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Google Doodle Celebrates Hamida Banu: Unveiling the Inspiring Story of India’s First Female Wrestler.

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Google Doodle Tribute : Remembering Hamida Banu, India’s First Female Wrestler

In the year 1944, at a bustling stadium in Bombay packed with around 200,000 enthusiastic spectators, the atmosphere was charged with excitement—cheers echoed, and applause filled the air. The crowd eagerly awaited a wrestling match between a female wrestler and a renowned mute wrestler of that era. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until the mute wrestler suddenly reclaimed his name.

The mute wrestler had set some requirements that didn’t seem to be able to be met, according to organizers. In addition to extra money, he asked for more time to prepare.

Chaos broke out in the stadium as soon as the cancelation of the event was announced, infuriating everyone present. In some way, the police were able to control the situation.

Newspapers the following day carried headlines such as “The Mute Wrestler Backed Out in Fear of Hamida Banu…” That day was intended to see a match between the first female wrestler in India, Hamida Banu, and the silent wrestler.

Google Doodle Celebrates Hamida Banu: Unveiling the Inspiring Story of India's First Female Wrestler. 1 Google Doodle Celebrates Hamida Banu: Unveiling the Inspiring Story of India's First Female Wrestler.

Google is honoring Hamida Banu today, May 4, with a Google Doodle. This unique homage honors and remembers Hamida Banu’s incredible life story and her contributions to wrestling history. In a sport where men predominate, she blazed a way by displaying bravery and talent that won her respect from all quarters.

Many people are motivated by Hamida Banu’s story, particularly women, to overcome obstacles and follow their passions with courage. Her legacy serves as a constant reminder of the fortitude and tenacity needed to defy expectations and accomplish greatness.

Hamida Banu’s story is being shared with the globe through the Google Doodle, which pays tribute to her unwavering spirit and outstanding accomplishments in the wrestling world. She is honored with this accolade as a trailblazer who opened the door for upcoming female athletes in India and abroad.

Who was Hamida Banu ?

Hamida Banu was up in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, and from a young age, she was passionate with wrestling. Wrestling at the time was exclusively for men; women were not even allowed to consider going inside the arena. Hamida’s family reacted angrily when she told them she wanted to wrestle. Not to be deterred, Hamida rebelled and made her way to Aligarh.

She started actively participating in fights and learning the subtleties of wrestling from famous wrestler Salam Pahalwan in Aligarh. In his 1987 book, Maheshwar Dayal claims that Hamida Banu rose to fame in Uttar Pradesh and even Punjab in a matter of years. Like any male wrestler, she put up a good fight. She participated in lesser matches at first, but her true objectives went beyond these matches.

Google Doodle Celebrates Hamida Banu: Unveiling the Inspiring Story of India's First Female Wrestler. 2 Google Doodle Celebrates Hamida Banu: Unveiling the Inspiring Story of India's First Female Wrestler.

Hamida’s success in a sport dominated by men was made possible by her tenacity and resilience, which challenged social norms. She bravely followed her dream and gained respect and acclaim for her wrestling abilities despite resistance from her family and social obstacles.

Her perseverance and commitment are demonstrated by her journey from Mirzapur to becoming a well-known wrestler in North India. In the history of women’s wrestling in India, Hamida Banu’s tale inspires people to overcome obstacles and achieve success. She has left a lasting legacy.

In 1954, Hamida Banu made news when she declared she would marry the first male wrestler to beat her in the ring. She challenged wrestlers worldwide, but none of them could equal her skill. In the first bout, she defeated the Patiala wrestling champion, and in the second, she defeated the Kolkata champion. Hamida Banu’s triumphs cemented her status as a strong wrestler, unwavering in the face of opponents.

Read more :https://www.amarujala.com/technology/tech-diary/google-doodle-pays-tribute-to-indias-first-female-wrestler-hamida-banu-2024-05-04

Hamida Banu : Defying Conventions Through Wrestling Triumphs

In the same year, Hamida Banu traveled to Vadodara (then called Baroda) for her third wrestling battle, according to a BBC report. Her match was advertised using rickshaws and hand-pulled carts, and posters and banners with her image were put up all over the city.

The opponent Hamida was supposed to face was a well-known wrestler from a tiny hamlet, whose name preceded him and who had the Maharaja of Baroda’s protection. But when the time came, the wrestler withdrew from the match, citing his reluctance to face a lady.

Then, on May 3, 1954, Hamida played Baba Pahalwan in a match that was covered by the Associated Press. In the one minute and thirty-four-second battle, Hamida easily defeated Baba Pahalwan. At that point, the referee stated that there was not a single man wrestler who could defeat Hamida and so be eligible to marry her.

Hamida Banu’s triumphs questioned social norms and preconceived notions about women’s ability in sports in addition to showcasing her extraordinary wrestling prowess. Her narrative captivated the public’s interest and brought attention to how important gender equality is in competitive settings.

