- yes, it *is* football. When you kick a ball with your foot, it's called football. It's not football when you run around a field passing the ball to each other, tackling each other to the ground. Yes, I'm looking at you Aussie rules "football" fans and yes, you American "football" fans too. But back to what I was saying....
Calcutta, the city I grew up in has 2 major football clubs - Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and when they play, the fans can get pretty aggressive. We also love to claim Baichung Bhutia as our own. Anyway, so for this reason, Bengalis (or Bongs, as we are "fondly" known) are pretty passionate about football. What we're also passionate about is Brazil and Argentina. Football is big in West Bengal (the state in which Calcutta is, for the uninitiated) and if India *ever* qualified for the World Cup, I'm willing to bet anything that the most passionate supporters will be from Bengal. Anyway, so every World Cup the city is divided into its Blue and Yellow factions and well, things can get pretty heated.
I'm not sure exactly when this Brazil-Argentina obsession started but it's pretty strong and I can tell you I was being very un-Calcuttan & un-Bengali by supporting Netherlands last night. Haha ;) So I Googled to see if I could find any answers & I found this (read it!). There were clashes in Bangladesh between Argentine & Brazilian football fans. FYI, Bangladesh & West Bengal share the same language, culture, food etc, back from when we used to be the same country...so there's a shared passion for football as well.
The article says the Bengali obsession for Argentina & Brazil has to do with Pele & Maradona but doesn't explain much else. But anyway, it does explain my point - football, is my genes (watching it, not playing it).
India may have a long way to go till they qualify for the World Cup (if you're interested, this article I read on the BBC website explains a few things about the dismal state of Indian football). In the meanwhile, as the article says "Bengalis are passionate people" and I'm going to cheer loud and hard tonight so let me hear it one more time: