A reporter said about Dhyan Chand’s performance, “with a flick of the wrist, a quick glance of his eyes, a sharp turn and then another turn and Dhyan Chand was through”. Adolf Hitler left his special box in a huff, after Germany’s rout. Next day, he invited him for a meeting the following day. Hitler asked Dhyan Chand what post he holds in India. On learning that the hockey wizard was a mere Naik in the Indian Army, Hitler offered to make Dhyan Chand a Field Marshal if he decides to live in Germany. Dhyan Chand politely refused, saying that he had a large family to look after, in India.
Dhyan Chand won a number of awards and accolades during his illustrious career. One of the most touching gestures came from the residents of Vienna; they built a statue of the Indian with four hands and four sticks, signifying his unparallel control over the ball. During a 1935 tour to New Zealand and Australia he scored 201 goals out of the team’s tally of 584 in 43 matches. Don Bradman and Dhyan Chand once came face to face at Adelaide in 1935, when the Indian Hockey team was in Australia. After watching Dhyan Chand in action, Don Bradman remarked, “He scores goals like runs in cricket” and it is a measure of this man’s innocence that he writes, “The picture of that meeting I will cherish all my life!”
They say you can judge a man is legend by the quality of myths that surround him. By that measure itself, Dhyan Chand was an extraordinary man. To hear tales of his craftsmanship was to wonder whether his stick was designed by Merlin himself. They broke his stick in Holland to check if there was a magnet inside; in Japan they decided it was glue; in Germany, Adolf Hitler even wanted to buy it.
Today forget winning the Gold at Olympics, forget winning a medal in the Asian Games, we cannot even win a qualifying tournament. Such is the ‘fate’ of the game called Hockey.
So, what better honour, in the context of the above, can the nation and we, the Indians, bestow on the greatest hockey wizard and the legend named Dhyan Chand. Nothing less than the Bharat Ratna! But, sadly last year (2017) too, though a few politicians were bestowed with the coveted “Padma Awards”, the Indian government did not still find it honourable and worthy to consider Shri Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna award. Hope this year the hockey wizard will be bestowed with the Bharat Ratna Honour.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)