One of the many Bengali people who could find their own nationality is football, which is also Known as soccer in America. In the subcontinent of India till the division of Bengal(1905), bodybuilding and wrestling were the only two sports which were practiced that time. The rise of football took place in Bengal year 1911. when Mohun Bagan was able to defeat East Yorkshire Regiment 2–1 in the final of the IFA Shield by playing football on barefoot. This victory was meant a lot for the whole nation, not only the bengalis but the whole nation started to believe that they can evict the British and have an independent country. Following that match Football became a gizmo for Bengalis to protest against the British Government. From there on wards, football became an implementing mechanism to the Bengali people for the independence movement.
The post-independence era of partition, the Bengalis faced issues like, the refugee problem, the crisis of identity. That time to change the emotional atmosphere of Bengal, football was one of the solutions. Calcutta(now it is known as Kolkata) has always been the cultural center of India. So other than football, the drama was also a passion for people of Bengal. Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay’s ‘Nandikar’ staged a popular play called ‘Football’. In that drama, the social status of Calcutta, political perspective, and unemployment was shown in an intellectual manner. The director of the play wanted to show the basic idea of the,’know your city’. Therefore Football became the only means to get rid of these problems of the society. Again, in the seriocomical view of society we saw movies like- ‘Dhanni may’,’Mohun Bagan er may’,’East Bengal er chele’ . We also found the music around football – “shob khelar shera bangalir tumi football…”
In the fifth decade, India’s gold win in Asiad and the achievement of the Bengali football players among the Indians in the team brought Calcutta-Bengali-football into one unit. Even today, Bengalis can blow away all the temptations, sorrow, dirt, and the frustration with just a game of football. Even now in the name of football, Bengalis are desperate to watch a good game of football. Football is in the blood. Only football can divide Bengal and can also connect Bengal.
For many of the fresh life that ended on a premature stage for football, the Bengalis have accepted it and remembered them. In the village, in the suburbs of the city and also many people in the city who have many dreams and dreams about this football. Renowned literary writer Moti Nandi wrote about them – ‘Striker, Stopper’. Football was always an integral part of Bengal history
Football was always an integral part of Bengal history. Bengalis ignored the crisis of its identity, which has centered on this football that unites Bengal in United Bengal with the exception of the Bengali outpost that gives life to the Bengali language to defend its language status. As long as the Bengali remains, the heart of the hearts for the football will remain bright. The intellectuals and emotions of Bengal came to work at one point when an emotion named football came towards them. The dream of winning the whole world works in the heart of the Bengali, when they hear G-O-A-L.
So say it loudly, let us go and play football. LET’S FOOTBALL.
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Author: Aurosish Chakraborty
Sports Person, Dreamer, Foodie