Meet the great hockey major Dhyan Chand who received the Khel Ratna award in his honor


The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Prize will now be known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Prize, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday. Modi said he has received many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Prize in honor of Major Dhyan Chand. “Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Prize will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Prize!” Major Dhyan Chand was one of the greatest Indian sportsmen who brought honor and pride to India. It is only fitting that our country’s highest sporting honor bears his name, ”he tweeted.

But who is Dhyan Chand. All you need to know about great hockey.

• Major Dhyan Chand was born on August 29, 1905 in Allahabad. His family played hockey for the British Indian Army.

• He graduated from Victoria College in Gwalior in 1932.

• During his childhood, Dhyan Chand loved wrestling. He had no particular interest in the sport as such.

• Dhyan Singh was given the name “Chand” after his teammates noticed him usually training at night after his duty hours.

• Thanks to his extraordinary exploits as a goalscorer, the athlete has earned his name and fame in Indian hockey.

• He won three Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936. For his contributions to Indian hockey, Dhyan Chand was also known as the magician or the magician of hockey.

• He has received several accolades, including the third highest Indian civilian honor of Padma Bhushan in 1956. In addition to this, the Indian government also celebrates his birthday on August 29 as National Sports Day.

• The player was the top scorer at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He scored 14 goals, rightly deserving of the name of “hockey magician”.

• For Dhyan Chand, his favorite hockey game memory was the 1933 Beighton Cup final between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes.

• Several reports mention that Dhyan Chand was offered German citizenship by the then German dictator Adolf Hitler. However, he declined the offer.

• During his sporting career of over 22 years, Dhyan Chand scored over 400 goals between 1926 and 1948.


When Adolf Hitler commissioned Nazi Germany’s favorite director Leni Reifanstahl to document the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels could not have imagined that there would be another nation, outside of the United States, which would refuse to salute the Führer. The British India contingent included a group of inexperienced athletes with the sole glory of a two-time hockey team led by its resident magician, Major Dhyan Chand. Global media focused on the United States of America refusing Hitler’s traditional right-arm salute at the opening ceremony, but believed that a contingent of amateur athletes wearing golden “Kullahs” and a light blue turban would do the unthinkable.

The contingent, with their flag bearer Dhyan Chand, refused to salute and it was a decision more emotional than political, taken by the team when the entire Third Reich sang the two national anthems “Deutschland” and ” Horst Wessel Lied ”. In the book ‘Olympic History: The India Story’, co-authored by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta, they quoted Mirza Naseeruddin Masood, member of the gold winning team, as recounting this opening ceremony. “It made a strange impression on the Indian contingent and not an eye was left dry. India stood up before our imaginations… Somehow the spring of our national feelings was touched, and the unity and solidarity of the people in the “Stadium” made us look with shame and regret our poverty, our destitution and our discord. “Masood was an accomplished man beyond the field of hockey as he served the Indian government in a variety of capacities, most notably as private secretary to the Prime Minister of Education of independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

He was also head of the UNESCO mission in Australia, consul general responsible for Muscat, Oman and finally Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. However, one of Masood’s biggest regrets was being refused the post of captain in India in 1936, despite being socially elitist compared to Dhyan Chand. And very few people knew that Masood was actually also one of the five national coaches responsible for appointing the skipper.

Masood had, in fact, clearly expressed his displeasure in a book he had written and published in 1937 “The Hockey World Champions” – 1936 ′. For Dhyan Chand, what India’s match score in these Olympics won’t reveal is the enormous pressure he faced as media suggested the defending champions were no longer. invincible.

Also, the fact that the 1932 Olympics, without the participation of the great European nations due to the Great Depression, became a kind of sham and those who know hockey would say there was no a lot of the fighting that India has faced while still retaining the metallic yellow in Los Angeles. The perception gained credibility when India lost to a Delhi XI 1-4 selected at the Mori Gate pitch in the nation’s capital. It was the same Delhi XI that was beaten 0-12 by the Indian team on their return from LA four years ago. Dhyan Chand, in his autobiography “Goal”, which was first published in 1952 in weekly issues of the iconic “Sport and Passtime” magazine published by the group “The Hindu”, wrote about this pre-Games loss. Berlin.

