Wednesday 26 October 2016

Even The Mule Kicks

The first book to even attempt to deal with this subject in a marginally entertaining way, it reads like a set of sociological essays with bursts of schoolboy enthusiasm.
Goalless: The Story Of A Unique Footballing Nation
By Boria Majumdar By Kausik Bandyopadhyay
Viking/Penguin Pages: 312; Rs 595
If Sherlock Holmes had turned his magnifying glass on Indian football, he would have called it the dog that didn’t bark. The tangled demographics of colonial India offered every reason for soccer to have become the national sport.

It was one of the cheapest of sports, and also offered Indians the chance to compete on close to equal terms with the sahibs. Indeed, it was in soccer that Indians first beat their colonial masters way back in 1911. Elsewhere, soccer has become a mass sport for this reason.

Why didn’t it happen here? Goalless is the first book to even attempt to deal with this subject in a marginally entertaining way. As the authors rightly point out, India has a long and venerable history of soccer despite not featuring anywhere on the modern world soccer map. The game is still widely and wildly popular—although more in Eastern India and along the West Coast than in the hinterlands. It’s played everywhere and watched everywhere.

This makes the lack of the development of the game in India even more puzzling. By flipping back and forth through the pages of India’s soccer history in an accessible fashion, this book will at least raise the standard of the debates that are bound to ensue when the big boys kick off in Germany soon.

The tone of the book though varies alarmingly: it reads like a set of sociological essays with bursts of schoolboy enthusiasm. Still, it’s a reasonably fun read and definitely a good bluffer’s guide to Indian soccer.

The Kaapi Cats Bibliofile
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
Bastar’s adivasis are battered by vigilantism, dispossessed by the state’s landgrab and failed by the justice system
MAGAZINE October 20, 2016
Railways only served the ends of imperial loot and barefaced racism
MAGAZINE October 20, 2016
In his debut novel Ajith Pillai pitches mordant irony into the theatre of satire.
MAGAZINE October 13, 2016
A remarkable odyssey, at first in search of a cure for cancer and then, increasingly, in search of understanding.
MAGAZINE October 13, 2016
This analysis of the Republican nominee is more than all his bluster
MAGAZINE October 13, 2016

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016