East Bengal: A protracted historical past with Delhi

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From Chittaranjan (CR) Park to the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi, the legacy of East Bengal (EB) in India’s nationwide capital has solely grown with time.

“East Bengal is the only team ever to do the Delhi double – winning the DCM and Durand tournaments in the same calendar year in 1952. It is a unique record. In independent India, East Bengal won the Durand Cup (1951 and 1952) before Mohun Bagan did (1953),” says soccer historian Novy Kapadia.

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According to famous coach Anadi Barua, a former worldwide, the presence of East Bengal in Delhi has been large. “My community is known to be big supporters of East Bengal. Most of them came from the middle class and found a platform to make a statement on their love for football by cheering for EB. I have bought tickets for ₹1 to watch EB matches at the Ambedkar Stadium. In later years, I had the fortune of playing with Surajit Sengupta, Gautam Sarkar, Bhaskar Ganguly, Krishanu Dey.”

Sadly, East Bengal doesn’t have an organised base in Delhi. Driven by ardour, the supporters converge on the Ambedkar Stadium in scattered teams. “Most of them have the background of coming from East Pakistan (Bangladesh today) after Partition. They settled in what was then called the East Pakistan Displaced Persons (EPDP) Colony. It became CR Park later. East Bengal has a huge presence in Delhi and their fanatical support is to be seen to be believed. It reminds me of their huge following in Kolkata,” stated Barua.

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In current instances, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan encounters have change into a rarity. The final time the 2 golf equipment met within the nationwide capital was within the 2004 version of the Durand Cup when East Bengal gained 2-1.

Among the enduring East Bengal-Mohun Bagan encounters in Delhi is the memorable thriller of 1957 within the Durand Cup. Trailing 1-2 at half time, the East Bengal camp obtained requests from totally different quarters to not lose the match to Mohun Bagan. Giving their greatest within the second half, the East Bengal gamers slammed three objectives to emerge a wonderful winner.

Another unforgettable East Bengal feat got here within the 1973 DCM last when it gained in opposition to Dok Ro Gang from North Korea. For two days, the groups performed a draw earlier than the Korean membership opted out of taking part in for a 3rd day in succession. As Kapadia factors out, “East Bengal has won the DCM tournament seven times. Best by any team.”

For player-commentator Ghaus Mohammad, the tradition of soccer in Delhi has been enriched by East Bengal’s “magical” performances. “East Bengal is part of Delhi’s football history because of the huge following the club has. The club has an enviable history of achievements in the DCM and Durand Cups and has remained one of the most popular clubs to play in the capital.”

One hundred years of East Bengal: Looking to the long run

Says Nilanjan Datta, a long-time soccer watcher in Delhi and now media director on the All India Football Federation, “Post-partition, the migrants who came over to India from Bangladesh settled either in West Bengal or in Delhi. A substantial percentage preferred to move to Delhi as it was the capital of India. Understandably, their allegiance lied with East Bengal, the name symbolising their past, their roots, and was all about nostalgia. Most of them stayed around Chittaranjan Park, the home of the Bong (Bengali) community in Delhi. But with time, the newer generation couldn’t really identify themselves with their ancestral roots in East Bengal, and with the club actually being based in Kolkata, the percentage of support started to decrease a bit in the capital.”

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