“A Nation that doesn’t honour its giants” they say, “is condemned to eternal dwarf hood”. That is why, when “Chinese Wall”, the great Goshtha Pal’s 100th year of debuting in the National Club, Mohun Bagan, went virtually unsung, one was, a tad bit remorse, even sorry at the level to which our love for the game had sunk to.
However, the heaviness of the heart was removed by a bunch of young Mohun Bagan supporters, who made up with sheer dedication and love, what the officials had failed to achieve with all their resources. The event, “Reminiscence”, organised at the maidan tent of the Sports Journalist Club by a bunch of teenagers who call themselves the “Lobster Warriors – Mohun Bagan Gorbo” was indeed a heart rendering one.
The great man’s son, Nilangshu Pal was there to share his father’s memories, as was Ms. Nilangana Manna, daughter of another Mohun Bagan legend, the late Sailen Manna. The “evergreen sixteen” Subrata Bhattacharyya, one of Bagan’s greatest sons was also there as was soccer legends like Samar (Badru) Banerjee, Prashanta Banerjee and Shyamal Banerjee. The lively evening discourse was enriched by veteran sports journalists Rupak Saha and Ratul Ghosh, who true to their form held the audience spellbound.
The Lobster Warriors – Mohun Bagan Gorbo, is no ordinary fan club. In an era where a facebook page entitles one to the title (and some free tickets to the derby matches), this team of hardcore Mohun Bagan supporters have come together to celebrate the on-field exploits of this institution apart from doing their bit for the cause of soccer at large. In keeping with their spirit, the event also saw the distribution of football kits to deserving young players. “We are grateful to Mr. Sumit Khatan, a Mohun Bagan supporter for sponsoring the kits. We have already done the legal formalities and will soon approach corporate to use their CSR funds for the development of the game in the grassroots levels” said Subrata Sen, the President of the organisation.
“We are here. We are committed. And we want to give back to the game that has and continues to entertain us” said Sreerup Banerjee, the moving spirit behind the organisation. “We will not restrict ourselves to paying tribute to the Gods of Mohun Bagan, but will also work towards the uplift of the game of football as such. We are overwhelmed by the response so far and am sure that more and more supporters will join us and the game shall live as one”.
Relegation, Chit Funds, petty politics, self serving officials, seasons devoid of trophies …. The terms that were being bandied with a club that is no less than the life blood of millions was indeed disheartening – far from the legacy that we know to be maroon and green and hardly in keeping with the spirit of the watershed 1911. The evening programme, organised by a group of young boys, eyes glistening with hope was enough to restore the faith, to let one know that bad times pass, but the pedigree remains.
Thank you Warriors. May your tribe increase.