Gama Pehlwan, also known as Ghulam Muhammad, was a renowned figure in the world of wrestling. Originally from India, the legend of Gama Pehlwan’s strength and resilience is well documented and highly admired. In the world of international wrestling, his name still holds great importance and reverence.
Among the many legends associated with Gama Pehelwan, one stands out. Stories narrate that Gama was known for his extraordinary wrestling training regimen. It’s believed that he would grapple with 40 wrestlers in one day. After defeating all of them, he would carry the last one around the wrestling arena in victory. And this wasn’t the extent of his dedication. He could do 5000 squats and 3000 pushups in a single day. Such astonishing feats always left people amazed, and so Gama became a key figure in the history of wrestling.
Gama’s impact on wrestling was not only felt on the wrestling mat, but it was also instrumental in popularizing the sport in India and Pakistan. Following his footsteps, many young wrestlers began to dream of the world stage. But, to say that he inspired just one generation would be undermining his influence. Despite passing away in 1960, his legacy still lives in the hearts of wrestling enthusiasts across the globe.
In the coming sections, we will explore the life and legacy of Gama Pehlwan in more detail.
Born in 1880 in Amritsar, India, Gama had wrestling running in his veins. His father was a wrestler as well, and Gama’s childhood was steeped in the sport’s traditions. Sadly, Gama lost his father at a young age. But because his family held onto the wrestling profession, he swiftly followed in his father’s footsteps.
Gama Pehlwan’s talent and relentless dedication won him many recognitions. He was proclaimed the “Champion of Indian Wrestling” at a young age of 19. Later on, he also earned the title of ‘World’s Heavyweight Championship’ in London.
Undoubtedly, Gama Pehlwan’s career was lit up with numerous victories. No opponent was too strong or too experienced for him. His unmatched strength, agility, and skills made him an unbeatable force. And this made him the youngest Indian wrestler to be rewarded with the Indian version of World Heavyweight Championship.
Impact on Wrestling:
Gama Pehlwan’s biggest contribution to wrestling is perhaps the increased interest towards the sport he instigated in India and Pakistan. His meteoric rise to fame played a vital role in putting these countries on the world wrestling map. His influence echoes, even today, in wrestling tournaments held across these nations and beyond.
Despite his fame and success, Gama was known to be a humble and approachable person. He continued to train and work as hard as he did in his early days. His work ethic and humble demeanor have inspired many, making him a true role model for all.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the life of this extraordinary man who was Gama Pehlwan.
Gama’s Wrestling Style:
Being a traditional Indian wrestler, Gama practiced Pehlwani style of wrestling. This included a series of maneuvers that are considered important in Indian wrestling to this day. Gama’s style emphasized strength, speed, and strategy, making it difficult for his competitors to predict or counter his moves.
Rise to Fame:
Gama’s rise to fame was no overnight success. His intense training and consistent effort were duly rewarded when he engaged in a match with then-world champion Stanislaus Zbyszko in 1910. Gama successfully defeated Zbyszko, assisting him in his ascend to worldwide fame.
Despite his natural talent, Gama’s wrestling prowess was primarily the result of an intense and rigorous training regimen. He adhered to a specialized diet and committed himself to physically grueling tasks. His daily routine included extensive strength training exercises and wrestling bouts. His heroic tales of strength and endurance added a mythical dimension to his national and international persona.
Gama Pehlwan was a strong advocate for a healthy lifestyle. He believed that the basics of good health were good food, exercise, and adequate rest. His training and diet advice are still relevant and followed by many wrestlers and bodybuilders today. Despite the evolution of the sport and training methods, his words still ring true to enthusiasts of wrestling and bodybuilding.
Gama’s wrestling career was filled with historic and memorable matches. His bouts with celebrated wrestlers crisscrossing continents showcased his skills and established his unstoppable might. His most famous matches included bouts with Stanislaus Zbyszko, Jesse Peterson among many others. Each match holds an extraordinary tale of strength ignited by persistent resolve.
Downfall and Later Years:
Despite the grandeur and fame, Gama’s later years were marked by financial difficulties. He spent his retirement in Pakistan, living a quiet life away from the limelight. Despite his struggles, Gama never turned his back on the sport he loved so dearly. His spirit remained unbroken symbolizing the true strength of a champion.
Homage and Tribute:
Today, Gama Pehlwan is remembered as the doyen of wrestling worldwide. His journey has been celebrated through different forms of media, including films and books. Gama’s life story continues to serve as a source of inspiration for countless people across the world. And, rightfully so, he is remembered as a beacon of strength, a symbol of unflinching resolve and a true legend of wrestling.
To end, it’s only fitting that Gama Pehlwan once said: “The sweat of hard work is not to be wiped off but worn with honour”. Indeed, his extraordinary life was a testament to these words. With his immense physical prowess, unflinching spirit and unyielding commitment to wrestling, Gama Pehlwan truly embodies the spirit of a champion. He might have completed his earthly journey, but his legend lives on inspiring generations of wrestling enthusiasts across the world. This is the magnificent story of Gama Pehlwan.