A matter of choice


Though there are exceptions, the general trend remains that Bengali Hindus with roots in West Bengal are affiliated to Mohun Bagan, while those whose ancestral lands were in erstwhile East Bengal admire the club bearing the name of said region. But who does the Bengali Hindu in me root for? Neither Mohun Bagan nor East Bengal – I turned into a zealous fan of Mohammedan Sporting, following my introduction to the Kolkata League football game in the mid-1980s.

Why? Because I saw how, despite all stars being registered in the name of the ‘big two’ clubs possessing so much monetary resource, media support, as well as limelight, it is the third power, Mohammedan Sporting, that displays the most gallant football with its manpower mostly compromising old or rejected warhorses or rank newcomers, and yet comes up with the Federation Cup, the Rovers Cup, and the Nagjee Trophy.

Therefore I was overwhelmed by their spirit and never-say-die attitude, which were doing wonders for the team.

Actually those ‘liberal’ Hindus who find ‘communalism’ within the supporters of Mohammedan Sporting Club are themselves utterly communal, parochial, orthodox, biased and prejudiced, to say the least.

If Bengali Hindus can be zealous supporters of Mohun Bagan/East Bengal and celebrate wins over their rivals through ear-splitting firecrackers, taunts, and choicest comments against the defeated and ‘Ilish/Chingri’, how can zealous support of the Muslims for Mohammedan Sporting be treated as a matter of objection? How can it be a ‘sin’ on the part of the Mohammedan Sporting fans if they celebrate any win by lighting fireworks, releasing pigeons, or flying balloons?

However, what better can be expected from those hypocrites who ‘discover’ immense noise pollution when calls of azaan ring in the air for hardly one-and-a-half minute just five times a day but turn absolutely deaf when bhajans and holy chants continue to shatter the environment for days from various temples/localities uninterrupted for 48-72 hours, revolving around the occasion of Chaath, Ramnavami, Shivratri, Hanuman Jayanti, and Holi.

As for the sight of the Palestinian flag on the Mohammedan Sporting stands, how can it be treated as an antinational act? Does it mean that Muslims of India identify themselves as citizens of Palestine and are therefore anti-Indian? Hadn’t innumerable Indians of Muslim vintage laid down their lives and undergone immense sacrifice during the freedom struggle against the British, or while defending the borders in independent India? Rather, the Mohammedan Sporting fans feel the pain and tragedy of millions of the Palestinians who are being massacred for several months despite their having no connection with the Hamas terrorists.

Actually the whole world should similarly provide moral support to the innocents among the Palestinians, irrespective of religion and nationality. And if the football fans of the club flow the flag of Palestine due to the common affiliation towards Islam, then it is very natural. When incidents of killings of Hindus happen in Bangladesh at the hands of a few stray fanatics, doesn’t the saffron ecosystem and even the Indian state protest with anger and concern? Most importantly, expressing a feeling of brotherhood with the terrorised innocents through the display of Palestinian flag is not only humane and compassionate; it is also innumerable times more noble than the dirty attempt of denigrating constitutionally secular India into a de facto Hindu rashtra.

Kajal Chatterjee,


Peerless Nagar,