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Biddo Brahmin

School: Nurewala
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: 238 pounds

Born in 1872, Biddo’s interest in Pahelwani began as a child growing up in Gujranwala, a city renowned for producing champion wrestlers. At the age of eight, he shifted to Lahore, a metropolis teeming with akharas and budding pahelwans. Having learnt diligently under his ustad, Misar Gandesha, he was granted permission to wrestle publicly.

He quickly rose in stature by defeating respected wrestlers like Jalo Mashki, Partapa, Channan Qasai, Karim Baksh of Sialkot, and Khalifa Ghora (the “Horse”, so named because he could lift a loaded tonga on his back). He next threw Ghulam’s younger brother, Rehmani, with ease.

In preparation for his bout against Gamu Baliwala at Lahore, Biddo is said to have performed an incredible 125,000 dand-baitaks in a week. So intense was his training that he had to bandage his powerful thighs to prevent them rubbing together and bleeding.

On the day of the match, a confident Gamu arrived in a grand procession riding an elephant. He taunted Biddo, boasting that he would throw the rice-pudding-eating Brahmin in under two minutes. But in the akhara, Biddo served up his own dish by defeating Gamu in three minutes. Biddo refused to dismount from his opponent’s chest, demanding that Gamu make a public apology for his pre-match outburst. When the referees failed to pull him off, the police were called in to separate the men. Gamu called for a rematch but was convincingly beaten six months later in less than eight minutes.

While Biddo’s success as a competitive pahelwan won him the title ’Sitara-i-Hind’ (Star of India), it was his high moral character that earned him lasting fame and the epithet ’Devta’ (celestial being).

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