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Pehlwani (Urdu/Shahmukhi: پہلوانی, Hindi: पहलवानी, Punjabi: ਪਹਿਲਵਾਨੀ, Bengali: পালোয়ানি) or kusti (Hindi: कुश्ती,Marathi: कुस्ती, Urdu/Shahmukhi: کشتی, Punjabi: ਕੁਸ਼ਤੀ, Bengali: কুস্তি) is a form of wrestling from South Asia. It was developed in the Mughal Empire by combining native malla-yuddha with influences from Persian koshti pahlavani.[1][2] The words pehlwani and kusti derive from the Persian terms pahlavani and koshti respectively.

A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan while teachers are known either as ustad or guru, depending on their religion.[2] Many southern Indian practitioners of traditional malla-yuddha consider their art to be the more "pure" form of Indian wrestling, but most South Asians do not make this clear distinction and simply view kusti as the direct descendent of ancient malla-yuddha, usually downplaying the foreign influence as inconsequential.
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