My love for Mohun Bagan (First Edition)

Mumbai Pune Mariners had unfurled the biggest banner in the history of Indian Football highlighting the heritage and history of Mohun Bagan at Balewadi, Pune on 10th February, 2016. Copyright-Mumbai Pune Mariners

“You will be nearer to heaven playing football than studying the Bhagavad-Gita.”

                                                                      -Swami Vivekananda[1] [This quotation is a part of Vivekananda’s book Lectures from Colombo to Almora, Chapter: The Work before us in 1897, while returning to India from the West, Vivekananda delivered a series of lectures. He delivered his first public lecture in the East at Colombo on 15 January 1897. The last lecture of this series was delievered at Dhaka on 31 March 1901. All these lectures were published in the book-form Lectures from Colombo to Almora, first publication:  Vyjayanti Press, Madras, 1897]

Introduction: Mohun Bagan, it is not just a club founded in the 15th August, 1889 (15th August is the special day for all the Indians because on 15th August, 1947 India got independence from the British); it is an emotion for the millions of fan irrespective of their caste, creed, color, religion. It is the passion passing from generation to generation. You may feel both astonished and curious to know about those small information on Mohun bagan supporters, but trust me it is not even the beginning of the story.You may be thinking that why I put the quotation before the introduction. In fact Mohun bagan was founded 8 years ago before Swami Vivekananda gave that speech. The fact is India was at that time under British rule. Indian started fighting for their independence. So at that time it was felt that without sound health, people will not be able to raise their voice. Without good health none will be able to achieve any objective. Only sound mind and good body can attain the highest level of spirituality as it is enshrined in the holy book of hindus- Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Yes, you are right on assuming that in India cricket is the religion and India is not well known for playing football. But if I tell you that whenever there is kolkata derby played between Mohun bagan and East Bengal (In bengali we call it বড় ম্যাচ) atleast 1,00,000 people turned out to the stadium. They chant slogans, songs for their beloved club and that made the whole atmosphere something heavenly-out of this world. Baichung Bhutia, one of the great footballing icon of India, is the all time highest goal scorer in the history of Kolkata derby. He hails from Sikkim, a small state situated in the northeastern India. If you visit Kerala, a state situated in the southern part of India, you will find jam-packed crowd even in a local football tournament. The same scenario can be seen in Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram etc. These states are also situated in the north eastern part of India. Punjab, another state situated in the northern India has rich legacy and history of playing football. All of those states along with people hails from Bengal have largely contributed to the history and growth of the Indian football. Infact Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari, a bengali, is known as the father of Indian football. Sovabazar club was the first Indian club to achieve success, they won Trades cup in the year 1892 after beating East Surrey Regiment by 2-1 . This was the first time an Indian club defeating the British team. Mohun bagan club was the first Indian club to win the IFA shield in 1911 after beating East Yorkshire Regiment by 2-1. That historical team of Mohun bagan consists of  Hiralal Mukherjee, Bhuti Sukul, Rev. Sudhir Chatterjee, Monmohun Mukherjee, Rajen Sengupta, Nil Madhav Bhattacharya, Kanu Roy, Habul Sarkar, Abhilash Ghosh, Bijoydas Bhaduri and captained by Shibdas Bhaduri2.


