Today’s Google Doodle honours the birth anniversary of Gama Pehalwan, one of India’s most famous wrestlers before independence. In addition to his ring name The Great Gama, he was also known as Rustam-e-Hind, an undefeated wrestling world champion. According to Google, Bruce Lee is a noted admirer of Gama’s conditioning and incorporates aspects of it into his own training routine.
Gama was born in 1878 in Amritsar as Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt to a wrestling family. In 1910, he won the World Heavyweight Title. At the age of ten, he did 500 lunges (bethaks) and 500 push-ups, according to Google. Gama became famous at a young age after winning a lunge contest in which over 400 wrestlers from over the subcontinent competed.
In 1902, Gama achieved one of his most notable feats when he lifted a 1,200-kg stone. A report says that the stone is now kept at the Baroda Museum. Raheem Bakhsh Sultaniwala, the then-World Champion, who stood nearly seven feet in front of a 5 feet 8 inch Gama, was one of his most formidable opponents. The first three meetings between the two ended in a tie, with Gama winning the fourth.
During his tour to India, the Prince of Wales presented Gama with a silver mace to honour his bravery. Gama died in 1960 in Lahore, where he spent his final days. According to Google, today’s doodle honours Gama Pehalwan’s accomplishments in the ring as well as the impact and representation he gave to Indian culture. Vrinda Zaveri is the artist that created it.