West Bengal Sports University: Recently Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was present at the inauguration ceremony of the East Bengal Museum. She announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the infrastructural development of two clubs – East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. She applauded East Bengal for this initiative and urged all other clubs to set up such archives of their own. After that CM Mamata Banerjee announced that the West Bengal government is planning to set up West Bengal Sports University. The Chief Minister also said that all types of Universities are there in the state, but not sports universities. Those who love sports can be benefited from a sports university in West Bengal.
While talking about the West Bengal Sports University, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed her love for the game of football mentioning that she “juggles” the ball as and when she finds time. She also added that she was beaten up when the CPI(M) was in power. She has had surgeries on both hands and feet. There is a back injury, too. Nevertheless, she continued to play the game. Further Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also assured that the government will arrange land for the proposed sports university in West Bengal.
History Of Sports In Bengal
Sports like cricket, football, badminton, and tennis are handed down to the Indians by erstwhile colonial rulers. The Britishers started Playing sports in India in the late nineteenth century.
They used sports to show their skills, and their superiority over the natives, particularly the Bengalis, who they used to ridicule for their appearances, and their physical attributes.
But gradually that sport became a means for the Bengalis to show their nationalistic fervor against the British.
Football As A Symbol Of Bengali Nationalism
“As such, tracing the changing nature of football in Bengal is in many ways an exercise in tracing the history of the region itself.” writes sports historian Paul Dimeo.
Bengal’s obsession with Football, sports in general, is a widely known fact. Its 3 big clubs – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Mohammedan Sportings are household names in West Bengal.
One can find people discussing sports in almost every nook and corner of the state over a cup of tea, in buses, on trains, and even during office breaks.
In colonial society, the Britishers used to physically train the Bengalis for their own purpose, for them to run their administrative works properly. Bengalis used this opportunity to earn all the skills that are required to match the skill sets to that of the Englishmen. Bengalis were quick to realize the facts that they need to beat the European States in sports in order to gain respect from them.
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Sports In Modern Day Bengal
European teams used to come from eminent institutions like Presidency College and St. Xavier’s College. Alumni of these institutions went on to establish reputed football clubs in Bengal – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Mohammedan Sportings. It’s been 70 years since the British moved out of India, but football remains a matter of pride for the Bengalis.
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Khela Hobe Slogan
The chief minister also claimed to have coined the slogan “Khela Hobe” (the game will be played). Khela hobe slogan was TMC’s slogan for the 2021 assembly polls. CM Mamata Banerjee told that it only reveals the place the game of football has in her life.
Reaction From The Society
Olympic archer Dola Banerjee supported the initiative saying that the Sports university Bengal will be helpful for those hoping to make a career in sports. It’s tough to balance studies and sports, and this university will benefit pudding sportspersons.
Another Olympian Joydeep Karmakar said, “Such an institution must be run by professionals”
Dipendu Biswas, a former football player said “I have traveled abroad and seen how such institutions play a part in building an athlete’s career. A focus on psychological aspects could be hugely beneficial”
West Bengal Sports University FAQs
Cricket and football are the two most popular sports in West Bengal.
It is said that Bengal is India’s football capital. Many famous football players from around the world have visited Bengal.
They are Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Mohammedan Sporting Club.
The current president of BCCI is Saurav Ganguly.
Calcutta Football League, which started in 1898, is the oldest football club in Asia.