The Great Gama, also known as Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, would have turned 83 today.
He is widely considered to be the greatest wrestler of all time and the greatest of India. Gama, who was born on this day (May 22) in 1878, went unbeaten throughout a 50-year wrestling career.
His hegemony didn’t just extend to India. The Great Gama took his wrestling act across the Atlantic, touring England and the United States, and raising the profile of Indian athletes and culture in the process.
After defeating Europe’s greatest wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko in less than a minute, he was crowned the Rustam-e-Zamana, or World Champion.
Who was the Great Gama?
Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, better known as Gama, was born on May 22, 1878, into a family of wrestlers in Kashmir.
His hometown was Jabbowal, a village in the Amritsar region of Punjab in the days when British rule extended to all of India.
Gama’s family owned one of the region’s many akhadas, or traditional wrestling rings, thus he was exposed to strength training and wrestling from an early age. Yet he was unique in his own right.
His participation in a strongman competition at Jodhpur, Rajasthan in 1888 is where his many amazing accomplishments were first documented.
Over 400 wrestlers and strongmen competed, including several well-known stars, but 10-year-old Gama stole the show.
The Great Gama Won the Rustam-e-Hind Champions of India
After defeating Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, the first champion of India, the Great Gama also took home the title of Rustam-e-Hind (champions of India).
Gama wrestled for 50 years, never losing a match, before calling it quits in 1955. Having fled India after partition, he eventually settled in Lahore, Pakistan.
In his later years, he battled heart disease and asthma. On May 23, 1960, at the age of 82, the Great Gama died away.
Did Gama Pehalwan Lift 1200 kg Stone?
True, in 1902 Gama Pehalwan accomplished the remarkable feat of moving a 1,200-kilogram stone from the grounds of Nazarbaug Palace, located not far from Mandvi.
Gama, known as “The Great,” was a pehlwani wrestler from British India and a strongman who became known as the undisputed world champion of wrestling in the early 20th century.
On May 22, 1878, in Jabbowal Village, Amritsar district, Punjab Province, British India, Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt was born. He is better known by his ring name, The Great Gama.
Legendary wrestler the Great Gama came from a dynasty of Muslim wrestlers in Kashmir. A man named Muhammad Aziz Baksh was his father.
As the youngest of the remaining 15 competitors, he was declared the victor of a strongman competition in Jodhpur in 1888, when he was just 10 years old.