Who was Gama Pehalwan?
Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt (22 May 1878 – 23 May 1960), commonly known as Rustam-e-Hind and by the ring name The Great Gama, was a pehlwani wrestler in British India and a strongman. In the early 20th century, he was an undefeated wrestling champion of the world.
Born to a Kashmir Muslim family in the village of Jabbowal, Amritsar District in the Punjab Province of British India in 1878, Baksh was awarded a version of the World Heavyweight Championship on 15 October 1910. Undefeated in a career spanning more than 52 years, he is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. After the partition of British India, into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan in August 1947, Gama opted for Pakistan, where he died in Lahore on May 23, 1960.
Gama Pehalwan’s Training
Gama was very dedicated about his workouts, it was his great dedicated that led him to become one of the greatest wrestlers in the worldl. Gama’s daily training consisted of grappling with forty of his fellow wrestlers in the akhada (court).
He did a minimum of 5000 baithaks (squats) and 3000 dands (pushups) in a day and even sometimes more within 30 to 45 minutes each by wearing a doughnut-shaped wrestling apparatus called a hasli of one quintal
Career (Highlights)- Championships and Accomplishments
First encounter with Raheem Bakhsh Sultaniwala
Tournament in London
Match with Stanislaus Zbyszko
Bouts against American and European champions
Final encounter with Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala
Rematch with Zbyszko
Championships & Accomplishments
- International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame – Class of 2021
- George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame – Class of 2007
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum – Class of 2015
After the partition of India in 1947, Gama moved to Pakistan. Gama did not retire until 1952, he failed to find any other opponents. Some other sources say he wrestled until 1955. After his retirement, he trained his nephew Bholu Pahalwan, who held the Pakistani wrestling championship for almost 20 years.
Gama Pehalwan’s Legacy Continues..
Gama fought and won over five thousand matches. Bruce Lee was an avid follower of Gama’s training routine. Lee read articles about Gama and how he employed his exercises to build his legendary strength for wrestling, and Lee quickly incorporated them into his own routine. The training routines Lee used included “the cat stretch”, and “the squat” (known as “baithak”, and also known as the “deep-knee bend.”).
After defeating Zbyszko, Gama beat Jesse Petersen in February 1929. The bout lasted only one and a half minutes. This was the last bout that Gama fought during his career.
Google has done a favour by honouring The Great Gama Pehalwan in Doodle. We must not forget our legends.