Yuva Bharati Kridangan 1/undefined by Tripoto

Yuva Bharati Kridangan

Sounak Ghosh
"Ghoti" vs "Bangal"Sports in India may be all cricket, but in Kolkata Football takes priority. It's not just a game here, it is a way of being, a way of life. A football derby is not for the faint hearted. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal battle it out for 90 minutes for bragging rights at the iconic Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Salk Lake. Support is generally (but not strictly) based on ethnic lines between "Ghotis" who root for the century old Mohun Bagan and "Bangals" who are East Bengal fanatics. "Ghotis" are people whose roots lie in West Bengal while "Bangals" are historically from the former East Bengal (after independence - East Pakistan and now Bangladesh). Rivalry is fierce, passions run high and abuses fly profusely in the stands. So passionate is the rivalry that the clubs even have their iconic fishes - the Lobsters of Mohun Bagan and the Hilsa of East Bengal. It is one of the most unique experiences which one cannot have anywhere else in India.Tip: The I-League season starts in January and continues through to May while the Kolkata League starts in July-August. If one is interested, one may visit the city during these seasons to get a taste of this feisty battle.Anecdote: Mohun Bagan is one of the oldest clubs in Asia having been established in 1889. The club won the historic IFA Shield in 1911 playing barefeet against the English who were all booted. The Yuba Bharati Krirangan is the one of the world's largest stadiums, having a capacity of 1,20,000. One of the derby matches had record attendance of 1,31,000.