Google paid tribute to India’s yesteryear star wrestler Gama Pehlwan, aka ‘The Great Gama’, with a doodle on his 144th birth anniversary.
Born in Amritsar in 1878, Gama Pehlwan was the most revered name among Indian wrestlers during his era as he didn’t just achieve international success but also earned the masses’ respect through his actions off the mat before his death in 1960.
Born as Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, Gama became an overnight sensation in the county when he held Rustam-e-Hind (Indian champion) Raheem Baksh Sultaniwala for a draw.
Gama fought an even battle with the experienced wrestler despite the odds being stacked against him. After all, a wrestler just 5’7” in height wasn’t deemed a contender against a seven-foot-tall Sultaniwala.
Gama’s sturdiness during the bout earned him recognition and was soon touted as the successor to Sultaniwala’s Rustam-e-Hind title.
Known to be undefeated throughout his 52-year-old wrestling career with rivals barely lasting less than a minute in front of him, Gama’s reputation soon called for invitations from international events as well.
Gama remained undefeated throughout his career stretching over half a decade and ended with his retirement at the age of 74.
Gama’s granddaughter Kulsoom Nawaz (daughter of Hafiz Butt) was Pakistan’s first lady on three occasions as she married the country’s former PM Nawaz Sharif in 1971.
Gama, known to be tough and muscular, was famous for his strict diet and training regimes. He was purportedly known for doing five thousand squats a day and three thousand pushups.
Back in 1902, Gama, who was in his 20s and weighed around 100kgs, also achieved the impeccable feat of lifting a 1200kg rock at the Baroda Museum in Sayajibaug ahead of a competition in the city.