Award Name : Arjuna Award
Year of Award : 1962
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Tulsidas Balaram also known as Tulsidas Balaraman, is a retired footballer from India who had represented the country in international competitions including Olympics games. He was born on 30 November 1936 in Bolaram, Secunderabad, British India. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest football strikers, India has ever produced. Balaram made his mark playing football for the East Bengal Club in Kolkata. He was one of the best players of the golden age of Indian football of 1950's and 1960's. His playing position was as a center forward or as a left winger. Balaram’s performances against International teams are no less spectacular. He was one of the prime components of India’s Gold winning team of 1962. He played every single game and scored goals against Thailand and Japan. Balaram came during Rome Olympics anticipated his pass to make the scoreline 2-1. India didn’t defeat Hungary but almost upset ’58 World Cup semi-finalists France few days later. Balaram was again unstoppable as India held on to a 1-0 lead deep into second half. Sadly, a mistake from Ram Bahadur denied India a famous victory.
According to Balaram’s best game for India came against Hong Kong in 1958 Asian Games. The match went into extra time after the scoreline was 2-2 during normal time. Balaram showed peak performance in extra time, assisting two goals and scoring once as India ran out 5-2 victors. Famous journalist Ajay Basu described Balaram as superb inside forward. Basu further said that his improvisation, industriousness and ability to hit curling shots were second to none. While Chuni Goswami had more flair in his play, Balaram had more variety and versatility. 1961 Balaram was selected as East Bengal captain – he led from the front and played one of his best ever seasons. He top scored with 23 goals, won the league’s best player award and also led his club to do a double over Mohun Bagan. His popularity among the Red & Golds faithful knew no bounds. In early 60s, Mohun Bagan’s Dhiren De once tried hard to sign Balaram for the club. Balaram retired in 1963 owing to health related issues. His absence was strongly felt by the Indian team in Asian Cup the following year. In 1962, he received the Arjuna Award.