Gama Pahalwan | Fight, Career, Age, Biography, Net Worth

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Violeena Vargav
Date : 06-10-2022
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Gama Pahalwan's Biography

Gama Pahalwan’s full name was Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, but he was commonly known as Rustom-E-Hind. Gama Pahalwan’s ring name was The Great Gama. In the British Raj, he was a Pahalwani wrestler and strongman. He was the undisputed subcontinental wrestling champion at the turn of the 20th century.


Gama Pahalwans birthday is 22 May 1878. Gama Pahalwan’s birthplace is Jabbowal, Amritsar, British Raj. Gama Pahalwan died on 23 May 1960. Gama Pahalwan’s place of death is Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Gama Pahalwan’s age was 82 years at the time of his death. Gama Pahalwan’s religion was Islam. Gama Pahalwan’s zodiac sign was Gemini. Gama Pahalwan’s height was 1.73m or 5’8. Gama Pahalwan’s weight was 110kgs. Gama Pahalwan’s body measurements were 46 chest, 34 waist and 22 biceps.

On the 144th anniversary of his birth, Google created a doodle in honour of the legendary Indian wrestler Gama Pahalwan, also known as The Great Gama in the west. Gama Pahalwan, was the most renowned wrestler in India at the time because, in addition to his success on the international stage, he also gained the respect of the general public before passing away in 1960.

Gama Pahalwan, who was born in the Punjab Province of the British Raj in 1878 in the village of Jabbowal, Amritsar District, received a portion of the World Heavyweight Championship on October 15, 1910. He is regarded as one of the best wrestlers of all time since he went undefeated during the course of a more than 52-year career. Gama moved to Pakistan after British India was divided into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in August 1947. He spent the remainder of his life there before passing away in the city of Lahore on May 23, 1960.

Gama Pahalwan engaged in combat and triumphed in over 5,000 contests. Gama's training regimen was closely followed by Bruce Lee. After reading about Gama's routines and how he used them to develop his renown strength for wrestling, Lee soon integrated them into his own practise. Lee performed exercises like the cat stretch and the squat in his training. Hasli, a 100 kg training disc with a doughnut form that he used for pushups and squats, is now kept at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Museum in Patiala, India. A stone weighing 1200 kg is on display at the Baroda Museum in Sayajibaug as a reminder of the renowned wrestler's strength. Gama hoisted this stone on December 23, 1902, while visiting Baroda for a wrestling match. No matter how much time has passed, Gama Pahalwan continues to inspire countless wrestlers all around the world. Gama Pahalwan, commonly known as The Undefeated, is still unbeatable in every Indian subcontinent heart despite more than 50 years having gone.

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Gama Pahalwan's Family and Gama Pahalwan's Training

Gama Pahalwan's Training Tring

Gama Pahalwan’s father’s name was Muhammad Aziz Baksh. Gama Pahalwan was born into a wrestling-related Muslim family from Kashmir. Imam Baksh Pahalwan was another brother of Gama Pahalwan. His lineage had a reputation for producing excellent wrestlers. Gama lost his father, a well-known wrestler, when he was only six years old. Nun Pahalwan, a wrestler and his maternal grandfather, raised him following the death of his father. After Nun Pahalwan passed away, Gama was placed under the care of his wrestler uncle Ida, who taught him the fundamentals of the sport.

Gama Pahalwan earned recognition for the first time at the age of eleven in 1888 when he participated in a strongman competition in Jodhpur that involved numerous taxing activities like squats. More than 400 wrestlers participated in the competition, and Gama, who finished in the top 15, was chosen as the winner by the Maharaja of Jodhpur because of his youth. The Maharaja of Datia then took Gama to train with him. He only received instruction in wrestling from his Ustad in Akhada. He is illiterate overall.


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Gama Pahalwan’s Marriage


Wazir Begum

Gama Pahalwan married twice. Wazir Begum is one of Gama Pahalwan’s two wives. The name of the other wife is not known. Gama Pahalwan had Nine children in total, five sons and four daughters. Nawaz Sharif's wife, Kalsoon Nawaz, is his granddaughter. The spouse of Jhara Pahalwan is Saira Bano, the sister of Kalsoom Nawaz and the granddaughter of Gama Pahalwan.


Gama Pahalwan’s Diet and Exercise

Gama Pahalwan’s Diet and Exercise Tring

Six desi chickens, two gallons (7.5 litres) of milk, and more than a pound of ground almond paste mixed into a tonic beverage were all part of Gama Pahalwan's diet.

In the court, Gama Pahalwan used to wrestle with forty of his fellow wrestlers. Gama also used to perform 5000 squats and 3000 push ups each day. Gama Pahalwan used to squat while using a 95-kg training disc in the shape of a doughnut.


