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.
Biography of The Great Gama
Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt/ The Great Gama or Rustam-e-Hind
Died on 23rd May 1960 (aged 82
Date of Birth
22 May 1878
5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
World Heavyweight Championship on 15th October 1910, a silver mace by the Prince of Wales during his visit to India in 1922
Muhammad Aziz Baksh
5 sons 4 daughters
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.