The latest Google Doodle honours the undefeated Indian wrestler Gama Pehlwan, whose real name is Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt and is also known as ‘The Great Gama’ and ‘Rustam-e-Hind’ (Indian Wrestling Champion), on his 144th birthday.
Gama Pehlwan was one of the most renowned wrestlers of pre-independent India and an undefeated wrestling champion of the world in the early 20th century.
The legendary wrestler was born in Jabbowal village in the Amritsar District of colonial India’s Punjab Province in 1878. According to many legends and stories, Gama Pehlwan saved the lives of many Hindus during the partition. He went on to live out his days in newly-created Pakistan’s Lahore, until his death on May 23, 1960.
Gama Pehlwan was undefeated in a career that spanned more than 52 years and was awarded a version of the World Heavyweight Championship on 15 October 1910. He is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
The Great Gama came into prominence at age 10 in 1888, at a strongman competition in Jodhpur. Amidst a 400-strong crowd, Gama Pehlwan, as he would be later known, won admiration from the Maharaja of Jodhpur, who eventually named him the winner due to his young age.
Gama Pehlwan’s great show of strength came in 1902 when he lifted a 1,200-kg stone. The stone is now kept at the Baroda Museum.
if some reports are to be believed, Gama’s training at one point consisted of as many as 5000 squats and 3000 pushups per day.
In the Google Doodle, which is created by artist Vrinda Zaveri, Gama Pehlwan can be seen holding a silver mace, which was presented to him by The Prince of Wales, during his visit to India, in honour of his strength.
“Gama’s legacy continues to inspire modern-day fighters. Even Bruce Lee is a known admirer and incorporates aspects of Gama’s conditioning into his own training routine!”
“Traditional wrestling in North India started to develop around the early 1900s. Lower class and working class migrants would compete in royal gymnasiums and gained national recognition when lavish tournaments were won. During these tournaments, spectators admired the wrestlers’ physiques and were inspired by their disciplined lifestyle,” Google explained.