Be it Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th-century bat and gloves or a complementary ticket of England vs All India 1936 Test match at Old Trafford or a rare letter of WG Grace — sports lovers in Kolkata will now have the chance to see these precious memorabilia under one roof in a recently inaugurated sports museum named, Fanattic Sports Museum (FSM).
It is country’s first all-sports museum and apart from all the cricketing memorabilia, the FSM has a sheer variety when it comes to precious collections from the Olympic sports. Any sports enthusiast would love to ‘touch’ Pele’s 1970 World Cup jersey, Lionel Messi’s boot, Roger Federer’s signed cap, Abhinav Bindra’s Beijing Olympic gold winning gloves, PV Sindhu’s Rio medal winning jersey and Usain Bolt’s spikes – which are all available for public display here.
In the cricket section, there are memorabilia from different eras — from Grace, Don Bradman to VVS Laxman, Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli. The museum aims to enthuse the audience about India’s Olympic encounter from the very start in the 1880’s and focus on Indian cricket from its inception.
A dream comes true for Boria Majumdar
The 6700 square feet museum, which was formally inaugurated by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, along with olympian Abhinav Bindra, Paralympics medalists Deepa Malik and Devendra Jhajharia on Sunday, is a joint initiative by sports historian cum journalist Boria Majumdar and industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia. The memorabilia, which are displayed in the museum, are all private collections of Majumdar. According to him, the inspiration to come up with such museum has come to his mind after visiting MCC Museum at Lord’s and the IOC Museum in Lausanne.
“As a scholar of Indian sport who studied the history of Indian cricket for a doctoral dissertation, I had the good fortune to look at rare sports artefacts for years. It was disappointing to see valuable artefacts not preserved in an organized manner in India. Having visited sports museums across the world, I always asked myself this basic question – why can’t we have a composite museum for sport in my own country? With such a rich heritage and a fandom less to none, we do need to preserve our own sporting history for generations of the future. It can’t be that the best collection on Indian cricket is housed at Lord’s or the best collection on India’s Olympic encounter is housed at the IOC museum in Lausanne,” Mujumdar was saying during the inauguration.
“Turning the collection into a museum was forever the determination. But as I have alluded to above, such a thing is not easy. Resources are a crying need and for the longest time the question that I was grappling with was how to go about converting a personal collection into a museum. Things that are not my forte cannot be addressed by me in the right manner. That’s when Harshvardhan Neotia suggested the partnership. A very sincere thanks to Mr. Neotia for believing in the cause and doing this for Indian sport,” he added.
It’s all about remembering the sporting heroes: Sachin
Speaking on the inauguration, Tendulkar put emphasis on the importance of knowing country’s sporting legacy and remembering the sporting heroes.
“It’s extremely important to know our Indian sporting heroes. We have had so many world class sportsmen who are no more alive but they have brought laurels to our nation, they have earned the country gold, silver and bronze medals.
“We cannot forget them, they are not alive, not in front of us but they should be in our minds and this would help to keep them get inspired and motivated. This is where it all starts where youngsters get inspired by great sportspersons. I congratulate Boria and his team for this amazing museum. It’s not just for Kolkata, it’s for India.
“We prefer to be on sofa and pass statements like aisa khelne chahiye tha, aisa hona chahiye tha…[should have played this way or have done this]. “I’m not saying everyone needs to become a professional sportsperson but to lead an active lifestyle you need to engage yourself in some activities. Burn those calories everyday. On dining table we always don’t mind having an extra paratha. Reverse that and spend those extra five, 10 minutes in the gym. It will help,” the batting maestro said.
It will inspire you: Sourav
For Sourav Ganguly, this place can be an inspiration for young kids who want to become professional sportsperson in future.
“This sort of initiatives may not be as important as playing a cricket match but to keep this game going and keep the games in the minds of people, it’s important. Like all of you who have seen the museum will recollect what Sachin did, the great Bradman, Ian Chappell or MS Dhoni did right throughout their career. It’s in the appropriate place.
“Hope all of you can come and spend time and relive the memories of all the greats who have put in tireless efforts in their careers. Because when you see a Sachin bat on which he scored the 100th century, you feel inspired. It’s a wonderful feature. I know how much time it takes to put up such a wonderful work. More than time, it’s the interest that’s important,” the former Indian captain was saying.
Situated at Ecospace, New Town on the outskirts of Kolkata, the museum will be open for visitors six days a week (Apart from Monday), between 11 am to 7 pm. The entry fee is Rupees 100 and there are discounts available for students and professional athletes.