All about the extraordinary life of India's first woman wrestler

Hamida Banu is known as the “Amazon of Aligarh”.

Hamida Banu, widely considered to be India's first professional wrestler, was born in the early 1900s near Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. It rose to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s, a time when women's participation in athletics was strongly discouraged by prevailing social norms. His spectacular exploits and extraordinary personality made him famous throughout the world. He was a pioneer of his time and his bravery is remembered throughout India and the world. Today, Google Doodle also honors the extraordinary life of Ms Banu, whose legacy embodies resilience, determination and breaking down barriers.

Who is Hamidah Banu?

Hamida Banu was born into a family of wrestlers in the early 1900s near Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. She began wrestling at a time when women's participation in athletics was strongly discouraged by prevailing social norms. However, Ms. Banu “was passionate and she continued to compete against men, issuing an open challenge to all male wrestlers and risking her life to marry the first male wrestler to defeat her,” according to Google.

Ms. Banu's career even expanded to the international arena, where she defeated Russian wrestler Vera Chistilin in less than two minutes. “His name made headlines for years and he was known as the “Amazon of Aligarh”. The fights he won, his diet, and his training regimen have been widely covered,” Google wrote.

“Hamida Banu was a pioneer of her time, and her bravery is remembered throughout India and the world. “Regardless of his sporting achievements, he will always be celebrated for remaining true to himself,” the text added.

What makes Hamida Banu popular?

“Beat me in a fight and I will marry you.” This was the challenge Ms. Banu gave to the male wrestlers in February 1954, according to BBC. Soon after the announcement, he defeated two men's wrestling champions – one from Patiala in Punjab and another from Kolkata in West Bengal.

In May, Banu then reached Vadodara in Gujarat for his third fight of the year. However, the wrestler he was supposed to fight withdrew from the match at the last minute, leaving the next challenger, Baba Pahalwan. The fight only lasted 1 minute 34 seconds and Mrs. Banu won the match. He later retired from professional wrestling.

After that, Ms.'s weight, height and diet were determined. Banu is in the news. He is known as the “Amazon of Aligarh”. Testimonies from his surviving family members suggest that his power, combined with conservative attitudes at the time, prompted him to leave his hometown of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, for Aligarh.

In a 1987 book, author Maheshwar Dayal wrote that Miss Banu's fame attracted people from far and wide as she fought several battles in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. However, he also faces challenges from people who are irritated by his public appearance. She was also booed and pelted with stones by fans after defeating a male opponent.

However, this never stopped Mrs. Banu from pursuing her passion. In 1954, she won over Vera Chistilin, nicknamed the Russian “bear.” That same year, he announced that he would go to Europe to fight wrestlers there.

Personal life

However, after defeating Ms Chistilin in Mumbai, Ms Banu seemed to disappear from the world of wrestling. Based on BBC, that's when his life changed. Quoting Feroz Shaikh, his grandson, the report said Banu's coach, Salam Pahalwan, did not like him going to Europe. He tries to stop it.

According to neighbor Rahil Khan, Banu suffered a broken leg after her trainer beat her. “He couldn't stand up. He later recovered, but he could not walk properly for years without a lathi machine…,” the report quoted Rahil Khan.

Salam Pahalwan's daughter, Sahara, said she was married to Banu, whom she considered her mother-in-law. However, Banu's grandson, who lived with him until his death in 1986, did not agree with this. “She did live with him, but never married him,” Shaikh said according to the report.

Based on BBC, Ibu Bani earns a living by selling milk and renting out certain buildings. When he was short of money, he sold homemade snacks on the side of the road.

Garfield Woolery

"Award-winning travel lover. Coffee specialist. Zombie guru. Twitter fan. Friendly social media nerd. Music fanatic."

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