A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Anniversary of Gostha Behari Pal, first captain of India national football team :
Issued by India
Issued on Aug 20, 1998
Issued for : The Department of Post is happy to issue a stamp in memory of this great football player of India.
Stamp : Bharati Mirchandani
FDC & Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Single Colour
Denomination : 300 Paise
Overall size : 4.06 x 2.73 cms.
Printing size : 3.71 x 2.38 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Imported un w/m Adhesive Gravure Coated Stamp Paper in sheets 50.8 x 53.5 cms
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Number per issue sheet : 40
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
Name : Gostha Behari Paul
Born on Aug 20, 1896 at Bhojeshwar, Faridpur, Bengal Presidency, British India [now Bangladesh]
Died on Apr 8, 1976 at Kolkata, West Bengal, India
- Gostha Behari Paul, the doyen of Indian football was born on the 20th of August, 1896, at Bhojeshwar, a small village of Faridpur district (now in Bangladesh). On his arrival at Calcutta in 1907, Gostha got introduced to the game of football in the Kumartuli Park (north Calcutta). In 1911, Mohun Bagan became the first Indian outfit to lift the IFA Shield defeating the Yorkshire Regiment 2-1. The Indians, who had been at the receiving end all the time, suddenly realised the joy of victory over Britishers. The game became very popular in India particularly in West Bengal, and this popularity can perhaps be attributed to the Charisma of Gostha Paul, who became a legend in his lifetime. This barefooted Indian player rose to greater heights of glory. He became a symbol of hopes and aspirations of the pre-independence generation who longed for India and Indians to take their rightful place on the world platform.
- Discovered by Late Rajen Sen at Bhagyakul, Gostha played his first match for Mohun Bagan at the age of 16 in 1913 against Dalhousie F.C. He played for Mohun Bagan, without a break, for the next 22 years till 1935. After a match against the D.C.L.I., Rangoon in the IFA Shield, “Red Rose” wrote in “THE ENGLISHMAN” – ‘GOSTHA IMPREGNABLE AS CHINESE WALL’.
- Gostha Paul’s performance against Durhams in a Rovers Cup final was summed up by ‘THE TIMES OF INDIA’ as – ‘PAUL, THE FINEST BACK EVER PLAYED IN BOMBAY’. Gostha captained the Mohun Bagan Club from 1921 to 1926. He also led the Indian contingent in their first outing to a foreign land, Ceylon, in 1924. But Gostha refused to lead the IFA XI to South Africa in 1934, supporting the views of the Mahatma against apartheid.
- On 27th April, 1962 Gostha became the first footballer to receive the ‘PADMA SHRI’ award from the then President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The Government of West Bengal have honoured this legendary-figure of Indian Football by erecting a 13 feet bronze-statue of him in front of the Akashbani Bhavan, Calcutta. The VIP Gallery of the Mohun Bagan Stadium has been named as the “Gostha Paul Stand”.
- Gostha Paul passed away on 8th of April, 1976. Gostha and his vision can be best expressed in his own words: “In an era, when we (Indians) were humiliated and insulted in every step of life, a life of remorse, the football arena was the only one place, where we could fight them (the Britishers) incessantly. I didn’t fear them, but it was they who feared me”.
- He was an epitome of patriotism, dedication, devotion and discipline. He became an institution who taught us something more than the mere skills of Football. Rakhal Bhattacharya, an eminent journalist, remarked, “India has produced many footballers of quality, but only one Gostha Paul”.
- Text : Based on materials supplied by the Sponsors.