‘Great Gama’ – Have you heard this name before? If you are someone who likes to watch wrestling matches or someone who has a keen interest in sports, you must know who this legendary man is. ‘Great Gama’ (ring name) whose original name is Ghulam Mohammad Baksh, was the greatest wrestlers of all times during the British Raj. Let’s know a bit more about this man who has brought so much pride to our country.
Born In A Wrestler’s Family
Ghulam Mohammad was born in an ethnic Kashmiri Muslim family in Punjab region of India. Ghulam’s family is also believed to be originally Brahmins who converted to Islam during Muslim invasion of Kashmir. His father Aziz Baksh was also a wrestler. The family was known to produce world-class wrestlers. After his father died, Maharaja of Datia is known to take charge of his training.
The Diet And Exercise Regime
1.5 pound of crushed almond paste with 2 gallons of milk per day along with seasonal fruit juice and six chickens was believed to be his basic diet. Gama is also known to do 3000 push ups and 5000 squats daily. He followed major discipline in his training and diet.
Can You Lift A Rock Weighing 1200 Kg?
Can you even imagine doing that in your wildest dreams? But that’s what the Great Gama did when he was in his 20’s. The legend has it that on a casual visit to Baroda, Gama had lifted a stone weighing 1200 kg and carried it for some distance as a show of strength, as Maharaj Sayajrao (Maharaja of Baroda) was an avid sports lover. The stone is now kept at the museum of Baroda. It’s said that the museum authorities found it difficult to move the stone even with the help of 25 people. They ultimately had to use a hydraulic machine to move the stone.
First Major Encounter And His Fame
At the age of 17, in 1895, Gama had his first major bout when he challenged the wrestling champion Rahim Baksh Sultaniwala. Rahim was a middle-aged man who had a height of about 7 feet while Gama was 5’7’’. The match is said to have gone for hours and resulted in a draw. From them on The Great Gama continued getting more famous.
The Winning Streak Of The Undefeated
There is a reason why he is called the undefeated. Gama started winning when he was just 10 yrs. Old. From then, defeating every wrestler who challenged him, he also defeated the prominent Indian wrestlers. Stanislaus Zbyszko, Frank Gotch, and Benjamin Roller are some of the world wrestlers who were defeated by Gama.
Bruce Lee’s Inspiration
Now we all know Bruce, isn’t it? Bruce Lee is said to be an avid lover and follower of Gama. He read articles about Gama’s training routine and exercising techniques and incorporated them in his techniques.
Moving To Pakistan
After the partition, Gama went to Lahore, Pakistan to settle down. He lived in Mohini Road where also a Hindu community lived. He stayed in Pakistan for the rest of his life.
The One with a Golden Heart
After the partition, while he was staying in Lahore, he is said to save several Hindu people who lived at the same locality where he lived. When the mobs came to attack the Hindus, Gama along with other wrestlers fought with them to protect the Hindu community. He also helped them reach the border, gave them food so that they can reach India safely.
The Struggles He Faced
Despite being a World champion, Gama struggled with health and finance during his last days. He suffered from heart and asthma-related problems and he could not afford the treatment required for the same. G.D Birla, the famous industrialist is known to donate to him rupees 2000 after knowing the reality. The Pakistan Government also increased his pension and lent their support to finance his medical expenses until his death. Great Gama left us on 23rd May 1960 at the age of 82, after a prolonged illness.
An exercise disk of the shape of a doughnut which was used by Gama for squats is kept as a memory at the National Institute of sports museum at Patiala. Great Gama will always be in our hearts as an inspiration.