Tulsidas Balaram, who won Gold medal for India in the Asian Games and also represented the country in the Olympics, passed away on Thursday. He suffered from a prolonged illness. The unfortunate news was confirmed by sources close to his family.
At the time of his passing, Balaram was 87 years old. He was a widower, who lived in Uttarpara, a place on the banks of the Hooghly river in West Bengal.
Balaram was hospitalized in December last year as he was suffering from a urinary infection and abdominal distension.
“His condition did not improve and he breathed his last around 2pm today,” a source close to the family told PTI. “We are grateful to the state government and sports minister Aroop Biswas for taking proper care of him during his last days,” he added.
The 1962 Asiad Champion belonged to the Golden generation of Indian football in the 1950s and 60s, and also played with other Indian legends like Chuni Goswami and PK Banerjee. The trio were together known as the ‘holy trinity’.
He played 27 matches for India and scored a total of 10 goals, all of which were spectacular to watch in their own way. Balaram also played for Indian domestic giants East Bengal and also captained the team in 1961-62. He was also the Calcutta Football League’s top scorer in 1961 and won the IFA Shield with East Bengal in 1958. Balaram has won the Santosh Trophy four times, once with Hyderabad and thrice with Bengal.
Balaram was also bestowed with the Arjuna Award for his exploits in the 1960 Rome Olympics. India were placed in a tough group with Hungary, France and Peru. They lost their match to Hungary 1-2, but Balaram delivered an exceptional performance in the match as he scored in the 79th minute. India also came quite close to pulling off an upset against France a few days later, and that was mainly due to Balaram’s exploits once again. He also scored in their 3-1 loss to Peru in their final match.
He also featured for India at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, where India recorded their best-ever performance, finishing fourth in the event overall.
The iconic footballer played as a centre-forward or a left-winger. He called time on his career in 1963, at the age of 27, owing to his deteriorating health conditions after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.