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UCLan sports historian to share unseen Indian sporting artefacts

Prominent historian and journalist Boria Majumdar to release unique book

A sports expert from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will share highlights of India’s sporting history through never-before-seen artefacts.

Senior Research Fellow and India’s foremost sports historian and journalist Boria Majumdar has written a book entitled ‘A History of Indian Sport Through 100 Artefacts’ that will be released next month through HarperCollins.  

It brings together never-before-seen artefacts – tickets, scorecards, telegrams, letters, newspaper reports – and facts pertaining to Indian sports.  It includes a variety of tales including the Mohun Bagan team defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1911 to lift the IFA Shield, Ranji’s love poems for Mary Holmes, the 1932 cricket tour of England, India’s hockey exploits at the Olympics, Lata Mangeshkar’s special disc in honour of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian cricket team, and more. Contemporary history and legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, Viswanathan Anand and the exploits at the Paralympics 2016 also claim their space in this fascinating archive.

Except a handful of people who invest in artefacts, Indians are not serious collectors of memorabilia related to the passion they love to consume. This book is an effort to address that vacuum.

Speaking about the book, Boria, who is also the co-author of Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography Playing it My Way, said: “Sports artefacts have hardly been given their due in India, evident in the absence of a proper sports museum in the country. Olympic sports and longstanding national passions like hockey have seen very little documentation. Except a handful of people who invest in artefacts, Indians are not serious collectors of memorabilia related to the passion they love to consume.

“This book is an effort to address that vacuum. My aim is to stimulate further research on the subject and encourage sports fans to memorialise their experiences better. It is a matter of great pleasure that HarperCollins India is partnering me in this endeavour.”

Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, Executive Editor at HarperCollins, said: “This will be a collectors’ edition which all sports lovers will cherish, and it is a privilege to be publishing it. The book offers a snapshot of Indian sporting history through delectable stories, anecdotes and trivia, all complemented by the rarest of memorabilia associated with each sport. It is also an innovative approach to history-telling, and one that I hope will spark more such projects in India.”

The book offers a snapshot of Indian sporting history through delectable stories, anecdotes and trivia, all complemented by the rarest of memorabilia associated with each sport.

The book will be published only months after Boria opened the Fanattic Sports Museum in Kolkata (Calcutta), India’s first ever all-sport museum, using his own memorabilia collection.  The 1,000 item collection showcases collectables from cricketing legends such as Sachin Tendulkar alongside football, hockey, tennis, golf and athletics.

Professor Majumdar works as a researcher at UCLan.  He is currently investigating the impact of mega events on host cities and acts as a supervisor for postgraduate students interested in studying aspects of sport in Indian society and history.  A Rhodes scholar, Majumdar is the author of a number of much acclaimed books on Indian sport. He is an op-ed columnist with the Times of India; consulting editor, sports, for India Today Group and is also one of India's best known television analysts on sport.

Lyndsey Boardman | 01 March 2017