DO INDIANS PLAY RUGBY
I often ask around if there are any Indians that would ever make it for the Springboks. Look no doubt Im sure at some functions you will find the Big eaters that could make a powerfull forward line. But jokes aside. Is Rugby an Indian game. Well in Kashmir there is someone.Read further
The rugby wonder from kashmir
“When you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” This magical quote from famous novel ‘Alchemist’ finds all relevance in the life of Mir Mustasan, the 24-year-old rugby player from Amity Law School (ALS). A mere quote which reads, “Gentlemen play hockey, boys play football and men play rugby” was enough to inspire this youngster from Kashmir to try his hands in rugby. He fought past all adversities, negotiated with all tribulations and reached the place he always aspired to.
When he thought of taking up the game, he did not get the support that he would have wanted. He comes from a family, which has a rich medical background. “I always had in me from the beginning to do something different. And what could be a better than rugby. Initially I faced a lot of problems because I had my folks advising me against the game. Rugby for them was sheer bloodshed and nothing more. It was not considered as a sport. But I still held my ground and continued in pursuit of my dream,” said Mir. Among the people who were against his idea of joining rugby was his father, Basarat Salim a doctor by profession and a member of the planning commission. Mir started playing in the year 2005, when he was only 18 and was a member of the first J&K rugby 7’s team. “I started playing at the age of 18 which is rather a very late start because the career span of a rugby player is very short,” added Mir.
Well obviously coming from a state like Kashmir and making a name in Kashmir has not been a cakewalk for him. Apart from the vehement oppression that was meted out to him by his family, he also faced serious problems when it came to infrastructure. “When I started playing rugby back in 2005, no one knew about it in Kashmir. We were passionate guys who wanted to play rugby and were seen as hooligans. We never had any grounds, no proper infrastructure, nothing. But it was the determination which helped me in every walk of the life. I never got intimidated by anything,” said the 24-year-old rugby player from ALS. His fervor for the game was so intense that multiple surgeries which made him bed ridden for more than two years could not stop him. “I had a cyst in my leg due to which I had to undergo multiple surgeries and was advised to be off the field for two and half years. But that did not dampen my hopes,” he added.
His team J&K is in the B –division league and his sole aim is to bring them to A-division. “Kashmir plays in the B-division, but I would definitely bring it up to A- division. I have seen rugby evolve in Kashmir in front of my own eyes. The infrastructure has been developed a lot for rugby in Kashmir and that has drawn a lot of kids to the game. I see Kashmir as new force to reckon to in Indian rugby and trust me I would be the one who would be spearheading that,” added the passionate rugby player. Mir, who was 58 kilos when he started playing rugby, is now 105 kilos. He acquired that kind of mass only because he wanted to play as a forward, rather than being in the backline.
Inspiration to others
Despite the fact that rugby is not a suitable career for any Indian to pursue, he has been able to inspire his family into the game incredibly. His younger brother, Mohd Basarat, who is just nine-year-old, has taken to the game and shows more grit than him. Also four of his other cousins have taken to the game of rugby and all of them have played district and state level.
Mir has just signed in with Delhi Lions, which is one of the best clubs of India. He wishes to continue playing with them as long as possible. He would also be taking part in EFL, the Indian version of NFL which is going to start from next year and would involve eight top teams of India. “I have joined Delhi Lions and god willing I would continue with them as long as possible,” he said. Mir is also very optimistic about the EFL and believes that it would change the face of Indian rugby. “EFL would wonders for the game in India. It would start pumping in money for the game and I guarantee it would grow bigger than IPL in five years from the day of it starts,” added Mir.
Mir is highly indebted to his Delhi Lions coach Hiralal Bhasin, who is an inspirational figure to him. Hiralal’s love for the game is something which he looks up to. “My coach just loves the game. He built a stadium with his own money, so that the boys have a place to practice. He also takes care of the expenses of the guys who come from Haryana to the camp. He does all that because the rugby association does not have any money. Such is his love for the game that he lost a left finger due to the game. He is seriously a great character to idealize,” said Mir. He is also indebted to the director of ALS Maj. Gen Nalinder Kumar, without whose moral support it would not have been possible for him to play the game. “He helps me morally and also academically. I never face any sort of trouble when it comes to my academic part,” he added
He has a very simple philosophy. ‘If you have to die, then why die on the bed, die on the field’ and he lives by it. He never had anything to prove to anyone, rather than himself. He loves the taste of blood on the field and waits to take down his opponents who come charging like a bull. On the field his opponents are enemy, but off it they are brothers. He also finds it very useless to accept medals and certificates. “Till date I have not collected a single certificate, because I don’t need them. I don’t play to get a government job. To me honor is in holding the ball, not the trophies,” said Mir.
By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
About the Author
Samikshan Dutta Choudhury is a reporter with www.indiansportsnews.com