Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal


Why does one become a fan of a particular club and not another? When I was a kid, I was most influenced by my maternal uncles. My two youngest uncles, who influenced me the most were fanatical East Bengal supporters. It would have been natural for me to support that team. However I was ever since I can remember a Mohun Bagan fan. I first saw a Mohun Bagan team play in Krishnanagar where I had gone for our Easter holidays. It was a game of hockey, I do not remember who the opponents were, but I do remember that I saw Gurbux Singh play for the first time. He was then at her peak of his powers; he would captain India in the next Olympics.
The first time I saw Mohun Bagan play football was in 1968. I was then all of ten years old and it was a tournament that the Amrita Bazar Patrika newspaper (now deceased) had organized as part of its centenary celebrations. Mohun Bagan played Mohammadean Sporting, a formidable power in those days and drew 2-2, a dark genius called Kannan saved the day for Mohun Bagan with a last minute goal. The next day or perhaps one day later, I went again for my first derby match, the match that is the holy grail of Indian football: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal. Mohun Bagan won and I was for ever a Mohun Bagan fan. The next year I remember the Shield ( IFA shield) final where Pranab Ganguly scored a hattrick tearing down the left flank and ripping the East Bengal defence to shreds
Little did I know that it was the last victory we would see for a long 7 years. From the next year East Bengal started its chain of victories which left us dispirited and despairing as we lost and lost and lost. There was a rare victory in the Durand cup where East Bengal was slain, but in Calcutta?
Then came the autumn of 1975. The IFA shield final. And East Bengal scored five times against Mohun Bagan. I was then a medical student and I cried all the way home and did not eat for one whole day . This was a humiliation that was unbearable.
The next year came revenge: Md Akbar scored in the 40th second in a move that still remains green in my memory. Kick off: Habib to Prasun, long through to Uluganathan who raced down the right flank to send in a perfect center to Akbar whose header went in. We had scarcely settled in. The rest of the match belonged to East Bengal and I died a thousand deaths as the Mohun Bagan goal was saved from disaster so many times that we lost count. That was the coming of age of Subrata Bhattacharya, the Mohun Baganer chele whose defection to the East Bengal camp a couple of years ago left us gasping in dismay. However this judas had to leave in disgrace! Serve him right!
We celebrated for two days without stopping. We celebrated in the streets, at homes, in addas and in college. The humiliations that we had had to undergo for the past seven years became history. Since then there have been swings in fortune, but Mohun Bagan , especially recently have always had the better of the exchanges.
Over the past decade or so, I did not follow the fortunes of my club so minutely. But even today, whenever Mohun Bagan loses, I am reluctant to open the newspapers the next day. And it still leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and I am back to my school days when all our moods were dictated by the fortunes of Mohun Bagan.
But the 5 goal humiliation remained. Until yesterday, that is. I was travelling back from Jakarta where I had gone to speak at a conference. But to a long time fan the derby is always in the back of your mind, whether you are in Jakarta or Jadu Babu’s bazaar! As soon as I got back, I got online and then after 34 years I exorcised the ghosts of 1975. Thank you Karim. Thank you Chiddi. I wish I was at The Krirangan last night, and I am not ashamed to say that tears came to my eyes as I thanked the stars that I lived to see this day. Revenge is truly a dish best eaten when cold!!!

Comments

Hi Mr. Das,
I found your blog and your writing about last Mohun Bagan East Bengal match. I think you are an ardent fan of our beloved club Mohun Bagan. I was there in the Mohun Bagan stand on that day. I will never forget the feelings of that day.
Some of our core suporter and members has recently satarted an yahoo groups through which we share our feeling , emotions and recent news about Mohun Bagan. If you are interested, you can join us.
Our link is
http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/fansofmohunbagan/

regards,
Subir Mukherjee
You can contact me at
chat_subir@yahoo.com

or at subir.mailme@gmail.com
Aniket said…
Hi
Of all the years I have stayed outside India ..I have never missed Kolkata more than today...for all my childhood days ..late eighties and early nineties I had always been a supporter of a Defeated Team..which cannot win aganist EB at Salt-lake...which cannot win crucial games...I had always been a part of the group at SALT LAKE which does not WIN..no matter what...years later when I am in my early thirties now ...I feel all those days are now been accounted for ...Thanks everybody...
Regards
Aniket
+45 52806419
Anonymous said…
You have made me nostalgic by touching upon the Amrita Bazar Centinary Football Match. Although very little is there to boast of present day's football and of Mohun Bagan, however, there is no doubt about the fact that upto 1970, India played football atleast at the Asian Level. This is the reason that reminencences of football of the era creates some interest. Please write details about the match

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