India – History and Society – for those who wish to think and learn for themselves
For those who grew up watching Indian football in the 1980s, two names remain etched in their memories. Jamshed Nassiri and Majid Bishkar (often spelt Bhaskar in error).
Both these Iranian footballers hailed from the province of Khuzestan in Iran. Majid was even a member of the Iranian 1978 World Cup footaball team. They both came to Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh to pursue their higher studies. Soon their footballing talents had been spotted and they were recruited by East Bengal Football Club, Calcutta. As Mohammedan Sporting Football Club were going through a period of renaissance, they both moved to Mohammedan soon afterwards. Their skills and prowess soon took Indian football by storm. Mohammedan Sporting won several tournaments playing the most attractive style of football that had been seen in the maidan of Calcutta for a long time. Other top players like Prem Dorji and Atanu Bhattacharya played along with them. It was to be Mohammedan Sporting’s last great period. In the nineties, falling revenues meant that striking attractive sponsorship deals was a must. However, Mohammedan’s reluctance to take on sponsors such as United Breweries meant that sponsors focussed on rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan football club. Lack of financial muscle meant that Mohammedan lost out on players and also lost their way.
Majid is considered by most to be the best footballer to ever grace Indian stadia. An attacking midfielder, he dominated teams during the three seasons he played in Calcutta. However, he was a free spirit, given to experimenting with a variety of substances. Soon, he was back in Iran. It is believed he went into coaching for some time, but few know his whereabouts now.
The other of the pair, Jamshed Nassiri, settled down in Calcutta after a long and fruitful career, particularly in the colours of East Bengal. He remains a coach in Calcutta and is often seen playing for the Parsi Football Club. He remains a very respected figure on the national football scene, giving frank views on the administration of Indian football.
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Picture of Jamshed Nassiri – courtesy of Deccan Herald newspaper, Bangalore