Gama Pahalwan’s Career


Early Career

Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, the middle-aged Indian wrestling champion at the time, was challenged by 17-year-old Gama Pahalwan in 1895. He was another ethnic Kashmiri wrestler from Gujranwala, Punjab Province, Colonial India (now in Pakistan).

Gama Pahalwan, who stands 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 metres) tall, was predicted to lose to Raheem, who is approximately 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall and has a very remarkable win-loss record. The only disadvantage Raheem had was that he was older than Gama and that his career was about to come to an end. After hours of action, the match was declared a draw. Gama played defense in the first fight but switched to offense in the second. Despite suffering from significant bleeding from his nose and ears, he was still able to harm Raheem Bakhsh severely.

Gama Pahalwan's career took a turn when he competed against Raheem. After that, he was considered the next candidate for the Indian wrestling championship, or Rustam-e-Hind. 

Except for Raheem, Gama Pahalwan had defeated every notable Indian wrestler he had faced by 1910. He turned his attention now to the rest of the world. Gama traveled to England with the help of his younger brother Imam Bakhsh to compete against Western wrestlers, but due to his shorter stature, he was denied immediate admittance.


London Tournaments

Gama Pahalwan made a challenge in London, saying that he would throw any three wrestlers in any weight class within 30 minutes. The wrestlers and their promoter R. B. Benjamin, however, viewed this announcement as a ruse. No one accepted the challenge for a very long time. Gama issued another challenge to a select group of heavyweight wrestlers to break the ice. He challenged Frank Gotch and Stanislaus Zbyszko, stating that he would either defeat them or pay them the prize money and leave.

Benjamin Roller, an American, was the first professional wrestler to accept his challenge. Gama won the match by pinning Roller twice, first in 1 minute and 40 seconds and the other in 9 minutes and 10 seconds. He defeated 12 wrestlers on the second day to qualify for the actual tournament.


Fighting the World Champion

On September 10, 1910, Gama Pahalwan was scheduled to face Stanislaus Zbyszko, the reigning world champion. At the time, Zbyszko was regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the world. He would later face the formidable task of India's feared Great Gama, an unbeaten champion who had failed to persuade Frank Gotch to participate in a match.

Thus, on September 10, 1910, in London, Zbyszko competed in the John Bull World Championships finals against the Great Gama. The John Bull Belt and £250 in prize money were awarded for the contest. Zbyszko was knocked out in just a minute and stayed there for the entire two hours and 35 minutes of the game. Zbyszko briefly attempted to stand up a few times, but he always fell back to his old position. After nearly three hours of fighting, Zbyszko wrestled the Indian legend to a draw by employing this defensive tactic of gripping the mat to counteract Great Gama's best skills, albeit Zbyszko's lack of determination infuriated many of the spectators.

The two men were scheduled to square off once more on September 17, 1910, and Zbyszko ended up being one of the few wrestlers to ever fight the Great Gama without losing. Zbyszko didn't show up on that particular date, so Gama was declared the winner automatically. The John Bull Belt and the prize were given to him. Gama had the right to use the title Rustam-e-Zamana or World Champion after receiving this belt, but not the lineal title because he hadn't beaten Zbyszko in the ring.


England Tour

The most renowned grapplers in the world, including Doc Benjamin Roller of the United States, Maurice Deriaz of Switzerland, Johann Lemm (the European Champion) of Switzerland, and Jesse Peterson (the World Champion) of Sweden, were defeated by Gama Pahalwan during this tour. Gama threw Doc 13 times throughout the 15-minute duel versus Roller. Gama then issued a challenge to the other contenders for the title of World Champion, including Taro Miyake of Japan, George Hackenschmidt of Russia, and Frank Gotch of the United States. However, each of them turned down Gama's invitation to enter the ring and compete against him.

Gama Pahalwan once offered to wrestle twenty English wrestlers one after another in order to engage in some sort of tournament. No one accepted his challenge when he declared that he would defeat them all or hand away prizes.


Re-encounter with Raheem Baksh Sultani Wala

Gama Pahalwan encountered Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala in Allahabad soon after arriving from England. Gama ultimately prevailed in this match, which put an end to the lengthy conflict between the two idols of Indian wrestling at the time, earning him the title of Rustam-e-Hind or the lineal Champion of India. Later in life, when asked who was his most formidable foe, Gama responded, Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala.


Later Years of Gama Pahalwan's Career

Gama defeated Pandit Biddu, one of India's top wrestlers at the time (1916), after defeating Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala. Gama received a silver mace from the Prince of Wales in 1922 while he was on a tour to India.

It wasn't until 1927 that it was revealed that Gama Pahalwan and Zbyszko would square off once more. In January 1928, they got together in Patiala. Gama appeared much slimmer than normal, while Zbyszko showed a powerful build of physique and muscle before the fight. The Indian version of the lineal World Wrestling Championship was won by him after he quickly and easily defeated the former and won the match in under a minute. Zbyszko lauded him and referred to him as a tiger after the fight.

