It is that time of the year when two Indian footballing giants lock horn once again. Mohun Bagan takes on East Bengal in what is supposedly the biggest and fiercest derby in Asia.

Well, the above statement might be a tad bit controversial. Cause many teams might want to lay claim to this honour. The boys from Bengaluru might stand up to say that they have become a force to reckon with. Yes, we agree with that. But then, the excitement that runs through your veins when you hear about to these two rivals, is unmatched. For some, this is just a high profile football match. But for many, it’s a slice a history. A history that has been chiseled out through the rocks of time for almost a century.

Indian football is going to a time of change. Change for the better or worse, we still do not know. But what we know is that these two teams have withstood the test the time. British invasions, independence, wars, these clubs have seen it all. And still, they attract millions of eyeballs each time they meet. The rivalry is fierce. Fierce to the extent that disappointing results have led to riots and even people committing suicides.

Passion defines this derby:

That’s the passion that people carry for this derby. And this passion comes from sheer loyalty. A loyalty that is passed on through generations. When you are a toddler who is just trying to understand what exactly football is, you see your father crying simply because his team won a match. You are so amazed that you decide to give it another look. That is exactly when you start a relationship with the club that is with you for the rest of your lives.

People have been crying foul that football in India is dying and it has no future. It’s losing its shine and supporters. Yes true, to some extent at least. But then you watch a derby and immediately realize that you are wrong. It’s a derby that has stood the test of time. Now when these two teams meet again we want to wish them luck. Let’s not take sides for a moment, cause that would be unfair. Let’s just appreciate football and enjoy the beautiful game.