Published on January 27th, 2023
India is a country where many legends were born. The game of wrestling was invented in India, and since then, many players have made India proud with their wrestling skills. The Great Gama was once such prominent wrestler who was a Pehalwan and strongman for British India. Born as Ghulam Mohammed Baksh Butt, he remained the undefeated wrestling champion of British India.
With a career span of 52 years, The Great Gama Pehalwan, as he was fondly called, remained an inspiration for many. Let us have a look into the personality of The Great Gama and what made him so special.
Some Lesser Known Facts About Gama Pehalwan
1. Gama Pehlwan was born to a Kashmiri family of wrestlers in Jabbowal Village near Amritsar his family was famous for producing world-class wrestlers. When he was just 6 years old, his father, Muhammad Aziz Baksh, passed away.
2. Post his father’s death, his maternal grandfather, Nun Pahalwan, started taking care of him. Later his uncle Ida took over, and he was responsible for training Gama in wrestling.
3. When he was just 10, he participated in a strongman competition in Jodhpur, where his efforts were noticed. Gama came among the last 15, and the Maharaja of Jodhpur named him the winner because of his young age and talent.
4. Later the Maharaja of Datia took him under his jurisdiction, taking care of his training.
5. It is believed that in his training, Gamma used to wrestle with 40 other wrestlers at one time. In one day, Gama was known to do 5000 squats (baithaks) and 3000 pushups (dands).
6. Gama Pehalwan’s daily diet, as per sources, was supposed to comprise 2 gallons of milk, 6 desi chickens, and around one pound of crushed almonds made into a tonic.
7. As per reports, when he visited Baroda state for a wrestling challenge, he lifted a stone weighing more than 1200 kg which is now kept at Baroda Museum.
8. When he was 17, Gama challenged Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala. He was the then-Indian Wrestling Champion and hailed from Gujranwala in present Pakistan. Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala was highly experienced, in his middle age, and almost 7 feet in height. The fight went on for hours and ended in a draw.
Before Moving Forward…
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9. This challenge with Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala changed the course of Gama’s career. By 1910 Gama had defeated all the major Indian Wrestlers who he competed with.
10. Post his domestic achievement Gama focussed his attention on other countries.
11. Gama wished to compete with Western Wrestlers, and he sailed to England along with his younger brother Imam Bakhsh. But because of his short height, he was not allowed instant entry.
12. In London, he raised a challenge that he could easily throw any 3 wrestlers in 30 minutes of any weight category. However, no one took his claims seriously.
13. Then Gama especially challenged Stanislaus Zbyszko and Frank Gotch. He asked them to either fight with him or relinquished the prize money.
14. The first person to take Gama’s challenge was Benjamin Roller, an American Wrestler. Gama was able to pin him in 1 minute 40 seconds in the first round and in 9 minutes and 10 seconds in the other. The next day Gama was allowed entry into the official tournament after he defeated 12 wrestlers.
14. On 10 September 1910, during the John Bull World Championships finals in London, Gama had to face Stanislaus Zbyszko, the world champion. The prize money at that time was £250 (₹22000). After 3 hours of fighting, Zbyszko was able to draw the game.
16. The next time they were to face each other Zbyszko did not come; Gama was officially declared the winner.
17. During his tour to the Western countries, Gama defeated some of the most respected grapplers in the world- Maurice Deriaz of France, “Doc” Benjamin Roller of the United States, Jesse Peterson (World Champion) from Sweden, and Johann Lemm (the European Champion) of Switzerland.
18. While touring western countries, Gama could defeat some of the most prominent wrestlers like
Maurice Deriaz of France.
- “Doc” Benjamin Roller of the United States
- Jesse Peterson (World Champion) from Sweden
- Johann Lemm (the European Champion) of Switzerland.
19. In his match with Benjamin Roller, Gama had thrown him 13 times in just 15 minutes.
20. After these achievements, Gama sent a challenge to all the other wrestlers who claimed to be the World Champions. This included George Hackenschmidt of Russia, Japanese Judo champion Taro Miyake, and Frank Gotch of the United States. But they all declined the invitation.
21. At one point, Gama offered to fight 20 English wrestlers back-to-back, but no one would take up his challenge.
When Gama returned to India, he faced Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala in Allahabad. Post a long struggle, Gama was declared the winner and was given the title of “Rustam-e-Hind.”
