Sir — The year 2012 ended tragically with the barbarism that has shaken the very social fabric of this country. Sadly, another instance of serial abuse by a ‘gang’ has brought the iconic Mohun Bagan club, national club of India, to its knees (“A crushing blow to Bagan”, Dec 30). A section of club officials has been systematically dragging the club into various scandals involving disputes with players, fellow clubs and professional coaches over the last many years. Run-ins with the bodies conducting the game of football in Bengal and India have become a routine affair. Arrogance, coupled with self-importance, has bloated these club officials into a state where flab has turned to thick skin. They are so well-entrenched in their current positions that they continue to cock-a-snook at all laws, rules and regulations governing the game of football in this country. They dare fellow clubs, they dare the law, they dare their own parent bodies, they dare the legions of committed supporters, they dare tradition and history. They dare to dare, secure in the knowledge that their financial strength guarantees them the required muscle power and the correct political connections.
Today, the national club of India is staring at the prospect of a long-term ban from top flight football in the country. However, Bagan officials have appealed to the All India Football Federation for a review of its decision to ban the club from I-League matches for three seasons (“Mohun Bagan’s appeal may fall on deaf ears”, Jan 3).
As an ordinary member of the club, I am in a state of despair. So are millions of its supporters world-wide. Unfortunately, the present bunch of officials are duly ‘elected’ and therefore will continue to hold office and happily abuse the club as long as there are sponsors to fund the team annually and parent bodies willing to forgive and forget. This club belongs to the officials. Incidentally, it also belongs to millions of common people and ordinary members with any number of accomplished citizens from all walks of life. It is time that the vast majority of well-meaning club loyalists got together and worked towards taking over the control of the club in a democratic manner. Together we can yet save this great club, we can yet save tradition and history.
Bhaskar Guha, Calcutta
Sir — The AIFF has recently banned the national football club, Mohun Bagan, from the I-League for three years because the latter had refused to play the second-half of the fixture against East Bengal on December 9 following an injury to the defender, Syed Rahim Nabi. This is a matter of serious concern for Indian football. Bagan is considered to be one of the most reputed football clubs of the country and has a massive fan-following. The club has also featured in many movies and has been a home to numerous legendary footballers who have donned national colours. If such a team does not participate in the national league, football will no longer have the same charm and the standards of the game will go down.
Tushar Kanti Kumar, Calcutta
Sir — It is sad to learn that the AIFF has meted out a harsh punishment to India’s century-old football club. On the day of the match against East Bengal, when Syed Rahim Nabi got injured, I left the stadium immediately anticipating the kind of violence that had occurred when rival fans had clashed during a Mohun Bagan-East Bengal match in 1980. Sixteen football fans had been killed and several injured in a stampede. After Nabi got hurt, the situation on the ground had become tense. The referee, Vishnu Chauhan, should have called off the match immediately. The club should just be let off with a huge fine.
Salil Kumar Kar, Calcutta
Sir — In the article, “A preposterous lack”, (Dec 28), Ashok Mitra has aptly evaluated Uday Shankar’s contribution in discovering the artistic potential of Ravi Shankar. The former had put his “youngest sibling” under the watchful eyes of a “relentless task master,” Alauddin Khan. The young Ravi Shankar got much needed “exposure to the big, wide world” as the juniormost member in his brother’s European entourage. He probably “felt the stirring inside” while watching the performances of his illustrious brother and of other famous artists in the team. The sitarist was indeed fortunate to be introduced to a legendary instrumentalist like Khan, who helped him nurture his talent. It was an interesting article, even though Mitra drifted a bit while describing the ups and downs in Uday Shankar’s life. Mitra has rued the fact that in most obituaries of Ravi Shankar, there is a glaring omission, that of the role played by Uday Shankar, compelling him to term it as “collective amnesia”. However, the article does not mention the sacrifice of Annapurna Devi, Khan’s daughter and Ravi Shankar’s first wife. Despite her talent, she went into oblivion, paving the way for her husband’s rise in the world of music.
Indranil Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — The winter season seems to be an unending curse for the poor, who suffer because they are homeless. In some states, the governments have started providing shelters. But only few can avail such benefits because not many are aware of it. The government should also provide woollen blankets and spread awareness about the shelters for the homeless.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,