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Google Doodle pays tribute to India’s first woman wrestler Hamida Banu

Google Doodle dedicated to Hamida Banu

Google on Saturday paid tribute to Hamida Banu, considered as India’s first woman wrestler.

The search engine giant changed their homepage logo to celebrate the life of the woman who entered the sport that was dominated by the male population during the 1940s and 50s.

Banu born in the early 90s hailed from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh.

“On this day in 1954, the wrestling match that earned Banu international recognition and acclaim was reported – she had defeated famed wrestler Baba Pahalwan, in just 1 minute and 34 seconds, after which the latter retired from professional wrestling,” Google wrote.

Banu grew up seeing wrestling as she was born into a family of wrestlers. During her captivating career, she won over 300 competitions between the 1940s and 1950s. During the early 90s, women’s participation was strongly discouraged by prevalent social norms, however, by breaking all the shackles of patriarchy her success was the epitome of women empowerment.

She gave an open challenge to the male wrestlers that the first one to defeat her would have her hand for marriage. Banu’s career extended into the international arena as well, where she won against a Russian woman wrestler Vera Chistilin in less than two minutes.

Banu was often called the “Amazon of Aligarh.” The bouts she won, her diet, and her training regimen were widely covered.

Hamida Banu was a pioneer of wrestling of her time. Her courage is often remembered throughout India and across the world. Apart from her sporting accomplishments, Banu will always be celebrated for staying true to herself and choosing what she loved doing without looking at the social norms.

Bengaluru-based artist Divya Negi who created the Google Doodle said she was inspired by Banu’s fight against conservative norms of the day.

“I delved into Hamida’s world during my doodle research. It was inspiring to learn that she fought fiercely against the conservative norms of her time. Going against groupthink is one of the hardest things one can do, and being a woman adds another level of complexity to it. Despite that, Hamida powered through and won,” Negi said.