Kolkata club with nationalist flavour completes 100 years | Kolkata News – Times of India

KOLKATA: This Dol or the Holi day will see one of the city’s rich legacy reach a milestone. The 1923 Chhatra Samity at the Raja Subodh Mullick Squarenot only contributed handsomely to the growth of sports and games in Bengal, but also served as a platform for developing a nationalist sentiment during the independence period.
The Samity was blessed and patronised at different times by stalwarts like Acharya Jagadish Chandra BoseAcharya PC Roy, Bepin Bihari Ganguly, Barindranath Ghosh (brother of Aurobindo Ghosh) and many others.

The main objective of establishing Chhatra Samity, which was rechristened 1923 Chhatra Samity during its registration as a society in 1993, was to encourage growth of indigenous games like Hadu-du-du (kabaddi), kho kho and others. Their effort received support from people from all walks of life including people like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose and others who all felt a good body was necessary for a good mind. Even India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sent a message thanking the Samity for popularising such games.
However, all these good wishes did not go unnoticed by the British rulers and the club had to bear the brunt for that too. The then British government ordered suspension of the club’s activities for three years from 1930-33 on suspicion that it was breeding nationalist movement. Even the games popularised by the club bear testimony of the nationalist flavour that was the norm of those days. In the 30s the club devised a game called the ‘Hindustan ball’ which was quite similar to modern-day handball.

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In the post-independent period, the club continued to promote sports and was instrumental in the phenomenal growth of volleyball and later basketball in the state. Players from this club like Ashoke Chandra Ghosh, Sukumar Bose, Samir Chandra Ghosh and Purnendu Bose all went on to represent the country.
The club plans a year-long celebration programme with a cultural show at their premises on the Holi day to be followed by invitational basketball and volleyball tournaments along with felicitations of well-known sports personalities of the state.