Fanattic Sports Museum (FSM) is dedicated to all sports, specially Cricket and those featured in the Olympics such as Athletics, Gymnastics, Badminton. We are located in Ecospace Business Park, New Town, Kolkata. Established in January 2017, FSM is the first sports museum in not just Kolkata but also in West Bengal.
It is an initiative by Prof. Boria Majumdar, an eminent historian, writer, commentator and journalist in association with Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group.
The museum consists of sports-related artefacts of various famous sports personalities like Pele, Sachin Tendulkar, Usain Bolt, Roger Federar to name a few.
Prof. Boria Majumdar's Vision
What is the story behind the collection of yours.
As a scholar of Indian sport who studied the history of Indian cricket for a doctoral dissertation, I have 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.
Knowing full well that a private initiative has its limitations and is very difficult to accomplish, I went about collecting artefacts and documenting them in detail for a good part of two decades. It was a very personal and individual dream that needed to go beyond personal confines and see the light of day. And the focus was on a composite collection that covers multi sport for that’s what India should aspire to be- a multi sports nation. Hence the focus on India’s Olympic encounter from the very start in the 1880s and the focus on Indian cricket from its inception even earlier.
In trying to achieve what I was several individuals and friends have helped. For example no thanks can be enough for Sachin Tendulkar. He has given me his 100th 100 gloves, bat, sweater, jerseys etc The same applies for Abhinav Bindra and Sourav Ganguly. Many others like VVS Laxman, Deepa Malik, Devendra Jhajharia, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karun Nair, Mary Kom, Vijender Singh have also contributed. Special thanks to my friends Gopichand and PV Sindhu for giving me her Rio medal winning jersey.
No collection of this nature can ever be complete. At the same time it is good enough to give people a fair idea about how rich our sports history is. And the collection is ongoing. It does fill a gap and in doing so aspires to see many such initiatives across the country.
And how that got turned into a museum?
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. Should I try and buy real estate and go about the job? Can I afford such costly real estate? What is the size of the space that I would need for a museum of quality? Who designs it? Who runs it thereafter? What should be the look and feel of the museum? Things that are not my forte cannot be addressed by me in the right manner. That’s when Harshvardhan Neotia suggested the partnership.
And how Harshavadhan Neotia got associated to your thought?
It was at a meeting in Ecospace which had nothing to do with the museum that I happened to mention my ideas to Mr. Neotia. A man of proven credentials, he asked me how I planned to go about doing it. Honestly, I did not have a clear plan in mind. I knew I wanted to do it but did not know how. The collection was big and good enough but to make it into a museum of quality, which people would love to visit needed serious support. Mr. Neotia with a proven track record decided to support the cause. He offered me space, offered his fullest support in converting the space into a museum, got the best brains in to do so and in some months we are in a position to give the city and the country a museum that fans can be proud off. A very sincere thanks to Mr. Neotia for believing in the cause and doing this for Indian sport.
Prof. Boria Majumdar
D.Phil. University of Oxford.
Senior Research Fellow, University of Central Lancashire
Adjunct Professor, Monash University
Consulting Editor, Sports, India Today Group
Principal Trustee and Secretary, South Asia Research Foundation
General Editor, Sport in the Global Society, Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge)
Executive Editor, Sport in Society (Routledge)
Executive Editor, Soccer and Society (Routledge)
From Harsh Neotia's Desk
Many have asked me why a sports museum? Is it because I am associated with the ISL as co owner of Atletico-de-Kolkata? Or is it because I have followed sport as a fan for many years now? Or is it to do with something else? Frankly, it is about a city’s legacy. Having been associated with Kolkata and having tried to contribute to its growth and regeneration, it is something that came pretty naturally to me when Boria mooted the idea.
When we think of Kolkata a few things immediately come to mind. First and foremost we think of its people and the warmth they generate. We talk about our mishti and our food. And of course we talk about a packed Eden Gardens during an India game or during the IPL and a packed Salt Lake Stadium during a Mohun Bagan East Bengal derby or during an ATK game during the ISL. Sport and the passion for sport is very much a part of this city’s identity and it is only natural that such a city has a world class sports museum to talk about and showcase.
When Boria first mentioned the museum idea a year or so back- he has been working on it for a decade now, the first thing that struck me was his infectious passion. He was living a dream and I was keen to help him turn the dream into a real life thing which generations can see and enjoy and feel inspired. We started the project with a simple vision- this is our legacy, a gift to the city of Kolkata and the sports fraternity of the country.
All we need from our fellow Kolkatans is one thing- you need to come and tell us what you feel about the effort. How do we make it better and how do we make this into the world’s foremost sports museum. The work has just started. The foundation has been built. The superstructure, however, will be built over the years with your support. The dream is gradually turning real.
- Mr.Harshavardhan Neotia