The Great Gama: A Biography of India’s Legendary Wrestler

Gama Pehlwan


Gama Pehlwan, also known as The Great Gama, was a legendary wrestler from India who achieved worldwide recognition for his incredible strength and wrestling skills. Born in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1878, Gama started his wrestling training at the age of six. He became one of the most celebrated wrestlers of his time and a symbol of national pride in India. This biography provides a glimpse into the life and achievements of Gama Pehlwan, the wrestling icon of India.

Early Life and Wrestling Career:

Gama Pehlwan was born into a family of wrestlers. His father, Aziz Baksh, was a renowned wrestler, and he started training Gama at an early age. Gama’s training regime was intense, with a strict diet and a rigorous exercise regimen. His body developed impressive strength and physique, making him one of the strongest kids in the town.

Gama started participating in local wrestling tournaments when he was only ten years old. He quickly became known for his agility, strength, and tenacity in the ring. His first big break came when he defeated the then-reigning champion Raheem Baksh Sultaniwala in a match in Lahore.

Over the next few years, Gama established himself as one of the top wrestlers in India. He competed in tournaments throughout the country and gained a massive following of fans. Gama’s style of wrestling was unique, focused on grappling and submission moves, and he was renowned for his stamina and endurance that enabled him to outlast his opponents in long matches.

International Fame:

Gama Pehlwan achieved worldwide fame in 1910 when he travelled to London to compete in a wrestling tournament. The tournament was held at the London Olympia and featured some of the top wrestlers from around the world. Gama was the only wrestler from India and faced tough competition from wrestlers from Europe and the United States.

Gama’s first match was against the French wrestler, Dubois. The match lasted for 47 seconds, and Gama won by pinning Dubois to the ground. The next match was against the American, Benjamin Roller. It was a tough match, but Gama emerged victorious, winning by submission. Gama’s final match was against the reigning champion, Stanislaus Zbyszko. The match was a gruelling one and lasted for over an hour. In the end, Gama emerged as the winner, and he was declared the World Wrestling Champion.

Return to India:

Gama Pehlwan returned to India as a national hero. He was greeted with a hero’s welcome and celebrated throughout the country. Gama continued to compete in wrestling tournaments in India and abroad and remained unbeaten for the rest of his career.

In 1928, Gama Pehlwan retired from wrestling at the age of 50. He had won over 5000 matches and had never been defeated. Gama’s legacy lived on, and he became an inspiration to many wrestlers who followed in his footsteps.

Personal Life:

Gama Pehlwan was a simple man who lived a modest life. He was known for his humility and his dedication to his craft. Gama was a devout Muslim and followed his faith throughout his life. He was married and had four children.

Later Life and Legacy:

After his retirement, Gama Pehlwan lived a quiet life in Lahore, Pakistan. He continued to train wrestlers and remained a respected figure in the wrestling community. Gama passed away in 1963 at the age of 85.

Gama Pehlwan’s legacy lives on today, and he is remembered as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. His feats of strength and endurance continue to inspire wrestlers around the world, and his contribution to the sport of wrestling is immeasurable. Gama Pehlwan was posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in 1952.


In addition to his wrestling career, Gama Pehlwan was also known for his philanthropy. He was a generous man who donated to various causes and helped those in need. He also helped to establish several schools and hospitals in his hometown of Amritsar.


Gama Pehlwan was a legend in the world of wrestling and a national icon in India. His strength, skill, and dedication to his craft made him one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Gama’s legacy lives on, and his influence can be seen in the many wrestlers who have followed in his footsteps. He remains an inspiration to millions of people around the world and will always be remembered as a true champion.

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