How Did Gama Pehalwan Die? The Untold Story of the Undefeated Wrestling Legend

Gama Pehalwan, also known as The Great Gama, Rustam-e-Hind, and Rustam-e-Zamana, was a legendary wrestler and strongman from India. He was born in 1878 in Amritsar, Punjab, and became a world champion in 1910. He remained undefeated in his career spanning more than 50 years, and is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. But how did he die? What was the cause of his death? And what legacy did he leave behind? In this article, we will explore the life and death of Gama Pehalwan, and reveal some facts that you may not know about him.

Early Life and Training

Gama Pehalwan was born into a Kashmiri family of wrestlers in Jabbowal village, Amritsar. His father, Muhammad Aziz Baksh, was also a prominent wrestler, but he died when Gama was only six years old. Gama was then raised by his maternal grandfather, Nun Pahalwan, who was also a wrestler. After Nun’s death, Gama was trained by his uncle, Ida Pahalwan, who gave him his first lessons in wrestling.

Gama showed an exceptional talent for wrestling from a young age. When he was 10 years old, he entered a strongman competition held in Jodhpur, where he impressed the Maharaja of Jodhpur with his performance. The Maharaja declared him the winner due to his young age, and gave him a cash prize and a silver mace. Later, Gama was taken under the patronage of the Maharaja of Datia, who provided him with further training and facilities.

Gama’s training regimen was rigorous and intense. He used to wrestle with 40 of his fellow wrestlers in the court every day. He also performed 5000 squats and 3000 push-ups daily. His diet consisted of milk, chicken, dry fruits, and almond paste. He also lifted heavy stones as part of his strength training. One such stone weighed over 1200 kilograms, and is now kept at the Baroda Museum.

Wrestling Career and Achievements

Gama Pehalwan made his debut in wrestling at the age of 17, when he challenged Raheem Bakhsh Sultani Wala, the then Indian Wrestling Champion. The match ended in a draw after three hours of grappling. Gama then went on to defeat many other renowned wrestlers in India, such as Ahmed Bakhsh Phullwan (the Lion of Punjab), Kikkar Singh (the Tiger of Punjab), and Imam Bakhsh (his own brother).

In 1909, Gama travelled to England to participate in the John Bull World Championship. He issued an open challenge to any wrestler in the world to face him. However, none of the European or American wrestlers accepted his challenge, except for Stanislaus Zbyszko, a Polish wrestler who was considered unbeatable at that time. The match between Gama and Zbyszko took place on September 10th, 1910, at the Shepherd’s Bush Stadium in London. Gama dominated the match from the start, and threw Zbyszko to the ground several times. Zbyszko could not escape from Gama’s grip, and resorted to defensive tactics to avoid being pinned. The match lasted for two hours before it was stopped due to darkness. The referee declared it a draw, but most observers agreed that Gama had won the match.

Gama was awarded a version of the World Heavyweight Championship belt by Sir William Jardine on October 15th, 1910. He also received a diamond-studded belt from George V, the King of England. Gama became an international sensation after this victory, and was hailed as the greatest wrestler in the world.

Gama returned to India in 1911, where he continued to defend his title against various challengers. He also visited other countries such as France, Germany, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Russia to demonstrate his wrestling skills. He defeated many famous wrestlers in these countries, such as Maurice Deriaz (the French Champion), Benjamin Roller (the American Champion), Johann Lemm (the Swiss Champion), Jesse Petersen (the Danish Champion), and Ali Riza (the Turkish Champion).

In 1922, Gama faced Zbyszko again in a rematch at Patiala Stadium in India. This time, there was no doubt about the outcome. Gama pinned Zbyszko within three minutes of the match, and proved his superiority once again.

Gama’s last official match was in 1940 against another Indian wrestler named Goonga Pahalwan. Gama was 62 years old at that time, but he still managed to defeat Goonga in a one-sided contest.

Gama retired from wrestling in 1947, after the partition of India. He migrated to Pakistan, where he settled in Lahore. He was honored by the Pakistani government for his achievements, and received a monthly pension from them.

Cause of Death and Legacy

Gama Pehalwan suffered from chronic heart disease and asthma in his later years. He struggled to pay for his medical expenses, and received financial assistance from G.D. Birla, a wealthy businessman and wrestling fan. He died on May 23rd, 1960, at the age of 82, in Lahore.

Gama Pehalwan is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and a national hero of India and Pakistan. He is remembered for his unparalleled strength, skill, stamina, and spirit. He inspired many other wrestlers and athletes, such as Bruce Lee, Dara Singh, Primo Carnera, and Muhammad Ali. He was also related to Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, the wife of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Gama Pehalwan’s legacy lives on in the form of various awards, statues, books, films, and documentaries that celebrate his life and achievements. He is also honored by various wrestling federations and organizations around the world. He is truly a legend of wrestling, and a symbol of pride and glory for both India and Pakistan.

Doms Desk

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