Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt ( Gama Pehlwan ) (22 May 1878 – 23 May 1960), also known as Rustam-e-Hind (Hindi-Urdu for Rostam of Hindostan) and The Great Gama, was a British Indian pehlwani wrestler and strongman. He was the world’s undefeated wrestler champion in the early twentieth century.
Baksh was born in 1878 to a Kashmir Muslim family in the village of Jabbowal, Amritsar District, Punjab Province of British India, and was awarded a version of the World Heavyweight Championship on October 15, 1910. He is regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, having gone undefeated in a career spanning more than 52 years. Gama chose Pakistan after the partition of British India into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in August 1947, where he died on May 23, 1960, in Lahore.
Gama Pehlwan Early life
Ghulam Mohammad Baksh was born on May 22, 1878 in Jabbowal Village, Amritsar District, Punjab Province, British India (now Jabbowal, Kapurthala District, Punjab, India) into a wrestling-obsessed Kashmiri Muslim family.
He was discovered when he was ten years old and entered a strongman competition in Jodhpur, which included many gruelling exercises such as squats. The contest drew over 400 wrestlers, with Gama finishing in the top fifteen and being named the winner by the Maharaja of Jodhpur due to his youth. The Maharaja of Datia later put Gama through training.
Gama Pehlwan Training
Gama’s daily training consisted of grappling with forty of his fellow akhada wrestlers (court). He did a minimum of five thousand baithaks (squats) and three thousand dands (pushups) per day, and sometimes more, in 30 to 45 minutes each while wearing a one quintal (approximately 100 kilogrammes (220 lb) wrestling apparatus called a hasli.
Gama Pehlwan Career
Gama challenged then-Indian Wrestling Champion, middle-aged Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, another ethnic Kashmiri wrestler from Gujranwala, Punjab Province, Colonial India, in 1895, at the age of 17. (now in Pakistan). Raheem was expected to easily defeat Gama, who stood about 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and had a very impressive win–loss record. Raheem’s only disadvantage was that he was much older than Gama and nearing the end of his career. The fight lasted several hours and ended in a draw. Gama’s career was transformed by his match with Raheem. Following that, he was regarded as the next contender for the Rustam-e-Hind or Indian Wrestling Championship. Gama remained defensive in the first round, However, in the second round, he went on the offensive. Despite severe bleeding from his nose and ears, he was able to inflict significant damage on Raheem Bakhsh.
Except for Raheem, Gama had defeated all of the prominent Indian wrestlers who had faced him by 1910. At this point, he was preoccupied with the rest of the world. Gama sailed to England with his younger brother Imam Bakhsh to compete with the Western wrestlers, but due to his shorter stature, he was denied immediate entry.
Gama Pehlwan Tournament in London
In London, Gama challenged himself to throw any three wrestlers of any weight class in thirty minutes. The wrestlers and their wrestling promoter, R. B. Benjamin, saw this announcement as a ruse. No one stepped forward to accept the challenge for a long time. Gama issued another challenge to specific heavyweight wrestlers to break the ice. He challenged Stanislaus Zbyszko and Frank Gotch, stating that he would either beat them or pay the prize money and leave. The American Benjamin Roller was the first professional wrestler to accept his challenge. Gama pinned Roller twice in the bout, the first in 1 minute 40 seconds and the second in 9 minutes 10 seconds. He defeated him on the second day. He defeated 12 wrestlers to gain entry into the official tournament.
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