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Major
Dhyan Chand
PB
Dhyan Chand closeup.jpg
Born (1905-08-29)29 August 1905

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad.[1] He was the elder brother of another hockey player Roop Singh. He was born to mother Sharadha Singh and father Sameshwar Singh. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army. Dhyan Chand had two brothers – Mool Singh and Roop Singh.Because of his father's numerous army transfers, the family had to move to different cities and as such Chand had to terminate his education after only six years of schooling. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Being in the military, his father got a small piece of land for a house.

Young Chand had no serious inclination towards sports, though he loved wrestling. He stated that he did not remember whether he played any hockey worth mentioning before he joined the Army, though he said that he occasionally indulged in casual games in Jhansi with his friends.[2]

Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16. The Hindi word Chand literally means the moon. Since Dhyan Singh used to practice a lot during the night after his duty hours, he used to wait for the moon to come out so that the visibility in the field (during his era there were no flood lights) improved. He was hence called "Chand", by his fellow players, as his practice sessions at night invariably coincided with the coming out of the moon.

Between 1922 and 1926, Chand exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games. Chand was ultimately selected for the Indian Army team which was to tour New Zealand. The team won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1, receiving praise from all spectators. Following this, in the two Test matches against the New Zealand squad, the team won the first and narrowly lost the second. Returning to India, Chand was immediately promoted to Lance Naik.

After successfully lobbying for reintroducing field hockey in the Olympics, the newly formed Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) made preparations to send its best possible team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. In 1925, an Inter-Provincial Tournament was held to select India's national field hockey team. Five teams participated in the inaugural nationals – United Provinces (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces. Chand got permission from the Army to play for the United Provinces team.

In its first game in the tournament. Dhyan Chand as the centre-forward, and Marthins, their inside-right, were particularly happy in their understanding of each other. Dhyan Chand attracted much attention by his clever stick-work. His penetrating runs and judicious passes seemed to assure for him a position in the team that is to take part in the Olympic Games.

Quite early in the game, it became evident that Dhyan Chand was again at his best. In combination with Marthins he took the ball away to the right and Marthins did well to give him a good pass. Quick as lightning, Dhyan Chand shot a goal. The ball struck one of the defenders' stick and went into the net, giving goalkeeper Collie no chance. A goal within 3 minutes of the start was more than what the most optimistic of the UP supporters could expect. At the interval, UP led by three goals to nil.

On their part, Rajputana put every ounce of their efforts to score. The UP goal had more than one narrow escape, but were the winners of a fine exhibition match (3-1).

Buoyed by the success of the Tournament, it was decided that it would be held every two years. After two more trial matches between various hopefuls, the Olympic team (including Chand as center-forward) was announced and assembled in Bombay. Center-half Broome Eric Pinniger was selected as the captain. The IHF was initially low on funds since the provinces of Bombay, Madras and Burma had turned a deaf ear to their financial appeal, but they managed to scrape enough money. The Olympic team then played a match against the Bombay XI, and amazingly lost 3-2, even though Singh scored both his team's goals. With a quiet send-off, the team left for England on 10 March, to play 11 matches against local sides as well in the London Folkestone Festival in 1927, winning all. It was also said that the Great Britain did not send a team in 1928 Amsterdam Olympics after their national team was defeated by the Indian team at Folkestone. This is best cited in Kapur's book "Romance of Hockey" where a despatch of H. Sutherland Stark, London representative of "Sports", a magazine of Lahore, tells the story better than any other comment : "For reasons it is difficult to understand the English Hockey Association have taken up a very stiff attitude towards Indian Hockey in recent years and have repeatedly been twitted about it by even their own supporters. The Editor of a leading sports newspaper described them to me as an intensely conservative body, but there seems to be something more than conservative behind their unwillingness apparently ever to meet India ina full international encounter"[3] Finally, on 24 April, the team arrived in Amsterdam to embark on a tour of the Low Countries. In all the pre-Olympic matches against local Dutch, German and Belgian teams, the Indian team won by large margins.

In the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics, the Indian team was put in the division A table, with Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland . On 17 May the Indian national hockey team made its Olympic debut against Austria, winning 6-0, with Chand scoring 3 goals. The next day India defeated Belgium 9-0; however Chand only scored once. On 20 May, Denmark lost to India 5-0, with Chand netting 3. Two days later, he scored 4 goals when India defeated Switzerland 6-0 in the semi-finals.