“… This particular defeat never ceased to worry me. For the first time, I was captain of the Olympic team; Will India lose the title under my responsibility? “, Dhyan Chand’s skepticism was evident in his autobiography. The Hockey Federation only had Rs 6,600 in its coffers According to the book, the Indian Hockey Federation had need Rs 40,000 to send the team and it took the Nizam of Hyderabad and Gaekwads of Baroda to bail them out.

Nizam donated Rs 5,000, Baroda leaders donated 200 GBP (Rs 3,600 INR at the time) and, with contributions from other princely states, ensured that the team boarded the ship. Another Rs 1,700 was spent piloting Ishtiaque Dara on SOS, who played a big role alongside Dhyan Chand in the tournament’s commercial end. Interestingly, in the upcoming 1948 Olympics, Dara had migrated to Pakistan after Partition and represented the new nation.

Training in the Gulf of Aden “The Statesman” sent a correspondent to cover the Games and old reports suggest that the first five days of their trip were difficult and that the players, normally used to training on the bridge, had to postpone their plans. Finally, when the ship stopped for four hours in the “Gulf of Aden”, the Indian contingent found a field of sand covered with bricks for a quick training session.

Suddenly they learned that the 5/14 Sikh Regiment stationed in Aden was using this land. Once rumor spread that Dhyan Chand was there, the whole regiment came out to receive “one of their own” and attend the training session. Autograph of Joseph Goebbels and Herman Goring Two of Hitler’s henchmen – chief propagandist Goebbels and Reichsmarschall Hermann Gring – were there to make sure nothing was overlooked in their quest to complete the makeover of the image of the Führer as well as the conduct of a spotless event for which $ 30 million was spent.

Call it a classic case of contradiction or irony, but those who didn’t want to give Hitler a salute flocked to get autographs from two bona fide war criminals. “One day, while we were in the dining room, only the sturdy Herman Goring should have entered, dressed in his military uniform!” We were after him in the blink of an eye to get his autograph. Later, some of us got the autograph from Dr Goebbels, ”Dhyan Chand said.

Eight-goal affair against Hitler’s Germany Has Dhyan Chand been scrutinized by the media? Of course he did. After India won the opener against Hungary 4-0, the statesman wrote in his report the next day: “Most disappointing was the revelation that Dhyan Chand, the biggest forward. center of the world, had their best days… “How dominant India was at this time could be understood by the fact that even after beating the United States 7-0 and Japan 9-0, the media have explained that “if Germany wins, it will be a lesson for India that it deserves”. The worst of these sightings were nurtured by team manager Pankaj Gupta. However, the tone and tenor changed once France was beaten 10-0 and after Germany was crushed 8-1 in the final, the Berlin “Morning Post” praised the effort. India. Legend has it that Dhyan Chand wanted better speed and mobility and therefore wore sneakers with rubber soles sacrificing conventional spiked boots on the grass field. It helped him to dribble at high speed. He scored a dozen and the ‘Morning Post’ match report contained some unforgettable lines. “It is said that these players slid across the turf as if it were an ice rink and that the wobbling sticks fascinated the normally nimble Japanese.” Dhyan Chand was on top of the world, his team won gold scoring 38 goals, their place in secure annals. He was “Captain Marvel” and accepted into all echelons of society that once discriminated against him.

Before the National Stadium in Delhi, the Austrian capital Vienna had the statue of Dhyan Chand erected. Post Script: Dhyan Chand never met Adolf Hitler in person, and the story of Hitler offering him a post in the German military, according to scholars and researchers, is an urban myth.

(With PTI inputs)

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