Renowned wrestler, actor and former BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Dara Singh passed away on July 12 at his residence in Mumbai. He was 84. He had been battling for life in a city hospital since the last four days and was brought back home on July 11. He was admitted to Kokilaben Hospital on July 7 following a cardiac arrest and since then he had been in the ICU.
The Commonwealth Wrestling World Champion of 1968 Dara Singh entered the film industry in the fifties and is known for his legendary role as Hanuman in Ramanand Sagar’s epic television serial Ramayan. It made him a household name. His portrayal of Hanuman left such an imprint on everyone’s mind that hours before he passed away, people in his village Dharamuchak in Punjab were praying for his speedy recovery in a Hanuman temple. He was a Rajya Sabha member from 2003 to 2009.
Inside the ring Dara Singh was always a king, as he never lost any of the 500 odd wrestling competitions. In the movies also he always looked unbreakable. He played various roles in hundreds of Hindi and Punjabi movies. He was accorded the title of Rustam-e-Hind in 1978 for his wrestling prowess. He also earned the names like the Indian Superman and He man.
BJP president Shri Nitin Gadkari expressed his profound grief and deep sorrow on the demise of veteran film actor and renowned wrestler. In a condolence message, Shri Gadkari said the wrestling giant and a versatile film actor was a staunch BJP supporter and had campaigned for the party in several elections. His death is a great loss to the nation, he said.
Veteran BJP leader Shri LK Advani termed the death of Dara Singh as the loss of a jewel. He said it is a loss for the country, which will be difficult to be borne.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said Indian wrestling has lost a guide and mentor. IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Dara Singh raised wrestling’s profile with his impeccable demeanour, both on and off the arena, and added glamour quotient to it. “Indian wrestling in 1950s and 1960s was synonymous with Dara Singh and he gave a new dimension and direction to the sport which then it was confined only to rural India,” he said adding that Dara Singh’s rise to the fame also attracted rural youths to the sport and gave them a sense of self-belief.