FIFA FEVER: Germany fan from Assam takes loan, builds German stadium in state
GUWAHATI, June 15, 2018 (TNN): With the FIFA World Cup kicking off on Thursday, parts of India are in the grip of a football frenzy and the fine line between fandom and fanaticism is wearing thin.
Among those straddling the line is Putul Borah, a 57-year-old businessman from Diphu town in Assam, who has built an auditorium with a bank loan of ?13 lakh to screen matches for football enthusiasts.
The die-hard fan of Germany has named the auditorium, The German Stadium. Around one hundred people gathered at the 'stadium' to watch the opening ceremony and the first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The evening started with the cutting of a cake designed specially to mark the occasion by former India player Gilbertson Sangma and a host of others. But before that, the people gathered at Borah's residence paid tribute to the two men – Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath who were recently lynched by a mob in a remote village of Karbi Anglong district.
"We are going to watch all the matches at my auditorium from today onwards. But before that we paid our tributes to the two young boys who were lynched. This is a very unfortunate incident which we all condemn. The culprits should be punished and there shouldn't be any such incidents anymore. All of us should be in peace. Let's watch football and spread love," said Borah.
The auditorium can accommodate at least 100 people; 200 more can squeeze in inside the courtyard of his house. All of them can sit together and watch the matches that will be beamed live on a 53-inch screen, with free tea and snacks for company.
A loan of ?13 lakh was a daunting prospect in the beginning but financial constraints ultimately proved secondary to Borah's love for the game. "I have been organising screenings of football matches at my home since 1990. I have always invited people to my home to watch the matches together and offered refreshments to my guests. Thankfully, the State Bank of India sanctioned the loan in my wife's name," he added.