Enthusiasm for the final match was so much that people from not only other districts of undivided Bengal but also from the others states of the then British India came to saw the match. For that reason the then East Indian Railway Company arranged special train. Additional ferry service was also arranged for the spectator. The total spectator may have crossed 1,00,000. Reuters, a famous international news agency owned by Thomas Reuters in its cablegram to English newspapers mentioned: “For the first time in the history of Indian football an Indian team, the Mohun Bagan, consisting purely of Bengalees, has won the Indian Football Association Shield beating crack teams of English regiments. Though about 80,000 spectators were present on the ground, but most of them could not see the match. By noticing the flying of kites, they were following the actions of the match. And when they came to know about the win of their team, they started tearing off their shirts, waving them, tearing their hairs.”3 Achintya Kumar Sengupta wrote in Kallol Jug: “Mohun Bagan is not a football team. It is a tortured country, rolling in the dust, which has just started to raise its head.”4The Englishman wrote, “What the Congress failed to achieve, Mohun Bagan has. In other words they have succeeded in degrading the English.”5 The performance was appreciated by Manchester Guardian saying, “The team comprising of the Bengalis won the IFA Shield by defeating three top military teams. 80,000 Indians will remain witness to this event. There is nothing to be surprised at. The team that is physically more fit, has sharp surveillance and intelligence, wins.”5 On 30 July 1911, India Mirror reported, “6 The Japanese victory over the Russians did not stir the East half as much as did the match between Mohun Bagan and East York.”7Gostho pal, another legendary football player, who played for Mohun bagan for 23 years,led Indian football team(consists of Indian and British players) to its first international tour to Ceylon in 19248.The Indian national football team played their first match as an independent nation in 1948 in the first round of the 1948 Summer Olympics against France. Using mainly barefooted players, India were defeated 2–1 in London. In 1950, India managed to qualify for the 1950 Fifa World Cup. In those days before ranking system was introduced in the world football, India was the then recognized by FIFA as the best team in Asia and so was invited to participate in the 1950 World Cup at Brazil9. But later, India as well withdrew from the tournament due to travel costs, lack of practice time, and valuing the Olympics more than the World Cup. Despite the reason given out by the AIFF, many historians and pundits believe India withdrew from the World Cup due to FIFA imposing a rule banning players from playing barefoot10. Though after that India could not secure any chance to play in the world cup football ever, though Indian football suffers from quality and lack of of infrastructure still we can understand from all this points that India, may be for some reasons not well known to the world for playing football, but has been actively playing football for centuries.

Formation of Mohun bagan-The foundation of Mohun Bagan AC stretches back into the 1880s when the neighborhood youth of presently known Fariapukur Lane in Shyambazar, had set out in search for an ideal place to establish a football club, and came across a marble palace, Mohun Bagan Villa, owned by Kirti Chandra Mitra.11On 15 August 1889, after a meeting presided over by Bhupendra Nath Basu,  Mohun Bagan Sporting Club got formed.12 Bhupendra Nath Basu became the first president of the newly founded club and Jyotindra Nath Basu was the first secretary of it.13

Achievement of Mohunbagan in a summary:- It will be a huge book if someone try to to write or start writing on the achievements of Mohun bagan. Mohun bagan is the only Indian club to win 250+ trophies (Major and minor trophies). Mohun Bagan is also the one and only club to win record 14 times Federation cup. Mohun Bagan won Durand cup 16 times, IFA Shield 22 times, Calcutta Football League 30 times, National football league 3 times, i league 2 times, Rovers cup 14 times, Indian Super Cup 2 times, Sikkim Gold cup 10 times and many more.

Though Mohun bagan never won any famous international trophies but won some memorable matches against strong opposition. Mohun Bagan beat Crescent Textile of Pakistan 8-1 in 1988-89 Asian club Championship.Mohun bagan is the first Indian club to win a AFC Champions league preliminary round 1 match, beating Singapoor club Tampines Rovers to 3-1 in 2016.14 Mohun Bagan beat Maldives based Mazia sports and Recreation club 5-2 in Afc cup 2016 group stage. In the same year, same event, Mohun Bagan beat Hongkong based South China club 4-0. That year Mohun bagan topped the group stage of the Afc Cup and reach Round of 16, but there lost to Tampines Rovers by 2-1. In the end of this 1st chapter I am inserting beautiful 23 pass goal scored by Mohun Bagan against Churchil Brothers in ileague 2019. Mohun bagan won i league that year comprehensively( I will say brutally) and was clearly ahead of 16 points from the runners up.

Owned by AIFF and its media partner
Source Zee news. In this photo Cornel Glen, worldcupper from Trinidad & Tobago marching past South China club defenders in Afc cup 2016


[2]“Creation of History – 1910 to 1919”Mohun Bagan Club. Retrieved 16th May 2022.


[4]Sengupta, Achintya Kumar (1977). কল্লোল যুগ. M.C. Sarkar & Sons. ISBN 978-8171571437. Retrieved 16 May 2022.

[5]“Creation of History – 1910 to 1919”Mohun Bagan Club. Retrieved 16th May 2022.



[8]“History in Timeline of Indian Football”All India Football FederationArchived from the original on 8 March 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2022.


[10] ibid

[11] Mukherjee, Anita. “MOHUN BAGAN VILLA – GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”Breathing Roots. Retrieved 16 May 2022; Sengupta, Somnath (2 May 2010). “History Of Mohun Bagan (Part 1): The Success That Changed Indian Football”The Hard Tackle. Retrieved 16 May 2022; “Mohun Bagan Football history by decade”Mohun Bagan Athletic ClubArchived from the original on 6 August 2020. Retrieved16th May 2022.

[12] ibid.

[13] ibid.


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