The "Great" Gama also known as Rustam-e-zaman Gama Pahelvan and Lion of the Punjab, born Ghulam Muhammad, in Amritsar, British raj, was a renowned Indian (later Pakistani) wrestler and a practitioner of Pehlwani wrestling, also known as Rustam-e-zaman Gama Pahelvan and Lion of the Punjab.
He was awarded the Indian version of the World Heavyweight title on October 15, 1910.
In 1922, during a visit to India, the Prince of Wales presented Gama with a silver Ceremonial mace.
He was awarded the prize and the John Bull Belt. Receiving this belt entitled Gama to be called Rustam-e-Zamana or World Champion.
After the partition of India, Gama opted to move to the newly created state of Pakistan where he lived the rest of his life with his brother, the Indian Champion Imam Bux and his nephews. Once Gama moved to Pakistan he decided to retire and never wrestled in Pakistan. After retiring, he helped to train his nephew Bhollu who held the Pakistani wrestling championship for almost 20 years.
He, along with Imam Bukhsh, visited National High School(name might have changed now) in Basavanagudi, Bangaluru,India, between 1935 and 1938, when K K Iyengar was the Principal, K Sampath Iyengar was English professor, and Givindappa was our physical culture teacher. A group photograph was taken at the time of visit, (which may be available at the present Institute). He used to say at that time that his brother (Imam Bukhsh) would fight fight before him, always. I still remember he defeated the Mysore State chasmpion, Munivenkatappa in no time.
He gave a demonstration at YMCA Bangaluru, for which I was also a volunteer.
Gama was born to the renowned wrestler Muhammad Aziz. They were of Kashmiri wrestling stock. At the age of five, his father died and Gama was taken care of by his maternal uncle Eida. Maharaja Bhawani Singh, the ruler of Datia (a princely state of the British Raj in Madhya Pradesh) patronized the young wrestler and his brother Imam Bukhsh.
To this date he is the only wrestler in history who remained undefeated his whole life. His career had spanned more than 50 years.
Accompanied by his younger brother Imam Bukhsh, Gama sailed to England to compete with the Western Wrestlers. In London, Gama issued a challenge that he could throw any three wrestlers in thirty minutes of any weight class.
The day finally came in 1928. Gama threw Zbyszko in only 42 seconds.
He was now known as the "Great wrestler" of the Indian subcontinent.
The Great Gama died in Lahore, Pakistan on 21 May. However, although it is verified he died on the 21st May, it is not clear exactly in which year he died. Some sources mention he died in 1953, other sources say 1960. i have seen his photo in his death bead in my younger days.(Year?)
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