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Seeking out football photos of Doon: From Garhi Cantt to London

Historic Photographs related to Dehradun Football

By Raju Gusain Dehradun, 16 August, 2008:

Rohit Goyal and I decided to host a website dedicated to Dehradun football, www.DehradunFootball.com, during 2005-06. To make the site comprehensive, useful and detailed, we began searching for old photographs associated with Dehradun Football.

With fellow journalist friend LP Thapa, we began searching for the photographs in every nook and corner of Garhi Cantt. We were successful in collecting historic photographs of the Gorkha Brigade 1966 and 1969 Durand Cup triumphs from individual collections. The pictures were located from rusty army boxes and from semi moth-eaten file covers. The Gorkha Military Inter College provided us the snaps of the school's Subroto Cup victories.

After having collected many rare pictures, our greed intensified! Most the photographs we had collected were of the 60s and 70s. Now, we wanted some early ones. We approached the British Library (London) and they provided us a list of four photographs. The oldest one was of 1915. To further this task, one of founding members Nilesh Rana approached Mahadev Semwal, who hosted www.uttaranchal.org.uk, offered to sponsor the historic photograph for our website. The snap of a football match between 9th Gurkhas versus a Signal Company of the Dehradun Brigade, at St Floris, France finally came to us. The match was played on 23 July, 1915. It remains the oldest photograph in our collection. We will be adding three more photographs of the 1940 Darshan Lal Football Tournament in Aid of the War Purposes Fund from the British Library soon.

One day, accidentally, we came across an archive picture of the Tehri Royal Football Team. The 1937 photograph was in the collection of Bhawani Panwar, a member of the royal family. "The standard of Tehri State’s football team was very high. Besides selected members of the royal family, top class players were inducted in the team. The team used to tour other states to play friendly matches,” Bhawani says.

The high standards of the Dehradun soccer team and their performance in the national championship made this sport gain popularity in different parts of Garhwal and Kumaon. The Tehri team, too, was a competitive side. Rakesh Semwal, Chairman, Tehri Municipality, says, “Tehri was considered the Brazil of Garhwal. The passion for football made the place receive this title. Tehri has produced many national players of repute. We have been organising an All India Thimayya Football Tournament, regularly."

Kumar Thapa, former District Football Secretary, provided the website a 1954 group photo of the DDSA team.

Many of our well-wishers say that we should not upload the entire collection on www.DehradunFootball.com. But we are happy to put the entire collection on the web. It will be free for use by all. But the user will have to give the website the credit.

Presently, a close friend and excellent designer Nilesh Rana from Ahmedabad is helping us in updating and maintaining the website.

Source: Garhwal Post article
16 August, 2008


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