22. When people asked about his strongest opponent Gama named Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala.
23. In 1916 Gama defeated Pandit Biddu, one of the best wrestlers in India.
24. In 1922 Prince of Wales visited India and presented Gama with a silver mace.
25. Till 1927 Gama did not have any significant opponents. Later it was announced that Gama would face Zbyszko again. In January 1928, both had their duel in which Gama defeated Zbyszko within a minute. With this, he won the Indian version of the World Wrestling Championship. Post this, Zbyszko started referring to Gama as the “tiger”.
26. Gama’s last fight was with Jesse Petersen in February 1929. The fight continued only for one and a half minutes, after which Gama was declared the winner.
27. The Nizam of Hyderabad invited Gama in the 1940s, where he defeated all his wrestlers. Then Nizam asked him to fight Balram Heeraman Singh Yadav. Yadav had never been defeated in his life. After a long fight, Gama could not defeat Yadav, and none of the wrestlers won.
28. After the partition in 1947, Gama shifted to Pakistan. After his retirement, Gama could not find any more opponents.
29. Post-retirement, Gama trained his nephew Bholu Pahalwan, who stayed in the Pakistani wrestling championship for 20 years.
30. Before his death, Gama suffered from a Chronic illness and could not pay for the treatment. G.D. Birla, who was a wrestling fan, donated ₹2,000 and a pension of ₹300. The Pakistan Government also took care of his medical expenses.
31. A 95 kg doughnut-shaped exercise disc that Gama used for squats was displayed at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Museum at Patiala.
32. Bruce Lee was a follower of Gama’s training schedule.
33. On 22 May 2022, Google created a Doodle Artwork to commemorate Gama Pehalwan’s achievements.
Gama Pehalwan Height, Weight, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography
|Real Name||Ghulam Mohammad Baksh|
|Nickname(s)||Rustam-e-Hind, Rustam-e-Zamana, The Great Gama|
|Ring Name||Gama Pahalwan|
|Gama Pehalwan Physical Stats & More|
|Billed Height||Gama Pehalwan Height in centimeters– 173 cm
Gama Pehalwan Height in feet inches– 5’ 8”
|Weight||Gama Pehalwan Weight in kilograms– 110 kg
Gama Pehalwan Weight in pounds– 250 lbs
|Body Measurements (approx.)||Gama Pehalwan Chest: 46 inches
Waist: 34 inches
Gama Pehalwan Biceps: 22 inches
|Gama Pehalwan Personal Life|
|Date of Birth||22 May 1878|
|Birthplace||Village Jabbowal Amritsar, Punjab, British India|
|Date of Death||23 May 1960|
|Place of Death||Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Death Cause||After a chronic illness of heart and asthma|
|Age (at the time of death)||82 Years|
|Hometown||Amritsar, Punjab, India|
|Family||Father– Muhammad Aziz Baksh
Mother– Name Not Known
Brother– Imam Baksh Pahalwan
Sister– Not Known
|Gama Pehalwan Favorites|
|Food||Chicken, Dry Fruits|
|Gama Pehalwan Son, Wife, and More|
Granddaughter– Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif (wife of Nawaz Sharif)
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ ) About Gama Pehalwan
Who Defeated Gama?
Gama largely remained undefeated in his career span.
At What Age Gama Died?
He died at the age of 82 years.
Was The Great Gama Married?
Yes, his wife’s name was Wazir Begum
Who Is Gama Pehalwan Son?
Gama Pehalwan’s son’s name was Aslam Pehalwan.
How Did The Great Gama Die?
Gama died of a chronic illness in 1960.
Who Lifted 1200 Kg Stone?
Gama Pehalwan lifted the 1200 Kg stone in Baroda.
- The Great Gama Pahelwan
- Google Doodle Celebrates Gama Pehalwan, The Undefeated Wrestling Champion
- Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling
- The Wrestler’s Body: Identity and Ideology in North India
- Here’s The Story Of Gama ‘The Undefeated’ Pehalwan And How He Saved Hindus During 1947 Riots
- The Culture And Crisis Of Kushti
- Gamanamah: The story of a strongman
- Google Doodle celebrates India’s Gama Pehlwan, the undefeated wrestling champion
- The Great Gama: Story Of The Greatest ‘Pehelwan’ To Ever Walk On Indian Soil
- Why the Great Gama is counted among the greatest wrestlers of all time
- The Great Gama – The pehelwan who refused to lose
- Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt — The Great Gama Pehalwan
- WRESTLING: The Warrior’s Soul
- National Wrestling Hall Of Fame
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