Thursday, May 2, 2013
Aslam Pahalwan started his wrestling career as the pupil of Hamida Pahalwan and also the Great Gama of India. Aslam is one of the unbeatable wrestlers that the art of traditional wrestling produced when it flourished in India during the past.
His exercise routine was similar to that of his elder brother Bholu Pahalwan. He trained thrice a day, relying mostly on basic Pahalwani exercises, such as bodyweight exercises like the Indian Pushups called dands and squats known as baithaks in the regional language, Or other ancient workouts like the Indian weight training with stones called nals and heavy clubs exercise known as Joris to increase strength, stamina and flexibility. A high-calorie and nutritious diet was a must to sustain bodyweight after a strenuous workout. He usually consumed an entire goat during a single meal.
Aslam started wrestling during 1940s. He commenced his career by participating in tournaments held mostly in the Punjab, but he also competed in games held in other parts of India. His first wrestling match was in Amritsar against Bala Pahalwan of India. He defeated his opponent in only ninety seconds. In another important test of his career Aslam defeated Niranjan Singh in Patiala in less than two minutes. During the pre-partition days, the Maharaja of Patiala used to sponsor a wrestling championship in his princely state each year, during the Islamic month of Moharram. During one such tournament Aslam defeated a wrestler known as Puran Singh, in a final showdown. He was rewarded a sum of ten thousand rupees by the Maharaja Bhopindar Singh for his success. He later moved into the limelight by beating Kala Pahalwan and Aslam Mohni Wala in the city of Lahore.
After the Indian Partition, Aslam got stationed in Lahore, Pakistan. He mostly confronted the best wrestlers of Pakistani Punjab. In 1951, Aslam defeated the No.1 wrestler Younus Pahalwan a.k.a. Younus Gujranwala of Gujranwala for the title of Rustam-e-Punjab. He was officially declared Rustam-i-Punjab (i.e. Champion of Punjab) in Minto Park, Lahore. After becoming the champion of Punjab, he wrestled and defeated a number of bona fide wrestlers, like the 1939 IWA Heavyweight Champion, Australian George Pencheff, who were operating throughout India during early 1950s.
The exact record of Aslam Pahalwan’s wrestling bouts has not been arranged yet. However, in 1953, he won the Commonwealth Championship. Aslam then issued challenges to wrestlers all over the world and announced a reward of 100,000 rupees to any wrestler who could beat him. In a challenge match, Aslam defeated the famed Indian wrestler Tarlok Singh at the National Stadium in Karachi in the second round. In Nairobi in 1953 he defeated the Indian Wrestler Mahinder Singh. In another challenge match, Aslam defeated the European Heavyweight Champion, and former World Champion, Bert Assirati in Bombay, India on June 3, 1954in front of the 40,000 in attendance. Assirati was the strongest man in wrestling at the time of this match. An Indian entrepreneur rewarded Aslam with a sum of ten thousand rupees on his victory.
During the 50s, Aslam faced all challengers with a great deal of success. In 1957, he travelled to the Far East. In Singapore, Aslam announced a one hundred thousand dollar reward for any wrestler who could beat him. In response to his challenge, he confronted twenty different wrestlers from around the world, and defeated them all. Even a number of significant wrestlers, like King Kong and Sheik Wadi Ayuob, failed to beat him. Aslam later defeated Tiger Sucha Singh and Joginder Singh at the National Stadium in Karachi in a challenge match. In May 1962 he defeated King Kong Czaja (the largest attraction in the history of wrestling) and Lofty Binnie of New Zealand in Karachi.
During the early 60s, he wrestled in India and Pakistan. In 1967 Aslam was sponsored by British promoter Christopher Whelan. He toured the United Kingdom and faced opponents at the leading arenas of the North, Midlands and Scotland. There he defeated the Canadian Champion George Gordienko. On his return home he was awarded the President's Award of Pride of Performance. . He was ranked among top 10 pro wrestlers in the World. 1. WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino 2. Karl Gotch 3. Lou Thesz, 4. Aslam Pahalwan, 5. Shohei Baba 6. Fritz Von Erich 7.Bill Watts 8. Dick the Bruiser 9.Ray stevens 10. Verne Gagne 11. Ernie Ladd. In 1971 he wrestled in United Kingdom, but this visit was cut short due to India-Pakistan war. He was managed by the British wrestling promoter Orig Williams.
Aslam gave up wrestling during the early 1970s. He commenced his bout with a charge clashing with his opponent, and used a combination of maneuvers like the Boston Crab to subdue his opponents. Aslam is best remembered for his victory over Bert Assirati in 1954. He died on 7 January 1989 at the age of 62 in Pakistan. His son Zubair Aslam a.k.a. Jhara Pahalwan was a champion wrestler.
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