Home > Bengal History, Biography, Calcutta (Kolkata), General > Paresh Lal Roy, Father of Indian Boxing

Paresh Lal Roy, Father of Indian Boxing

Paresh Lal Roy

The Father of Indian Boxing

Marble Bust of P L Roy

Marble Bust of P L Roy

As one walks down the central pathway of the Bhabanipur (Bhowanipore) Cemetery in Alipur a grave marked with a pair of bright red boxing gloves is bound to attracts ones attention. It is the Grave of Paresh Lal Roy, popularly known as P L Roy, the “Father of Indian Boxing.”

P L Roy was an armature boxer and credited for popularizing the sport of Boxing among Indian youths.

Paresh Lal Roy was the third of the six children of Peary Lal Roy and Lolita Roy. Paresh Lal Roy was born in India in 1893 but his family shifted to London in 1901.

He was educated in England, where he picked up the sport of boxing. His younger brother Indra Lal Roy, popularly known as I L Roy, joined the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot and died fighting for the British during World War I (WWI).

He picked up boxing at St. Paul’s School in London and was coached by Billy Childs. He went on to do a MA from Cambridge University and won the inter University Championship. P L Roy had the distinction of being the first Cambridge Blue from Asia.

P L Roy's (Father of Indian Boxing) Grave

P L Roy’s (Father of Indian Boxing) Grave

Like his younger brother I L Roy, P L Roy joined Royal Air Force during WWI, he never qulified as a pilot but won the Royal Air Force (RAF) Boxing Competition.

He returned to India in 1920s and joined the Bengal Railway (now Eastern Railway) as a traffic superintendent and was soon sports officer of the railway board.

P L Roy took up the initiative of popularizing the sport of boxing among Indian youth. During those day boxing was popular only among the Britishers and the Anglo – Indians.

In 1928 under the initiative of P L Roy the first inter railway boxing championship was started in Kolkata (Calcutta). Also in the same year P L Roy founded the Bengal Boxing Federation.

P L Roy’s association with boxing continued well after his retirement, as he trained a generations of youth in the field of boxing. He died in 1979 at the age of 87.

Being a Bengali Christian he was laid to rest at the Bhabanipur (Bhowanipore) Cemetery in Alipur, where is red boxing glove marked grave still draws the attention of every passer by.

P L Roy Indoor Stadium

P L Roy Indoor Stadium

In 2011 Eastern Railway immortalized P L Roy by installing a marble bust of the boxer at the indoor stadium named after the legend.

The P L Roy indoor stadium is located next to the Sealdah Station inside the railway complex of Mondal Rail Probondhok Karjoloy.

The marble bust of P L Roy was unveiled on 20th May 2011 by A K Gupta, Additional General Manager, Eastern Railway.

Reference:

  1. soumyadeep dey
    March 26, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    amdr com. Keno je ekhono boxing ta ke occhuto kre rekecche bujhte pari na…!!!

  2. March 26, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Great article, again. But two observations, if you can clarify. One, so far as i know there was no Bengal Railway in Bengal. East Indian Railway (E.I.R) — the present Eastern Railway — was set up in 1847 after Dwarakanath Tagore’s death. EIR used to cater to a vast stretch with its centre in Howrah and later Sealdah. Another company, Bengal Nagpur Railway (B.N.R) was set up in 1887 which its tell-tale name signifies the places it used to link. Its present form is South Eastern Railway. PL Roy must have worked with EIR, my assumption, because of the present indoor stadium’s location in Sealdah. Secondly, If he died in 1979, he must have been 96 years old, not 87. If it’s 87, then he must have born in 1892. Will you please check the facts Rangan da? I did not know he was buried in Bhowanipore cemetery. But was he a Christian? Converted? Or, by birth?

  3. March 26, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Nice article Rangan Sir, specially because there is not much content about this Legend in the internet………………….But In wikipedia the birth year is written as 1898, here you are mentioning as 1883 but in the gravestone it is 1893……….Which one is correct??………And one more point, as he was a Christian he must have used a Christian name before or in the middle of his name……..What was it?…….Nothing is mentioned in the grave……..P L Roy’s maternal grandfather had the name ‘Goodeve’.

  4. indrani
    March 31, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Interesting info about this great man!
    Great tribute!

  5. akshith
    July 11, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    please can anyone tell where exactly the family of mr. lal roy lives currently?

  6. June 7, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    As far as I know, the Roys were jomidars of Lakhutia in Barisal (now in Bangla Desh)
    I remember my father telling me that their jomidari was huge, a spread over 400 square miles.

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