(Last Updated on : 07/01/2011)
Gama pehalwan brought the Indian style of wrestling to international sports and lend it credentials. He had tricks of the trade running in his blood. Gama wrestled for many years and always emerged victorious. One of his greatest quality was that he had not only a sense of self respect but was very friendly in nature. In 1910, a wrestling match was organized for the award of the title "Rustam-e-Hind", Gama defeated all the wrestlers and earned the title. "Rustam-e-Hind. Indian wrestling owes its popularity to Gama.
The "Great" Gama born Ghulam Muhammad, in Amritsar, British India on 1882. He was born to the renowned wrestler Muhammad Aziz. At the age of 5 when his father died Gama was taken care of by his maternal uncle Eida. He died in 1960.
Gama was first noticed at the age of ten when he entered a strongman competition. It included many exhausting exercises, including Hindu squats, held in Jodhpur . The contest was attended by more than four hundred wrestlers and young Gama was among the last remaining fifteen wrestlers. At that point the Maharaja of Jodhpur announced Gama as the winner due to his remarkable show of enormous stamina and dedication among the many matured wrestlers. Maharaja Bhawani Singh, the ruler of Datia, a princely state of Madhya Pradesh during the British Raj patronized the young wrestler and his brother Imam Bukhsh. After partition of British India, Gama move to Pakistan in 1947. he died in Lahore,Pakistan on 22nd of May 1960.
At the age of 19 when he challenged, then Wrestling Champion of India Raheem Baksh Sultani Wala, fame came to Gama. The contest with Raheem was the turning point in Gama's career. He was awarded the Indian version of the World Heavyweight title on October 15, 1910. For the contest he sailed to England to compete with the western wrestlers. The American Benjamin Roller was the first professional wrestler to take his challenge. Stanislaus Zbyszko was the next to accept Gama's challenge. Within a minute, Zbyszko was taken down and remained 2 hours and 35 minutes in the position. They were set to face each other again and Zbyszko failed to show up and Gama was announced the winner by default. He was awarded the John Bull Belt. To this date he is the only wrestler in history who remained undefeated his whole life.
Gama faced Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala in Allahabad, shortly after his return from England. He won the title of Rustam-e-Hind or Champion of India after beating Raheem. After beating Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, Gama beat Pandit Biddu, one of the best wrestlers in India of that time, in 1916. In 1922, during a visit to India, the Prince of Wales presented Gama with a silver mace.
As there was no opponent until, in 1927 it was announced that Gama and Zbyszko would face each other. Gama threw Zbyszko in only 42 seconds. In February 1929 Gama beat Jesse Petersen.
He continued to put out challenges even by the mid 1940's but with an agreement, that if anybody wants to wrestle with Gama he had to wrestle and defeat Imam (his brother) first. He did not retire untill 1955.
In the video game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Gama appears as the mentor of Joachim Valentine, one of the characters who joins the player's party. In the Street Fighter EX series, Darun Misteris obviously based on Gama. The name Gama continues to appear in Bollywood and Indian television serials as a symbol of strength, often used humorously. Pro wrestler Gadowar Singh Sahota used the stage name of Great Gama during his pro wrestling career.