HomeAthletesThe Great GAMA Wrestler: The Champion Lost in History – KreedOn
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The Great GAMA Wrestler: The Champion Lost in History – KreedOn

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Who Is The Great Gama?

Ghulam Muhammad also known as The Great GAMA or GAMA Pehalwan is the ultimate champion. He was born in Amritsar in pre-independence rural India in 1878. Standing at just 5 feet 7 inches, The Great GAMA lived a 5-decade-long undisputed career. He made his athletic debut in 1888, Strongman Competition in Jodhpur when he was just 10 YEARS OLD! GAMA finished among the top 15 out of the 400 professional wrestlers astonishing everyone. He was bestowed with many titles such as -Gama Pehalwan, Rustam-e-Hind, The Undefeated, Tiger, etc.

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Biography of The Great Gama

Name Gama Singh (The Great Gama)
Full Name Ghulam Muhammad Baksh Butt
Nickname The Great Gama
Birth Date May 22, 1878
Birthplace Amritsar, Punjab, British India
Height Approximately 6 feet (1.83 meters)
Weight Around 260 pounds (118 kilograms)
Wrestling Style Pehlwani/Kushti
Achievements – Undefeated in his entire career
  – Held the Rustam-e-Hind title for
  50 years without a defeat
  – Defeated numerous opponents from
  various countries
Notable Wins – Raheem Bakhsh Sultani (Ghulam
  Abbas), the reigning champion
  – A match against Stanislaus
  Zbyszko, former world champion
Legacy Regarded as one of the greatest
  wrestlers in the history of Kushti
  and an Indian sporting legend
  Known for his extraordinary
  strength and impeccable technique
  His legacy continues to inspire
  generations of wrestlers
Passed Away May 23, 1960

 

the great gama


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Early life

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.

Great GAMA featured on KreedOn
Courtesy: Tumblr

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.

Gama and Bruce Lee connection

Where the fame of Bruce Lee is unparalleled, little did we know that his training was inspired by GAMA’s routine. Bruce Lee adopted ‘The Cat Stretch’ from the great GAMA which is a push-up based on yoga. Hard work and dedication were the keys to pehalwan’s success.


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The Great Gama Diet and Training

His training included 5000 squats and 3000 push-ups every day. All this workout built up quite an appetite, he ate 6 desi chicken, drank 10 liters of milk, half a liter of lassi, six pounds of butter, three buckets of fruit chaat along with fruit juices, and a special tonic made of almonds added to his strength.

the great gama

Achievements of The Great Gama

  • 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.

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Interesting Facts about the Great Gama

  • The Gama pahalwan lost his father at the age of 6, he was brought up by his maternal uncle and wrestler Nun Pahalwan.
  • Once the pahalwan lifted a stone weighing 100 kg while he was on a visit to Baroda to attend a wrestling tournament. The stone is still kept in the Baroda Museum.

Remenbering Life of the Pahalwan

Gama Pehalwan later years

GAMA lived an illustrious career for almost 50 years and to date, he is the only wrestler in the world who was never defeated by anyone. Our country has produced many such wrestlers but is forgotten with time. One such name is ‘K D Jadhav’  who has an inspiring story of his own.

He was given land and a monthly pension by the government and supported his medical expenses until his death. He died in Lahore, Pakistan on 23 May 1960 after a period of illness.

Kulsoom Nawaz, Pakistan’s first lady and wife of Nawaz Sharif who remained the Prime Minister of Pakistan, was the granddaughter of The Great Gama.


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FAQs

Who was Gama Singh, and why was he called “The Great Gama”?

Gama Singh, also known as “The Great Gama,” was a renowned wrestler from Punjab, India. He earned the title “The Great Gama” due to his exceptional skills and undefeated record in his wrestling career.

What style of wrestling did Gama Singh practice?

Gama Singh practiced Pehlwani, also known as Kushti, a traditional form of Indian wrestling that emphasizes strength, technique, and discipline.

Did Gama Singh ever face a formidable opponent?

Gama Singh faced and defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko, a former world champion wrestler, in a memorable match.

How is Gama Singh’s legacy remembered?

Gama Singh is regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in Kushti’s history and is considered an Indian sporting legend. His extraordinary strength and technique continue to inspire generations of wrestlers.

What impact did Gama Singh have on the wrestling community in India?

Gama Singh’s legacy left a lasting impact on the wrestling community in India. He became a symbol of strength, determination, and national pride, motivating many aspiring wrestlers to follow in his footsteps.

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