Gama Pehalwan Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Family, Google Doodle | Who was Gama Pehalwan? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Gama Pehalwan?

Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt (22 May 1878 – 23 May 1960), commonly known as Rustam-e-Hind (Hindi-Urdu for Rostam of India) and by the ring name The Great Gama, was a colonial Indian pehlwani wrestler and strongman. In the early 20th century, he was an undefeated wrestling champion of the world.

Google Doodle celebrates India’s Gama Pehlwan, the undefeated wrestling champion

Google Doodle celebrates India's Gama Pehlwan, the undefeated wrestling champion
Google Doodle celebrates India’s Gama Pehlwan, the undefeated wrestling champion

Today’s Doodle artwork of the Google search engine is celebrating the accomplishments of Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, an Indian wrestler of the early 20th century famously known as ‘The Great Gama’.

Created by artist Vrinda Zaveri, the Google Doodle also celebrates the wrestler’s impact and representation he brought to Indian culture.

Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt was widely considered one of the best wrestlers of all time and earned the name ‘The Great Gama’ after he remained undefeated throughout his international matches.

Gama Pehalwan Biography, Wiki

Ghulam Mohammad Baksh was born on May 22nd, 1878 in Jabbowal Village, Amritsar district, Punjab Province, British India (now Jabbowal, Kapurthala District, Punjab, India) into a Kashmiri Muslim family of wrestlers. He came from a wrestling family which was known to produce world-class wrestlers.

The Baksh family is believed by historians to originally have been Kashmiri Hindus (Bhat) who converted to Islam during Muslim rule in the Kashmir region of the Indian subcontinent. Gama had two wives: one in Punjab and the other in Vadodara, Gujarat, India.

After the death of his father Muhammad Aziz Baksh when he was six, Gama was put under the care of his maternal grandfather Nun Pahalwan. Following his death, Gama was taken care of by his uncle Ida, another wrestler, who also began training Gama in wrestling. 

He was first noticed at the age of ten, in 1888, when he entered a strongman competition held in Jodhpur, which included many grueling exercises such as squats.

The contest was attended by more than four hundred wrestlers and Gama was among the last fifteen and was named the winner by the Maharaja of Jodhpur due to his young age. Gama was subsequently taken into training by the Maharaja of Datia.

Gama Pehalwan Biography Wikipedia
Gama Pehalwan
Birth nameGhulam Mohammad Baksh Butt
Born22 May 1878
Jabbowal, Amritsar, Punjab, British India
(now in Kapurthala, Punjab, India)
Died23 May 1960 (aged 82)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
FamilyImam Baksh Pahalwan (brother)
Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif (granddaughter)

Gama Pehalwan Career

At the age of 19, he challenged the Rustam-e-Hind (Indian wrestling champion) Raheem Bakhsh Sultaniwala, a bold move by the new kid on the block. Raheem was 7 feet tall and a professionally trained wrestler. All bets were on Raheem but the Great GAMA shocked everyone and managed to end the match in a draw.

After he defeated all other major wrestlers in India, he traveled west and threw an open challenge in London. The bet was, that if he lost he would pay the prize money and go back home. But GAMA was fierce, his fame traveled before him and no one dared to take the challenge.

With no turn-up, he then challenged the world heavyweight champion and Stanislaus Zybyszko turned up. The reigning champion spent most of the time in the bout defending himself. This match also ended in a draw and a rematch was set. Stanislaus didn’t turn up this time and GAMA pehalwan was declared the champion.

With another title under his belt, he returned home and faced Rustam-e-Hind again. The most anticipated match was fixed and the akhada was packed with spectators. GAMA Pehalwan made history and emerged victoriously. He also faced Stanislaus one more time, this time GAMA defeated him in just 42 seconds.

Achievements of Gama Pehalwan

  • He was honored with the Indian version of the World Heavyweight Championship on 15th October 1910.
  • Had a fierce clash with World Champion Stanislaus Zbyszko at the John Bull World Championships. He won the £250 prize money along with the John Bull Belt on 17th September 1910 after Zbyszko’s failure to show up.
  • He had a final clash in 1927 where he defeated Zbyszko in the Indian version of the World Wrestling Championship. Gama was bestowed with the title of  “Tiger” after the tournament.
  • Defeated many respected wrestlers of the world including “Doc” Benjamin Roller, Johann Lemm, Maurice Deriaz, and eventually his toughest opponent Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala.
  • Presented a silver mace by the Prince of Wales during his visit to India in 1922
  • His name was inducted into the George Tragos / Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in the Class of 2007 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in the Class of 2015.

Gama Pehalwan FAQ’s

Who was Gama Pehalwan?

Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt (22 May 1878 – 23 May 1960), commonly known as Rustam-e-Hind (Hindi-Urdu for Rostam of India) and by the ring name The Great Gama, was a colonial Indian pehlwani wrestler and strongman. In the early 20th century, he was an undefeated wrestling champion of the world.

How old was Gama Pehalwan?

Gama Pehalwan died on 23rd May 1960 at the age of 82.

How did Gama Pehalwan die?

He died in Lahore, Pakistan on 23 May 1960 after a period of illness.

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