texts I have referenced the chapter and verse of the original source and have also cited the secondary source of the translated material. All other citations are quoted verbatim even when the English usage is idiosyncratic and not consistent with the prose style or spelling conventions employed in the main text. A translation of single words or short phrases appears in the first instance of use and sometimes again if the same word or phrase is used subsequently much later in the text.
Transliteration has been done with an eye toward readability and simplicity. Diacritics are excluded from the text but have been included in the glossary. Although the common language spoken in Banaras is Bhojpuri, almost everyone also speaks some version of Hindi, Urdu, or a combination thereof. All of my interviews were conducted in Hindi. Therefore, transliteration usually conforms to the standard Hindi pronunciation, but in some cases the wrestlers with whom I spoke affected a particular pronunciation of specific words, as, for example, bethak (deep knee bend) rather than baithak. In part this may be a function of the linguistic interface in eastern Uttar Pradesh, and in part because wrestlers have developed a slight accent of their own when talking about the specifics of their art among themselves. If these terms are not in common usage, and it seems that even non-Banaras wrestlers have the same pronunciation, I have conformed to the wrestlers’ predilection.