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Goalless: The Story of a Unique Footballing Nation

Boria Majumdar (Author) Kausik Bandyopadhyay (Author)
Synopsis Was soccer the unique Indian answer to the imperial charge of effeminacy held against the educated Indian male in the late nineteenth century? Was Mohun Bagan’s victory in 1911 a triumph of Indian nationalism? Is there a significant relationship between football, politics and economics in colonial and post-colonial India? Cricket is undoubtedly what moves the majority of the subcontinent, but isn’t there a niche that tracks and lives football in ways that impact social attitudes and divisions even today? These are some of the questions that the authors, avid football watchers and sports historians, set out to explore five years ago, and the result of their enquiries is this fascinating account of Indian football. Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, right down to obscure episodes and previously unavailable data on games long forgotten, Goalless constitutes the first serious attempt to document India’s football history. Its sweep is impressive: from the moment in 1877 when a young Bengali boy kicked a football back to a group of British soldiers at the Maidan in Calcutta, through the ups and downs of football administration and match management in the Santosh Trophy, to an analysis of the game as it is played in present-day Jammu and Kashmir in an atmosphere that screams violence. There are stories here from the length and breadth of the footballing nation: of the first Indian footballer to play in Europe, Mohammed Salim, a Calcuttan who played for Celtic FC in 1936; the Ghati-Bangal conflict that found its echoes on the football field; and the pitched battles fought in the national league over the years. There is also a wry recognition of the lackadaisical attitude of both players and administrators, which has resulted in Indian football’s current status as a poor cousin of cricket and hockey, and an embedded hope that someday, motivated by market forces and political will, the situation might improve—at least enough to not have us cringing each time we watch India taking on the world. Full of engaging anecdotes and provocative insights into the nature of the game as it is played in India, Goalless: The Story of a Unique Footballing Nation is a must-read for all those interested in Indian football.
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About the authors

Boria Majumdar

Boria Majumdar is a Rhodes Scholar, and currently Deputy Director of the International Research Centre for Sort, Socialisation and Society, De Montfort University, Bedofrd. A visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago and a fellow of the International Olympic Museum, Lausanne (2004), he has completed his doctorate on the social History of Indian Cricket at St. Johns College, Oxford. He is also Deputy Executive Academic Editor of the International Journal of the History of sport (Routledge), and General Editor of the first-ever sports series in Indian publishing, Sport in South Asia, started by YODA PRESS.

Kausik Bandyopadhyay

Kausik Bandyopadhyay teaches history at North Bengal University and is currently completing his doctorate on the social history of Bengali football at the University of Calcutta. Associate Editor of the journal Soccer and Society, he has written extensively on football for Kick-Off, the magazine of the Indian Football Federation, and Anandabazar Patrika.

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Bibliographic information

Title Goalless: The Story of a Unique Footballing Nation
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0670058742
length 312p., Plates.
Subjects Sports