ibnlive » Sports

Aug 03, 2006 at 11:29pm IST

Olympian footballer Parab dead

Mumbai: Barring cricket, other sports often get step-motherly treatment in India.

The life of Ramchandra Parab, a footballer who played for India in the 1948 Olympics, in England, is one example.

Forgotten by the government after his career ended many years ago, he died in Mumbai on Tuesday amidst poverty, sickness and neglect.

This was Ramchandra Parab the last time we met him - sick and forgotten - in his one room home in Mumbai.

Once the nation's hero as a part of India's 1948 Olympic football team, he was subsequently forgotten and destined for poverty.

Parab passed away on Tuesday after a prolonged illness. His family today is angry at the many decades of government apathy.

Vasant Parab, son of Ramchandra Parab expresses his frustration. "The government did nothing. He made a name for himself, did his country proud. He should have got his due respect."

Ramchandra Parab was the hero of his community, loved by his family and neighbours.

While they're proud of what he achieved for Indian football, they are saddened because of the way the state government treated him.

Nitin Kodgitkar, Ramchandra Parab's neighbour says, "The whole nation should be proud of him. The fact that he met his fate in this way is shameful."

Unlike his father Vasant Parab couldn't pursue football. Today Vasant wishes his son will take to the game.

Vasant says, "My father worked hard, toiled to make a name in the Olympics. I’ll get my son to follow into his footsteps. I’ll tell him – ‘look how much hard work your grandfather did, he played in the Oympics."

Ramchandra Parab was part of a historic Indian football team. He may have died only on Tuesday, but to the government and the world he was forgotten much before that.

His legacy however, will continue.