The road travelled by Indian sports so far has been long and arduous – a journey any passionate sports enthusiast would like to be a part of.
Any Indian would feel immense pride when they see the gloves Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra wore while winning India’s first gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or hold the T-shirt badminton star PV Sindhu wore when she won the historic silver medal at Rio.
Just seeing the gloves Sachin Tendulkar wore when he batted his way into the history books or the bat Virat Kohli hit winning runs with could give anybody goosebumps.
We read about the money international cricketers earn. But long before the moolah came into the sport, things were much more humble.
Like the 300-odd INR balance in the account of Col CK Nayadu the first captain of Indian cricket, as seen in his bank pass book below.
These, and many other artifacts related to the journey of Indian sports can be seen in the recently opened Fanattic Sports Museum in Kolkata.
A must for every true sports lover of the country, this 6,700-square-foot museum is situated 25 kms from Kolkata’s city centre at Ecospace in New Town, Rajarhat.
Paralympic medallist Deepa Malik rightly explained the importance of a sports museum.
The way we need temples for solace, peace and guidance, we need temples of sports to reinforce and re-energise ourselves. Unless we get inspired, how do we get thrilled to excel in the future? This is one such temple of sport.
The museum is a walk down memory lane and a reminder of the rich history and culture of sports in the country. It motivates and encourages one to chase their dreams and is a glimpse into the lives of those who have given their blood and sweat to carve their own niche in the field of sports.
Seeing a chess board signed by the legendary Vishvanathan Anand is sure to bring a smile to your face as you bask in the reflected glory of his feats.
Lionel Messi’s Signed Boots, Nadal & Federer’s Kit Bags
The Fanattic Sports Museum is not just filled with Indian sports history.
Besides memorabilia from international cricket history, football lovers can view football star Lionel Messi’s autographed boots and legend Diego Maradona’s t-shirt. Some of the other things at display are the spikes Usain Bolt ran in and signed personal collections from the kit bags of Rafal Nadal and Roger Federar.
Australia’s former captain Michael Clarke recently added to the museum’s collection by presenting his 2015 World Cup-winning jersey signed by his teammates.
To create a monument like this, one needs loads of perseverance, passion, patience and support.
Boria Majumdar, well-known sports historian, journalist and Rhodes scholar was never short of passion and perseverance. His vision to create something like this was inspired by his constant visits to famous Lords cricket museum and The Olympic museum based at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. As a historian and an avid sports lover, it always urged him to collect the pieces of sporting glory.
Boria Majumdar Knowing fully well that a private initiative has its limitations and is very difficult to accomplish, I went about collecting artifacts and documenting them in detail for a good part of two decades. It was a very personal and individual dream that needed to go beyond personal confines and see the light of day.
At the opening ceremony of the museum, Sourav Ganguly along with Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra and Deepa Malik was spot on when he said:
India needed this badly. It is a fabulous effort and people can see and feel inspired by the stuff their heroes have used. It brings history alive and that’s a stupendous effort.
The god of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, fittingly mentioned:
I’ve been to two sports museums overseas: the Bradman Museum and the one at the MCG. This one joins their company. We need to inspire the young to savour our past. This museum isn’t just for Kolkata, it’s for the entire country.