The circumstances surrounding Hamida Banu’s wrestling matches highlighted her talent and tenacity in a sport that is dominated by men. She overcame criticism and doubt to demonstrate her strength as an athlete and win respect and appreciation in the process.

Beyond the wrestling arena, Hamida’s accomplishments inspired women to follow their passions with courage and break down barriers in industries that have historically been dominated by men. Generations of athletes have been motivated by her legacy, which highlights the value of tenacity and self-belief in conquering challenges.

A pivotal occasion in the history of women’s wrestling in India, the bout between Hamida Banu and Baba Pahalwan represents talent triumphing over gender prejudices, resilience, and empowerment. By her bravery and accomplishments, Hamida Banu made a lasting impression on the sports world and cleared the path for a new wave of female athletes.

By the time she arrived in Baroda in 1954, the BBC said, she had won 300 bouts and was dubbed the “Amazon of Aligarh.” Newspapers every day carried articles regarding her diet, weight, and height. She was five feet and three inches tall and weighed 108 kg. She consumed 1.5 liters of fruit juice, 2.8 liters of soup, 5.6 liters of milk, half a kilogram of ghee, almonds, and two plates of biryani per day.

According to Ronajoy Sen’s book “Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India,” the feudal society of the era could not stand the idea of a female wrestler dominating a male wrestler in the ring. As a result, Hamida encountered resistance multiple times.

Hamida and Ramchandra Salunke were supposed to wrestle in Pune, but the Wrestling Federation withdrew, forcing the match to be called off. Another time, after Hamida won over a male wrestler, onlookers started throwing stones at her, and the police had to step in to make sure she was taken safely away.

Challenges Faced by a Trailblazing Female Wrestler in Maharashtra

he female wrestler in Maharashtra was essentially subject to an unofficial prohibition through deceptive ways. In his book, Ronajoy Sen mentions that the female wrestler complained in writing about this matter to Morarji Desai, the Maharashtra chief minister at the time. Desai retorted that organizers had protested about dummy candidates being put against her, not because she was a woman, and that’s why her matches were being canceled.

This comment highlights the difficulties that women in athletics experienced at that time, when prejudices and societal standards prevented them from participating and succeeding. Hamida’s career was hindered by institutional impediments and resistance, even with her exceptional skill and exploits in the wrestling ring.

The exchanges between Hamida and Morarji Desai serve as an example of both the complexity of gender dynamics in sports and the opinions that society as a whole has about female athletes. The underlying biases and discriminatory practices that were common at the time, undermining Hamida’s possibilities and creating barriers to her career advancement, are reflected in Desai’s argument.

Hamida’s attempts to confront the unfair treatment she received serve as a reminder of the value of activism and advocacy in the fight against gender-based discrimination in sports. Her efforts highlight the need for systemic changes to create equitable chances for female athletes and are consistent with the ongoing struggle for gender equality in athletics.

In the end, Hamida’s experiences highlight the fortitude and tenacity needed to defy social expectations and open doors for upcoming female athletes. Her experience serves as a reminder of the continuous struggle for gender parity in athletics as well as the transforming power of brave people who don’t hesitate to question the existing quo.

Read more :https://www.aajtak.in/education/knowledge/story/google-doodle-today-on-indias-first-female-wrestler-hamida-banu-know-about-her-story-1937431-2024-05-04

Hamida Banu’s Encounter with Russia’s ‘Female Bear’

Hamida Banu competed against Vera Chistilin, a.k.a. the “Female Bear,” a famous Russian wrestler, in Mumbai in 1954. Vera had a reputation for being a formidable opponent, but Hamida easily defeated her in under a minute. Hamida’s triumph thrust her into the public eye and made her declare her intention to wrestle in Europe later that year.

However, Hamida’s coach Salam Pahalwan opposed her goals since he didn’t agree with her choice to participate in Europe. Rather, they got married and started a dairy business close to Mumbai’s Kalyan neighborhood. Hamida settled down, but her will to compete in wrestling in Europe never wavered.

Salam Pahalwan physically abused Hamida Banu, breaking her hand and seriously injuring her leg, according to a BBC account related by Hamida Banu’s grandson, Firoz Sheikh. Hamida then had to rely on a walking stick for a number of years.

Hamida Banu’s meeting with Vera Chistilin served as a metaphor for her unwavering quest of greatness in the face of difficulty. Her victory over Vera demonstrated her remarkable talent and tenacity in the face of societal obstacles and a lack of opportunity. But the physical harm her coach caused brought attention to the difficulties faced by female athletes in achieving their goals.

The emotional reminder of the sacrifices and adversities that early Indian female wrestlers faced during a time of pervasive gender inequality is provided by Hamida’s story. Hamida Banu’s reputation persists despite her setbacks, serving as a testimony to the unwavering spirit of female athletes who defy norms of society and create a lasting impression on sports history.

Years later, Hamida Banu stayed in Kalyan and operated her dairy company, while Salam Pahalwan went back to Aligarh. She later peddled merchandise at the side of the road. She sadly died away in 1986 without a trace.

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