Football great Bir Bahadur in coma, no money for medicines

The family of international footballer Bir Bahadur is struggling to make ends meet in the time of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former India footballer Bir Bahadur at his chaat and pani poori stall at Bolaraum in Hyderabad in 2007.   -  FILE PHOTO/H. SATISH

 

In his prime, in the ‘60s, he was the cynosure of all eyes on the football field. Now, at 75, in coma, Bir Bahadur has no idea what exactly is happening around the world.

The family of the international footballer and one of the best from the stable of EME Centre in Secunderabad is struggling to make ends meet in the time of the coronavirus nationwide lockdown.

The pension from the Army is too meagre to take care of his wife, Devika, two sons Rohit and Vikram — one unemployed and another working in private firm for a paltry salary.

Apparently, he ran into debts after getting his only daughter, Vijayalakshmi, married.

Not long ago, Bir Bahadur would earn his livelihood by selling 'chaat' and 'paani poori' at the Bolarum downtown locality. Nobody recognised him.

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The striker par excellence was a contemporary of Olympians Peter Thangaraj, Nayeemuddin and Yousuf Khan (from Hyderabad) in the big league was itself a tribute to his class as a player. Some of the big names in the Services which represented for close to a decade include Trilok Singh, Doraiswamy and Williams.

When former India captain Victor Amalraj made a courtesy call to his family on Monday evening, he was shocked.

“Honestly, I was expecting him to be in a position to talk. But felt really sad when I saw him in coma with the family being helpless,” says Amalraj in a chat with Sportstar.

“His wife Devika says they badly need some assistance to take care of the medical expenses,” he adds.

All that keeps the family going is hope and the fond memories of the illustrious footballer; such as the photographs with the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the great Shyam Thapa, who made it a point to visit him during the 2003 Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad.

Bir Bahadur during the Santosh Trophy in Hyderabad in 1967.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

Devika is grateful to the cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar for his financial assistance sometime back even while appealing to the officials to help her family now in dire straits.

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