The final match took place on 26 May, with India facing the home team of the Netherlands. The Indian team's better players Feroze Khan, Ali Shaukat and Kher Singh were on the sick list and Chand himself was ill. However, even with a skeletal side, India managed to defeat the hosts 3-0 (with Singh scoring 2), and the Indian team won its country's first Olympic gold medal. Keeper Richard Allen did not concede any goals. Chand was the top scorer of the tournament, scoring 14 goals in 5 matches. A newspaper report about India's triumph said,[4]

On returning to India, the team was received by thousands of people at the Bombay harbor, compared to the three people who had seen them off.

Posted in Waziristan in the North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) with his new 2/14 Punjab Regiment, Chand was cut off from the IHF, which was by now controlled by civilians. The Inter-Provincial Tournament was being held to select the new Olympic team; the IHF wrote to the Army Sports Control Board to grant Singh leaves to participate in the nationals. His platoon refused. Chand received news that he had been selected by the IHF for the Olympic team without any formalities. The rest of his teammates however, had to prove their skills in the Inter-Provincial Tournament, which was won by Punjab. As such, seven players from Punjab were selected for the Olympic team. Apart from Chand, Broome Eric Pinnigar, Leslie Hammond and Richard Allen were the other 1928 Olympians retained in the team. Chand's brother Roop Singh was also included in the squad as a left-in. Lal Shah Bokhari was selected as captain.

The Olympic team then played practice matches in India before heading for Colombo. In two matches in Ceylon, the Olympic team beat the All Ceylon XI 20-0 and 10-0. Wrote one newspaper on the first match,[5] "Perfection is perilous, for it tempts the gods. For once, this was proved wrong for even the god of weather paid tribute to the genius of the Indian players. Rain clouds, which had threatened to ruin the game, vanished into the blue, and thousands of spectators spent a happy hour marveling at the incomparable artistry of the Indian team."

The India team set sail for San Francisco on 30 May, and arrived on 6 July. They reached Los Angeles three weeks before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which took place on 30 July. On 4 August 1932, India played its first match against Japan and won 11-1. Chand, Roop Singh, Gurmit Singh each scored thrice, and Dickie Carr once. In the final on 11 August, India played against hosts USA. India won 24-1, a world record at that time (until it was broken in 2003), and once again clinched the gold medal. Chand scored 8 times, Roop Singh 10, Gurmit Singh 5 and Pinniger once. In fact, Chand along with his brother Roop, scored 25 out of the 35 goals scored by India. This led to them being dubbed the 'hockey twins'.

One Los Angeles newspaper wrote,[6] "The All-India field hockey team which G. D. Sondhi brought to Los Angeles to defend their 1928 Olympic title, was like a typhoon out of the east. They trampled under their feet and all but shoved out of the Olympic stadium the eleven players representing the United States."

The team then embarked on a tour of the United States. They played a match on 20 August against a United States XI, almost the same team that they had faced in Los Angeles. Even after loaning its second keeper Arthur Hind, for a half, the team won 24-1.

After setting sail from New York, the team arrived at England. The then embarked on a hectic tour, playing nine matches in various countries in a fortnight, commencing on 2 September. They played four internationals-against the Netherlands, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The team then reached Ceylon and India, playing a number of matches to pay for their expenses. At the end of the tour, India had played 37 matches, winning 34, drawing 2, with one abandoned. Chand scored 133 of the 338 Indian goals.

In India he is often referred to as 'Hockey ka Jaadugar' with translates to "Magician of the game of Hockey". It is also rumored Chand used to practice ball control by sprinting along the length of railway tracks while balancing the ball on the track rail.

He has studied at Aligarh Muslim University.[7]

Captaincy and 1936 Berlin Summer OlympicsEdit

 
Indian hockey captain Dhyan Chand at 1936 Berlin Olympics

In 1933, Chand's home team, the Jhansi he Heroes participated in and won the Beighton Cup, which he considered the most prestigious of Indian hockey tournaments. Later, he would state,[8]

 
Dhyan Chand with the ball vs. France in the 1936 Olympic semi-finals

In Kolkata, the Heroes also won the Lakshmibilas Cup tournament, which was open only to Indian teams. In 1935, they successfully defended their Beighton Cup title, though lost the subsequent year.

