Cancer warrior Bapi Majhi to 84-year-old Shanti Chakraborty – The tale of two Mohun Bagan super-fans

Shanti Chakraborty and Bapi Majhi, the Mohun Bagan Super Fans

For the Mohun Bagan fans in the city, all roads will lead to the Yuvabharati Krirangan on Saturday as their favourite club will take on Mumbai City FC in the final of ISL 2023-24 season. 84-year-old Shanti Chakraborty and cancer warrior Bapi Majhi will be passionately following each action in the final. For them Mohun Bagan is not just a football club; it’s a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of unity. Through victories and setbacks, its fans remain united, carrying forward the legacy of a club that is more than just a team—it’s a way of life.

Shanti will be in front of the TV set to watch Subhashish Bose and co take on Mumbai. Residing in the small and shabby 8 ft by 6 ft room at Ankur Datta Lane in Boubazar, the veteran widow’s passion and love is Mohun Bagan. Despite losing her husband and elder son, her biggest source of inspiration is the green and maroon jersey. Affectionately called Dida (grandma) by the green and maroon fans, Shanti was awarded the best fan by the club during Mohun Bagan Day celebrations last year.

According to Shanti, “My father-in-law was an ardent fan of the club too. He used to bring new sarees and sweets every time Mohun Bagan won a match. But on days, when the team lost, he ensured every member in the family is on fast.”

Another super-fan of the club is Bapi Majhi, who is also a cancer warrior. He is a regular face at all the fixtures of Mohun Bagan in Kolkata and elsewhere in the country for last three decades. Bapi owns a small tea shop in Paikpara. Back in 2015 he was diagnosed with colon cancer but that did not stop his passion. He had to sell a room to afford his travels to cheer for his beloved club.  

“I started going to watch the matches from 1984. After I was diagnosed with cancer, it was a very tough period for our family. I have my wife and only daughter. The earnings from the tea stall were not enough. So, I decided to sale one room to pay the debts,” said an emotional Bapi over the phone to Revsportz.

He added, “Mohun Bagan club is like my mother. I get an inner power whenever I go to the club. During the National League, I started going to the ground wearing a special green and maroon dress. And I continue wearing it whenever there is a game.”

On Saturday, Bapi will be in his attire at the stands to cheer for Petratos, Cummings and co. For fans like Bapi, supporting their team goes beyond the ninety minutes on the field. It’s about identity, belonging, and a sense of pride in their cultural heritage. The green and maroon colors of the club are not just colors; they represent a legacy of glory and resilience that spans over a century.

Come Saturday, May 4 as the Yuvabharati Krirangan will once again witness a full house as the stands will turn green and maroon. Irrespective of the result, the story of Bapi Majhi and Shanti Chakraborty provides a source of inspiration for every Mohun Bagan fan.