India's first website dedicated to city football, www.dehradunfootball.com, has been launched with the aim to promote local football on the internet. Its an initiative to restore the glorious days of Doon Football. And we are inclined in a manner, this initiative will be encouraged across India.
Rajvardhan Rathore with his message for fans of Dehradun Football.
Shyam Thapa exclusive interview about dehradun football.
Bhupendra Singh Rawat- Highest goalscorer in Durand Cup
Vice President Indian Olympic Association column on history of
Ramachandra Guha on Dehradun Legends
Noted Historian Ramachandra Guha writes exclusively about the legends of Dehradun football.For Country and for club | Honoring our Heroes | The Net and Nostalgia
For country and for club
Sunday, January 21, 2001
Honouring our heroesTop Article in Hindu
BY RAMACHANDRA GUHATHE World Wide Web is a global and universal technology, but not necessarily a globalising and universalising one. To the contrary, the Web can and has been used to promote local pride and the appreciation of local themes, processes, institutions, and individuals. In recent weeks, I have made the acquaintance of two websites that focus on the history and lore of two of the loveliest towns in India. The first site is located in the town I was born and raised, Dehradun. The Doon is known to some as a home of elite public schools, and to others as a military centre. But to the more sporting minded, it is known for having produced a stream of outstanding footballers. The site I speak of (www.dehradunfootball.com) focuses on them, on men such as Ram Bahadur and Bir Bahadur, Shyam Thapa and Bhupinder Singh Rawat. Yet, its promoters have also shown an interest in other aspects of their valley's history, in its association with the freedom movement, for example. The second site is more catholic by definition. This is churumuri.wordpress.com, which is run out of Mysore by a bunch of very talented, if somewhat obsessed Mysoreans. The town was once the capital of one of the two most progressive princely States in India (Baroda being the other one). The colleges that its Maharajas founded and funded produced a stream of outstanding graduates, who went on to play a prominent part in the history of modern India, in the fields of science (say Raja Ramanna), social science (say M.N. Srinivas), literature (say C.D. Narasimhaiah and A.K. Ramanujan), photography (say T.S. Satyan) and music (say Doreswamy Iyengar). "Churumuri" pays equal attention to Mysore's somewhat glorious past and its sometimes troubled present. It also seeks to link past and present, as in a campaign it has launched to honour the writer who made Mysore known throughout the world, R.K. Narayan. The site mournfully notes that in the city where he long lived, and whose streets and characters he memorialised in a series of stories, there is no recognition of Narayan — no circle, cinema, hall or hostel named after him. "The issue", writes the editor of "Churumuri", is "about how we remember our icons and legends. And how we remind them to those who will follow us. The issue is about how we perpetuate their memory to all those who enter and pass through our city".
Different viewsBy honouring R.K. Narayan, the city of Mysore will only be honouring itself. Not surprisingly, the website's campaign has attracted much interested comment. As one reader notes, what was distinctive about Narayan was "the simplicity of his writing. Nothing too complicated. Very few words that assault the brain so much that you need to assault the dictionary". How best can Mysore remember him? The suggestion to name a road after him is quickly, and I believe rightly, rejected. "The problem with naming roads after individuals", writes a Mysorean, "is that over time, the road and the surroundings develop character(istics) contrary to the values of the person after whom it is named. As an example, take a look at all the M(ahatma) G(andhi) roads in India — I am sure even the ashes of this honourable man must be squirming at what goes on along these roads". One proposal, which I believe might find wide acceptance, is to convert the house that Narayan lived in Yadavgiri — this, I believe, is still in the possession of the family — into a library, reading room, and conference centre. Museums tend to museumise, to render a legacy still and lifeless. However, this scheme would permit the writer's own home to yet be a place where words and ideas are discussed and debated. Another suggestion which caught my fancy is for a train to Mysore to be named (what else!) the "Malgudi Express". The "Churumuri" campaign is motivated by a proper sense of history, and a proper respect for one of the city's most remarkable residents. But, I am glad to report, it is also motivated by a sense of competitive local patriotism. Karnataka's other great cultural centre, the twin towns of Hubli-Dharwad, has a private bus service named after the poet D.R. Bendre. How then can Mysore treat its singular literary jewel any different?
