Eight-feet high doors await ‘Great Khali’ in native village

May 5th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by admin  

By Jaideep Sarin
Nahan (Himachal Pradesh), May 5 (IANS) When seven-foot three-inch tall Dalip Singh Rana returns to his native village in Himachal Pradesh this week, the ‘Great Khali’ wrestling champ will have easy passage for the first time. Rana, better known globally as ‘The Great Khali’ World Wide Entertainment (WWE) champion, will no longer be required to bow and squeeze his huge 420 pound- frame through the door of his family home in Dhariana village of Sirmour district.

His family, particularly father Jwala Ram and mother Tandi Devi, have got portions of the house renovated to suit the convenience of their now famous and fairly rich son. Khali will have easy access to the house with eight-foot-high and over four-foot-wide doors specially erected for him.

“He is coming back after two and a half years. I could not go to Delhi to receive him because of poor health. We want to give him good facilities here,” Khali’s mother Tandi Devi said here as she chatted about his arrival in Delhi Saturday.

Khali’s journey from this village in a not-so-prosperous area of this hill state is a true rags-to- riches story.

Born in a poor family Aug 27, 1972, Dalip Singh Rana (Khali) remained unlettered. Being one of seven siblings in the family, Khali even had to work as a roadside labourer to earn some money. He later went to Shimla to become a security guard.

It was here that Rana was spotted by Punjab’s former police chief Mahal Singh Bhullar. The police officer, who was instrumental in getting several players from Punjab Police don international colours in various sporting disciplines by giving them training at Jalandhar’s Punjab Armed Police (PAP) complex, got Rana a job in Punjab Police in 1993.

After landing in Jalandhar with his brother, who too was offered a police job to bring a reluctant Rana from Himachal Pradesh, the wrestler trained hard in local gyms. Awards soon followed, and before long, Rana was in the United States for specialized wrestling training.

It was here that his wrestling talent got him into the WWE circuit and he was soon taking on the might of ‘The Undertaker’ and several other top WWE wrestlers.

“He used to visit various gyms in Jalandhar to train hard. Even now when he comes here, he visits these gyms to encourage upcoming body-builders,” Khali’s brother Inder Singh said.

The wrestler continues to be a sub-inspector ‘on leave’ in the Punjab Police rolls. He was “dismissed” from service two years ago for his absence but the order was later revoked. Even his colleagues and officers are waiting for him to visit Jalandhar as he will have to “report back” for duty to avail himself of further leave.

Khali - who got his name from Hindu goddess of destruction Kaali - is an ardent follower of Divya Jyoti sect chief Ashutosh, who is based near Jalandhar.

Though Khali’s own parents are not as tall, his father says that Khali’s height could be from his grandfather who was almost seven feet tall. Though he loves big cars, especially SUVs, he is unable to drive them due to his big frame.

Khali, who is now based in Atlanta in the US, has several commercial and sports assignments lined up during his India trip. He is married to US-born Harminder Kaur who is accompanying him on his visit.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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