Height: 5’ 6”
Weight: 180 pounds
Ghulam Mohi-ud-din was born around 1876 into a Kashmiri family descended from the illustrious wrestler, Ustad Nur-ud-din Pahelwan. His childhood was spent wrestling in the court of the Maharaja of Junagarh in the company of his cousin, Meraj Pahelwan. He later shifted to Kohlapur where the maharaja endowed him with a large estate (‘jagir’) for his upkeep.
When Mohi-ud-din defeated the famous Kala Partapa, he was presented with gold bangles and a precious necklace. However, he gained enduring fame in 1906 as a result of his bout with the legendary Gama held in Mochi Darbaza, Lahore. The protagonists fought like enraged lions. Deadly holds were applied and swiftly broken. Gama managed to throw Mohi-ud-din twice but the khalifa was not to be mastered. In complete defiance, he broke Gama’s severe hand-locks with ease. The bout ended in a draw, but Gama proved to be the superior in a rematch three years later, defeating the khalife in eight minutes.
Mohi-ud-din had two memorable fights with Gama’s younger brother, Imam Baksh. The first took place in 1909 near Bhati Darbaza in Lahore, and ended in a draw after two-and-a-quarter-hours. They next met at Kohlapur in 1914 where the struggle for supremacy continued for 30 minutes, but being evenly matched, the bout was judged a draw.
Following a successful nineteen-month foreign tour from 1911-13, the khalifa made his mark by throwing an open challenge to a gathering of India’s champion pahelwans who had been invited to a feast organised by the Maharaja of Indore. When none came forward to pick up the gauntlet, his patron bestowed on him the title ‘Aftab i-Hind’ (Sun of India) and presented him with a mace and a beautiful sword.
In 1921, thousands flocked to the ‘serai’ (inn) of Rattan Chand Dhariwala in Lahore to see the tussle between Mohi-ud-din and the giant from Gujranwala, Rahim Baksh Sultaniwala (who stood almost a foot-and-a-half taller than the khalifa). The thrilling bout lasted two hours but produced no clear winner.
Ghulam Mohi-ud-din’s extensive career of competitive wrestling and teaching finally came to an end with his death in 1962.