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Pehlwani is a form of wrestling from the South Asia. It was developed in the Mughal Empire by combining native malla-yuddha with influences from Persian varzesh-e bastani.[1][2] The words pehlwani and kushti derive from the Persian terms pahlavani and koshtirespectively. It is likely that the word derives from the Iranian word "Pehalavi" denoting an Iranian people.

A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan while teachers are known as ustad.[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 kushti as the direct descendent of ancient malla-yuddha, usually downplaying the foreign influence as inconsequential.