15th August, Independence Day of India and the foundation day of National Club of India Mohun Bagan Athletic Club. Mohun Bagan Sporting Club, as it was initially known, was founded on 15 August 1889. The club’s first meeting was held at 14, Balaram Ghosh Street in Kolkata and included several high profile individuals including Bhupendra Nath Bose who was later to become the President of the Indian National Congress. The club’s first secretary was Jatindranath Basu.
The club’s first ground was at the famous marble palace, known as Mohun Bagan Villa. It was situated at Fariapukur Street, in northern Kolkata. Not sufficiently large enough as football field, it is believed that Mohun Bagan played their first ever match on this very ground against the students of Eden Hindu hostel. The club’s membership requirements at this time stipulated that the management required students to join with permission from their parents, and special attention was given to etiquette and education. Shortly before the club’s first anniversary, students of Presidency College, who were also the members of Mohun Bagan, invited their professor, the famous grammatologist Prof. F.J. Rhow to visit. Rhow pointed out that due to a lack of facilities for sports such as shooting and angling, the word ‘Athletic’ would be more appropriate. Thus, the club came to be known as "Mohun Bagan Athletic Club". The 2nd anniversary assembly was presided by Sir Thomas Holland who was later appointed as a member of Governor General Council.
In 1891, the benevolence of the Maharaja of Shyampukur, Durga Charan Laha saw the club’s ground relocated to his grounds at Shyampukur. Later, with the assistance of Mr. Harry Lee, the chairman of Kolkata Corporation, the club’s ground moved to Shyam Square which it now shared with the Aryans Club and Bagbazar Club. Mohun Bagan’s first tournament was the Coochbehar Cup, which was held in 1893. Mohun Bagan’s first opponent team was a European team, the ‘C’ Company of Sussex Regiment.
The first sport to be played is reported to be football, but other games were soon introduced to the club. This included hockey, tennis, badminton and athletics. Cricket was introduced to the club’s schedule in the 1900s. The annual athletics event at the club is held with great pomp and show.
The biggest event in the club calendar is the Mohun Bagan Day. This is held on 29 July, which is the day the football team lifted the IFA Shield for the first time in 1911 defeating the British. "Mohun Bagan is not a football team. It is an oppressed country, rolling in the dust, which has just started to rise its head" – said Achintya Kumar Sengupta in "Kallol Jug" magazine after the historic victory of 1911 IFA Shield.
A postage stamp was issued by the Government of India in 1989 during the club’s centenary year to commemorate the 1911 victory of the team. The then Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi honoured Mohun Bagan with the title as the "National Club of India" for boosting up the Indian Nationalism which occurred after this win.
May be it is co-incidence but foudantion of Mohun Bagan and Independence of India came in same date except the years. It is true that Mohun Bagan’s IFA Shield victory brought storm to the freedom fighting of India. The confidence of younf bengali and Indian youth became strong by this incidence. This year Mohun Bagan is celebrating 100 years of that memorable victory. Being a Mohun Bagan players and supporters everybody feels so proud .
MohunBaganclub.com wishes all the fans very very happy Independence Day.