Lagaan in real life – Indian football victory - Fusion - WeRIndia

Lagaan in real life – an Indian football victory

Lagaan in real life – an Indian football victory

Although football might not be the most popular sport in India, it certainly holds a significant place in the country’s history.

Even today, its popularity is growing within the nation, and the viewership for the 2018 FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup was record-high.

Sunil Chhetri, the captain of Team India, also received an overwhelming supporting ovation when he made his 100th appearance.

India’s connection with football goes all the way back to 1911.

In this year, an Indian team, Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, scored a victory for the people’s patriotism for their homeland and opposition to the British Raj.

With this historic victory, this Indian football team pulled off a feat similar to a real-life version of the movie Lagaan.

In 1911, Mohun Bagan was invited to participate in the Indian Football Association Shield (IFA Shield).

Mohun Bagan is the oldest Indian football club in Kolkata. It was considered as the club that spoke for the country, due to its remarkable reputation.

The club accepted the invitation, and they proceeded to have a great run in the tournament. When they made it to the finals, they had to beat East Yorkshire Regiment themselves to win the trophy.

East Yorkshire Regiment contained people from the British Army. They had far better training, and unlike Mohun Bagan, they wore boots to the match.

Although it seemed that East Yorkshire Regiment had a clear advantage over Mohun Bagan, this did not stop the crowds from flocking to see the match from all over the country. Between 80,000 and 100,000 spectators were seated at the Calcutta Football Ground on the day of the match.

Although East Yorkshire Regiment scored the first goal, the Indians managed to bring back hope with only 15 minutes left in the match. Skipper Shibdas Bhaduri from Mohun Bagan brought the game to a tie soon after.

As the match neared the end, center-forward Abhilash Ghosh brought Mohun Bagan ahead with the winning goal. Indians were ecstatic, since they had just beaten the British at their own game, without even wearing boots.

This historic match became part of the fuel for the revolutionary fire that eventually got India back its independence.

Photo by Connor Coyne on Unsplash (Free for Commercial Use)

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