At the age of 48, he was now referred to as India's Great Wrestler. Gama Pahalwan beat Jesse Petersen in February 1929 after defeating Zbyszko. The fight was over in about 1.5 minutes. Gama fought in this match for the final time in his career.


Gama Pahalwan's Final Years

Gama Pahalwan's Final Years Tring

Gama Pahalwan relocated to Pakistan following the 1947 Partition of India. Gama, a Muslim, rescued hundreds of Hindus from mobs in Lahore during the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out at the time of division. Gama didn't stop fighting until 1952, but he had no luck finding replacements. He allegedly continued to wrestle up until 1955, according to certain other reports. He mentored his nephew Bholu Pahalwan, who held the Pakistani wrestling championship for nearly 20 years, after he retired.
Gama Pahalwan's final days were challenging because he had four daughters and five boys, all of the boys passed away at a young age. Gama was devastated and temporarily mute when his youngest son Jalaluddin passed away in 1945 at the age of just thirteen. At the time of partition, he immigrated to Pakistan and tried his hand at a number of unsuccessful businesses, including the Gama Transport Service, a bus company in Karachi. The government gave Gama a piece of land and a monthly stipend, and he paid for his own healthcare until he passed away. On May 23, 1960, he passed away in Lahore, Pakistan, following a period of sickness.


Gama Pahalwan's Championships and Achievements

  • International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
  • George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
  • Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum


Gama Pahalwan's Controversies


Gama Pahalwan During Partition of India

Gama Pehalwan was born in Amritsar in 1878, and he made his home there. But in the early part of 1947, he moved to Lahore. Gama relocated to Lahore's Mohni Road. The Hindu majority of the colony he had moved into was ecstatic to have the famous wrestler as a neighbour. Gama assured the Hindu residents of his colony that he would defend them with his life since he had sensed what was coming.

Gama Pahalwan didn't have to wait long because, by April or May of 1947, riots had broken out all over the nation. Gama stood in front of the throng as they entered his colony with a handful of his fellow wrestlers. Gama remained silent because, like the majority of the wrestlers, he had difficulty speaking. Gama slapped the leading rowdy, who was carrying axes and swords, sending him flying as he approached. The rest simply fled.

Gama Pahalwan realized his colony wasn't safe as the unrest worsened and that he wouldn't be able to keep them safe for much longer. He, therefore, provided them with a week's worth of food and accompanied them to the border. Gama paid for everything out of his own cash and said goodbye to his neighbours.


Gama Pahalwan’s Death Mystery

Several accounts claim that Gama Pahalwan struggled to pay for the necessary medical care in the days before his passing since he had a chronic illness. It was stated that his condition had gotten worse and that he had previously struggled with asthma and cardiac problems. He had to sell his medals at the last minute due to his precarious financial circumstances.

The government provided Gama Pahalwan with property, a monthly stipend, and financial support for his medical costs up until the time of his passing. All of this was done to help him. In the end, he passed away in 1960 at the age of 82.


Gama Pahalwan's Interesting Facts

  • Gama Pahalwan was a non-smoker and did not drink alcohol.
  • Gama Pahalwan’s full name is Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt
  • Google released their doodle in honour of Gama Pahalwan's 144th birthday.
  • Gama Pahalwan was born to an Indian Punjabi family of Kashmiri descent.
  • Gama Pahalwan started playing wrestling matches from the age of 10.
  • Gama Pahalwan was renowned for maintaining an unbeaten record up to his passing.
  • The most well-known tale of Gama Pahalwan involves him lifting a stone weighing 1200 kg and carrying it a distance.
  • Gama Pahalwan is credited for inspiring Bruce Lee. He also had a strong affection for the Indian wrestler. He also adopted Gama's workout strategies into his own.


Frequently Asked Questions

Gama Pahalwan was a famous Indian wrestler who wrestled during the British Raj.
Gama Pahalwan’s age was 82 years at the time of his death.
Gama Pahalwan's zodiac sign is Gemini.
Gama Pahalwan died at Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.
Gama Pahalwan’s mother’s name is not known.
Gama Pahalwan did not receive any formal education.
Gama Pahalwan had fought more than 5000 fights.
Yes, Gama Pahalwan had 4 daughters and 5 sons.
No, Gama Pahalwan was not a vegetarian.
Gama Pahalwan’s birthday was on 22 May 1878.
Gama Pahalwan died on 23 May 1960.
Gama Pahalwan’s birthplace is Jabbowal, Amritsar, India.
Gama Pahalwan’s father’s name was Muhammad Aziz Baksh.
Gama Pahalwan’s brother’s name was Imam Baksh Pahalwan.
Yes, Gama Pahalwan was married twice.
Gama Pahalwan’s height is 1.73m or 5’8.
Gama Pahalwan’s religion was Islam.
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