Football was considered an unholy (napaak) material like a leather shoe in Kashmir in the 19th Century.
This is an interesting coincidence that an English man (Biscoe) who introduced football in Kashmir was faced by rebuke, but his fellow countryman (Robertson-RKFC manager) has been welcomed in Kashmir.
Football’s unusual entry into Kashmir
Football is the most popular game in the world today. In Kashmir, it was introduced in an unusual way. In1891, an English missionary called Biscoe put a football on display in front of his students in a missionary school in Srinagar, Kashmir. The whole school was assembled and they had never seen something like that before in school, or perhaps in their whole life. They started asking innocent questions. The most interesting question about football was about the material used in making of it. As soon as they knew that leather was used to make it, they shouted to put it away as leather was impure (Napaak) as it was used in shoe making.
Biscoe’s School in Fateh Kadal
Biscoe wanted to educate and create consciousness in uneducated people of Kashmir. However, he faced opposition from local general public and learned elite equally. Education was monopolised by few in 19th century Kashmir. Muslim religious leader thought that Biscoe’s efforts for betterment in society were against a “sinister plan of a Christian” to convert the local population. Biscoe with the help of like minded people managed to start a school in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar. This institution laid solid foundations for educating illiterate people of Kashmir.
Real Kashmir Football Club
A lot has changed since Biscoe’s time when football was considered unholy and impure in Jammu and Kashmir. The sport has now become one of the favourites in almost all parts of the state. Football fever has not restricted to downtown Srinagar , it has caught the population in Kupwara, Sopore, Pulwama, Bandipora , Shopian and Jammu. Real Kashmir Football Club is a professional football club based in Srinagar.
First Kashmiri club to paly in foreign land
Real Kashmir is the first team from Kashmir to compete in I-League, the first division of football in India. The club participated in their first national competition in September 2016 when they played in the 2016 Durand Cup. In July 2017 Real Kashmir FC became the first club from J&K to play on foreign land by playing 4 matches in Scotland. Real Kashmir FC is participating in all four categories of the AIFF I-League.
Real Kashmir have received international acclaim following their participation in a BBC documentary called “Real Kashmir FC” that followed the team and their Scottish manager David Robertson.
The current team composition is given below:
|1||LACHENPA PHURBA TEMPA||Goalkeeper|
|3||MASON LEE ROBERTSON||Defender|
|7||KALLUM MICHAEL HIGGINBOTHAM||Forward|
|10||DANISH FAROOQ BHAT||Forward|
|11||RITWIK KUMAR DAS||Midfielder|
|12||SINGAM SUBASH SINGH||Forward|
|22||UJAWAR NABI BHAT||Goalkeeper|