Major Dhyanchand's name is synonymous with Indian hockey. The great hockey player was born on 29th August, 1905 in Allahabad. His father was serving in the British Indian Army and played hockey. The life of Dhyanchand was full of achievements. He not only played hockey but excelled in it and won many medals for himself and India. His fame grew in the World of Hockey to the extent that once Adolf Hitler offered him citizenship of Germany and post of Colonel in his army.
Even today, Dhyanchand remains a legendary figure in the Indian and world hockey. The country celebrates his birthday as National Sports Day to honour his services to the nation.
The life and times of the legendary Hockey player of India, who endorsed Hockey as India's National Game.
Rachna Bhola `Yamini' is a post-graduate in journalism and contributes regularly to columns. A prolific writer she has covered various genre — stories, biography, novel, etc. She has written over 150 books on various subjects. With command over both English and Hindi languages she has translated a number of fairy tales and classics.
Better known as the 'Emperor of Hockey' or 'Magician of Hockey', the undisputed king of the world of hockey, Major Dhyanchand's name is not unfamiliar for anyone. He was one of the shining stars in the constellation of glorious personalities who will continue to inspire and motivate players and people for generations to come. His life sends out a clear message that whatever the means one might adopt, but one should never forget his or her duty towards their country, society or motherland. His or her every action must augment the glory, well-being and prestige of his or her family, society and country.
In childhood, he was a mediocre, there was no sign which would make anyone predict that he could be such an excellent player. So we can say, to some extent, that he did not have any inborn talent for the game of hockey. He acquired this talent with his perseverant hard work, passion, nobility, practice, determination and struggle. The glory he earned does not belong to him alone. It was he who, with his finest performance, compelled the other countries to bite their fingers and made them believe that he might belong to a country under the yoke of foreign rule. Yet his talent was no subservient to any o—tie He possessed the talent which had the power to illuminate the country's name in the entire world.
This magician of hockey played at the centre and forward, and his game in this position led India towards a unique destination. The former player and captain of the Indian hockey team, Major Dhyanchand is counted amongst the best players of the game in India and abroad. He played so marvellously that even his opponents were charmed to look at his game. He was the member of the Indian Olympic team which won the gold medal at the Olympics for three times. Whenever the foreigners watched him playing, they fell short of words praising him. He occupied the zenith of glory in the world of hockey for almost 25 years. Not only this, the other members of his family kept alive the high tradition he set, and continued to serve the country with their game. His entire family earned five Olympic gold medals, a bronze medal in addition to gold, silver and bronze medals in the World Cup; and this achievement is not less than any sort of record.
In the words of a sports journalist:
"Whenever the name of Dhyanchand emerged in the mind, it was natural for all of us to recall the image to the mind when he played hockey in 1932 and 1936 Olympics in which this magician of hockey, whenever touched the ball with his stick, nobody could ever watch his trick, except a ball in the nets of the goalpost."
His birthday is celebrated as "National Sports Day". One of his statues has been installed at Vienna, in which he is shown holding four hockey sticks in four hands. It might appear to be an exaggeration, but he alone could handle the entire opposition team single-handedly. The glorious record that he has set up in terms of popularity, there is no other player in the world who could come somewhere near it, or even match it. The final wish of Major Dhyanchand was that the game of hockey should once again touch its peak that it touched during its golden era. He wished it to regain its past glory, which rightfully belongs to it. May God fulfil his ultimate wish!
It is earnestly hoped that the lovers of sports and other people would be able to draw inspiration from the life of Major Dhyanchand, and I write with this anticipation.
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