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Google Doodle celebrates wrestler Hamida Banu, who is she?

A trailblazer of Indian women's wrestling, Hamida Banu wrestled during the 1940s and 1950s and won over 300 bouts. She famously beat Baba Pehlwan and Chhote Gama Pahalwan.

Google Doodle celebrates wrestler Hamida Banu, who is she?

Google Doodle celebrated Indian wrestler Hamida Banu on May 4, 2024. (Photo credit: Google India)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 May 2024 4:27 AM GMT

Search engine Google released a new doodle on May 4 to celebrate India's first women's wrestler Hamida Banu.

The doodle stated: “Hamida Banu was a trailblazer of her time, and her fearlessness is remembered throughout India and across the world. Outside of her sporting accomplishments, she will always be celebrated for staying true to herself."

A trailblazer of Indian women's wrestling, Banu wrestled during the 1940s and 1950s and won over 300 bouts, revolting against the notion that wrestling was predominantly a male sport.

In 1954, she famously fought a bout against Baba Pehlwan in a unisex battle and won in one minute and 34 seconds. The defeat would force Baba Pehlwan to retire from wrestling.

Google Doodle of Banu has been illustrated by Bengaluru-based artist Divya Negi. The doodle depicted a celebrating Banu, with local flora and fauna in the backdrop suggesting the sport's rural background.

'Merry me, if you can'

Known as the 'Amazon of Aligarh', Banu was born into a wrestling-loving family in the early 1900s in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh.

Why Banu is an important name in Indian sporting history not only because of her courage to win but because of her ability to fight against societal prejudices that prevented women from playing sports.

Discouraged and considered weak against male wrestlers, Banu never backed off as she challenged those who doubted her abilities in the public forum. She famously challenged male wrestlers: "Beat me in a bout, I will marry you."

During her illustrious career, Banu beat several famous wrestlers such as the champion of Patiala and Chhote Gama Pahalwan.

Banu's stature and diet intrigued many. She stood at 1.6m and weighed around 108kg. Like today's modern wrestlers, she also had a milk-based diet, with her intake ranging around 5-6 litres daily.

There are also reports that she loved having fruit juice. Banu was also fond of biryani, mutton, almonds, and butter.

Banu also has international accolades to her credit. She beat a Russian wrestler named Vera Chistilin in just two minutes.

Despite being such a successful athlete, Banu's life after retirement was painful as she had to sell milk and cookies at a roadside shop.

Regardless of her life after retirement, Banu remains a trailblazer in women's wrestling in India, standing tall as an inspiration.

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