My reasonsAs a regular visitor to Mysore, I support the "honour Narayan" campaign for two reasons. The first is my admiration for the man. (My favourite Narayan novels are Swami and Friends and The English Teacher, these written in two entirely different, and opposed, registers, the comic and the tragic.) The second reason is that I have myself long argued that Indians must do more to remember their artists, writers, scientists and musicians. For what "Churumuri" writes of Mysore is basically true of all our towns and cities: to wit, "If all we have to show to the world are roads, circles, memorials, halls, localities named after two-bit politicians, three-bit goons and four-bit operators, what a pathetic city we will turn out to be". email@example.com
THE NET AND NOSTALGIATop
Sweet, sometimes sticky, memories of footballArticle in Telegraph India My conscious memories of Bangalore/Bengaluru go back to the year 1962. For the next thirty years I visited the place once a year, sometimes twice, staying for a few weeks or a few months each time. Since 1994 it has been my permanent and full-time home. Still, although I think of it seldom, in my dreams my other (and original) home town pops up every so often. Its dense and crowded bazaar figures, but more often I dream of the valley in which the town is set: of its pine forests, its swift-running streams, its views of the hills, and its birds beautiful and grand, from the Paradise Flycatcher to the Red-Billed Blue Magpie. Recently, however, the town and the valley have come to occupy my waking hours as well. This is because I have been asked to contribute to a new website devoted to its favourite sport, football. Now for a very long while, football was Calcutta?s favourite sport, too. And one of Calcutta?s best-loved footballers was a man from Dehra Dun. His name was Ram Bahadur, who ? most unusually for a mercenary on the Maidan ? played for one club alone, East Bengal. As a thrusting half-back, he helped his club to several league titles, and to several IFA Shields and Durand Cups. He was capped many times for India, playing in the Rome Olympics of 1960 and in the gold-medal winning team at the Bangkok Asian Games in 1962. I knew Ram Bahadur intimately, for he was my uncle?s oldest friend. I have written of him and their friendship elsewhere (see www.dehradunfootball.com) but here I want to write of a Dehra Dun footballer who played for East Bengal even before Ramu dai did; in fact, who introduced the younger man to the club. His name was Bir Bahadur, and like his prot?g? he went on to be capped for India. As a ?roving centre-half?, he played in the 1958 Asian Games, before the shift to a 4-2-4 system saw him losing his place in the national side. On retiring from football Biru dai returned to the Valley, and took up a job in the school where I studied. Unusually for a man of his class and profession, he both spoke immaculate English and did not put on an ounce of flesh after his playing career had ended. He occasionally appeared in staff versus student matches, his elegant through passes ? invariably muffed up by a puffing old schoolmaster ? revealing glimpses of the player he once was. In those days I was even more daft about football than cricket. So, when I had a free evening I would take myself off to Bir Bahadur?s apartment, where he would brew me a cup of tea and tell me stories of his days in the game. Bir Bahadur had played football in the decade when the Indian football team was not a joke, when it won at the Asian Games and came a creditable fourth in the Olympics. He would speak with affection of the men he had played with and against, such as Sailen Manna of Bengal, Neville D?Souza of Bombay, Peter Thangaraj of Madras, and ? his particular hero ?the giant Kempiah of Bangalore. He was a deeply modest man, who rarely spoke of his own prowess or achievements. He did however tell me one story about himself, whose lessons go far beyond the sporting field. The story went like this: Dehra Dun was once part of the great Gurkha kingdom, and the Nepali-speakers who stayed on in the Valley, were they male, regarded the army as the career of choice. When Bir Bahadur turned eighteen, he enlisted as a jawan. He learnt (I suppose) how to carry and load a rifle, but most of his time was spent on the football field. In those days his preferred position was on the right-wing, and it was in that capacity that he was capped for the Services. Soon after he joined the army, he found himself playing in the semi-final of the Santosh Trophy (against the Railways, if memory serves me right). The first part of the match went very well. One of Biru?s crosses was headed into goal, and then he himself cut in and scored from about twenty yards out. Services were two-nil up, a quarter-of-an-hour into the game. Just before half-time, they earned a penalty, and the captain summoned the eager young winger to take the strike. Biru ran in and shot hard, but the ball hit the post and rebounded safely into play. It should have been 3-0 at the whistle. Instead, after play recommenced, the Railways managed to get in two goals, the match went into extra-time, and eventually, the Services lost. In the space of two hours, the young man had come face-to-face with Kipling?s impostors in full and equal measure. From this cruel experience he drew the lesson that it was better to be safe than sorry. So he left the wing and became a half-back instead. From school in the Valley I went on to college in Delhi. By now cricket had become my favourite sport, but I still loved football enough to be a fixture at the Ambedkar Stadium for the DCM and Durand Championships. I normally supported East Bengal, for they had Shyam Thapa as their star forward, except when they played Mafatlal, for whom not one, not two, but as many as three Dehra Dun footballers were then playing. Two were regulars ? Amar Bahadur and Ranjit Thapa. A third had his best years behind him, and so came on only when things were really desperate. This was Bhupinder Singh Rawat, known to his fellow townsmen as ?Bhupi?, but to the Delhi crowd as ?Scooter? or, more accurately, ?Sc-o-o-o-t-a-r-r-r-r?, allegedly because his scurrying small steps brought that mode of transport to mind. Within a minute or two ? I am not making this up ? his team was awarded a penalty. Prudence would have dictated Ranjit or Amar taking the kick, but sentiment and fear made the captain ask Bhupi to do the job instead, although he had not touched the ball in the match, nor very much in previous matches. Bhupi Rawat placed the ball on the spot, and slowly retreated twenty yards. He took a deep breath, possibly two or three, and ran in terrier-like, at great speed but in very many steps. When he got there he let fly. The ball hit the cross-bar with such terrific power that ? this I swear I am not making up ? the piece of sturdy and well-seasoned wood shook fearfully for a full five minutes afterwards. However, instead of finding the back of the net the ball came back into play. The end of the story is foretold ? East Bengal went on to win in extra-time.