It’s the season of making biopics in Bollywood. After the tremendous success of Bhak Milka Bhag and Mary Kom, it’s time for a movie on Dhyan Chand, yes the most celebrated hockey player. As I read this news I was filled with excitement and couldn’t stop myself from writing about one of the most popular, fascinating sportsperson the world has ever seen.
The hockey magician needs no introduction in India and is widely popular as the greatest field hockey player of all time. Born to a father who was a part of British Indian Army, Dhyan Chand joined the Indian Army as a young boy of 16 years. He started playing Hockey in his army training days just like any other sport and reached to a pinnacle where rest of all became a history to celebrate.
Let’s know a little more about the most inspiring achievements and untold stories of the hockey legend.
- In 22 years of his career he has scored more than 1000 goals.
- He has scored more than 400 goals in his international career.
- He was honoured with Padma Bhushan(India’s third highest civilian honour)
- His birthday, 29th of August is celebrated as National Sports Day in India.
- Dhyan Chand Award is India’s highest award for lifetime achitevement in sports.
- India won 3 olympic gold medals when he played- 1928, 1932, 1936.
- He led the team in his captaincy for 1936 Berlin Olympics which made a historic victory.
Hockey Was Just Like Other Sport
Dhyan Chand’s father played hockey as a sport when he served the army. His brother was also a hockey player but this didn’t make much of an impact on him as he had no serious inclination towards sports. Its only when he joined Indian Army, he started playing hockey as a routine and cultivated interest in it and later you know what happened 🙂
I wrote this point because maybe most of us deal with that phase of life where we don’t know what we want in life but still continue to find it. I believe zeal and zest held his spirits high to find his passion. If not hockey he would have found something else to make it big. The way how we see life matters a lot and you never know when you would get your ‘blessing in disguise’
The ‘CHAND’ As We Call Him
When Dhyand Chand found his interest in hockey, he started practicing it with much enthusiasm and hard work. As he worked in the Indian army, he hardly got free time to practice. He started practicing hockey in the night after his duty hours. He waited for the moon to glow up for visibility in the field and hence received a pet name of CHAND (meaning moon) by his fellow teammates. He sure remained the CHAND of Indian Hockey. Didn’t he?
Man of Accuracy
Dhyand Chand was unable to score a goal against the opposition team in a hockey game even after many trials. He found something wrong with the goal post. He pointed out to the match referee saying that the measurement of the goal post was incorrect. And when the field was measured, it was found to be an incorrect measurement with respect to the international standards.
Don’t you agree with me if I say he was a ‘Man of Accuracy’?
Much More than Hockey.
The team performed so well under the captaincy of Dhyan Chand at the 1936 Berlin Olympics that the unshakeable Adolf Hitler walked out in the middle of the game unable to see his country lose the game.
After the remarkable win of India, Dhyan Chand was approached by Hitler and Hitler offered him saying “Come over to Germany and I will make you a Field Marshal” for which Dhyan Chand politely refused.
You are tired of hearing about match fixing very often. Dhyan Chand had much more requirement and necessities than the players of today. We are sure the principles, beliefs and patriotism was much more than just the sport.
1936 Olympic win is much more special to us as the captain Dhyan Chand removed his footwear and played barefooted hockey. He couldn’t let the discomfort of playing with shoes in wet ground take away his team’s victory.
His Take on Sportsmanship and Life
“Often situations arise during a game when you are provoked. But you should exercise tolerance and show sportsmanship by putting restraint on your temper, and then the game will go on serenely as if nothing has happened. But if you take one false step, the field becomes an ugly scene. You lose your value both as a player and as a man.”
Magician With a Hockey Stick
- Can you believe Dhyan Chand was suspected many times to have used a customized hockey stick? The Netherlands authorities once broke his hockey stick to check if there was a magnet inside.
- His grip over hockey stick fascinated people. A few believed he could play only with his hockey stick as it was some magical stick. A lady once challenged him to play with her walking stick. He gracefully accepted the challenge and showed his magic which left people mesmerized.
- Dhyan Chand was so popular with his magical stick work that a German newspaper carried a banner headline – ‘The Olympic complex now has a magic show too.’ And the next day, there were posters all over Berlin: Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action
- Residents of Vienna, Austria, honoured him by setting up a statue of him with four hands and four sticks, depicting his control and mastery over the ball.
- Iconic cricket legend Don Bradman after watching Dhyan Chand play remarked “He scores goals like runs in cricket”
If you wish to know more about Dhyan Chand visit bharatiyahockey.org and here a small video of 1936 Berlin Olympics
Do join us for more such updates,