Monday, September 16, 2013

Egaro : Thoughts from United Bengal

"if you are kicked, you can kick back only in the game of football"
"if you know how to play football, then you have almost learnt the Gita" 
- Swami Vivekananda

Football is nothing but an application of the karma yoga theory. AICC has sold itself to IMG-Reliance for Rs 700 crores. The I-league is being harassed daily in the name of improvement. The national team is an infant for World Cup. But, one cannot deny that India is one of the oldest 'association football' playing nations in the world. The Indian Football Association (IFA), which presently governs football in the state of West Bengal is a member of the British Football Association (FA) since 1893.

The IFA Shield started in 1893 by the then ruling British army officers is one of the oldest club cup competitions in the world. Mohan Bagan AC was established on 15th August, 1889 at Calcutta, then the capital of Imperial India. It is one of the oldest football clubs in Asia. For over a decade the Bagan players (Mariners, as they are known popularly) played passive to the British bosses. Then came the partition of Bengal Presidency and a volcanic nationalist movement followed. Khudiram Bose, a 15 year old boy attacked a British officer and was hanged.

Bengal was socially and culturally reforming itself. It was the time when BishwaKabi Rabindranath Tagore (the universal poet) was yet to bring home the Nobel Prize. With the social reformations introduced by Raja Rammohan Roy and Ishwarchandra Bidyasagar, and under the leadership of Swami Vivekananda, the Bangali youth had already decided for a war.

On 29th July 1911, Mohan Bagan AC created history being the first all Indian club to win the IFA Shield. They beat East Yorkshire Regiment in the finals of the knockout tournament to be the first Asian team to beat a foreign team. 10 players played barefooted, only one Prof. Sudhir Chatterjee had his boots on.

Egaro (the eleven) is a bengali sports movie which says the rest of the story beautifully.
Egaro = Lagaan - Amir Khan. Recommended if you are an Indian, must if you are a Bengali.

[Mohan Bagan's Immortal XI]

The Film :