In December 1934, the IHF decided to send a team to New Zealand in the new year. Chand and his brother were immediately selected. When the Nawab of Manavadar declined to play, Chand was appointed captain. In the subsequent tour, the team played a total of 48 matches on this tour, with 28 in New Zealand and the remainder in India, Ceylon and Australia. India won every match, scoring 584 goals and conceding only 40. Of these 48 matches, Chand played 23 and scored a total of 201 goals.

Upon returning to India, Chand resumed his duties in the barracks. In December 1935, the IHF decided to stage the Inter-Provincial tournament to select the Olympic team. Chand was again denied permission to leave his platoon, though once again he was selected without formalities. The final team assembled in Delhi on 16 June and played against the Delhi Hockey XI. Incredibly, they lost 4-1. After this inauspicious start, the team went on a successful tour of the subcontinent, finally departing for Marseilles on 27 June. They arrived on 10 July, and after an uncomfortable journey in third-class compartments, reached Berlin on 13 July. On 17 July, the Indian team played a practice match against Germany and lost 4-1. As such, manager Pankaj Gupta informed the IHF that Ali Dara had to be sent immediately to replace the out of form Mirza Masood.

On 5 August, India won its first match against Hungary 4-0. India won the rest of the group matches against USA (7-0, with Chand scoring 2 goals) and Japan (9-0, with Chand scoring 4). On 10 August, Ali Dara arrived. Their fourth match was the semi-final against France, whom they defeated 10-0, with Chand scoring 4 goals. Meanwhile, Germany had beaten Denmark 6-0, beaten Afghanistan 4-1 and in the play-offs, had defeated the Netherlands 3-0. Thus, India and Germany were to clash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics field hockey final on 19 August.

 
Dhyan Chand scoring a goal against Germany in the 1936 Olympics hockey final

On the morning of the final, the entire team was nervous since they had been defeated the last time they had faced Germany. In the locker room, Pankaj Gupta produced a Congress tricolour. Reverently the team saluted it, prayed and marched onto the field. The German team was successful in restricting the India side to a single goal until the first interval. After the interval, the Indian team launched an all-out attack, easily defeating Germany 8-1, incidentally the only goal scored against India in that Olympic tournament. Chand top-scored with 3 goals, Dara scored 2 and Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffar one each. Describing the game, the Special Correspondent of The Hindu wrote,[9]

There have been many erroneous media reports over the years claiming that Dhyan Chand scored 6 goals in India's 8-1 victory over Germany in the 1936 Olympic final. However, Major Dhyan Chand in his autobiography titled “Goal!” published in 1952 by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, writes as follows:

“When Germany was four goals down, a ball hit Allen's pad and rebounded. The Germans took full advantage of this and made a rush, netting the ball before we could stop it. That was the only goal Germany would score in the match against our eight, and incidentally the only goal scored against India in the entire Olympic tournament. India's goal-getters were Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffar with one each, Dara two and myself three.”

The record for most goals by an individual in an Olympic final has belonged to Balbir Singh, Sr. another famous Indian hockey hero since the 1952 Helsinki Olympic games. He set this record by scoring 5 goals in India's 6-1 victory over the Netherlands for the gold medal win. The previous holder of this record was England's Reggie Pridmore with his 4 goals in England's 8-1 victory over Ireland in the 1908 Olympic final.

International Hockey Federation records also attribute only 3 of the 8 goals to Dhyan Chand in the Berlin Olympic final.

The final was included in the Leni Riefenstahl film on the 1936 Olympics, Olympia. Overall, in 3 Olympic tournaments, Chand had scored 33 goals in 12 matches.

East African tour and final tournamentsEdit

After returning from Berlin, Chand joined his regiment. Between 1936 and the commencement of the War in 1939, he largely confined himself to army hockey, with one visit to Kolkata to take part in the Beighton Cup tournament in 1937. before the beighton Cup, Chand spent four months in a military camp in Pachmarhi to attend military classes. Later, he was promoted to Lieutenant.

Towards the closing phases of the war, Chand led an army hockey team which toured around the battlefields in Manipur, Burma, the Far East and Ceylon. When the war ended in 1945, Chand decided that the Indian hockey team needed new young players. In 1947, the IHF was requested by the Asian Sports Association (ASA) of East Africa to send a team to play a series of matches. The ASA made a condition that Chand should be included in the team. Once again, Chand was chosen as captain.

The team assembled in Bombay on 23 November 1947, and reached Mombasa on 15 December and played 9 matches in British East Africa winning all. Chand, though now in his forties, still managed to score 61 goals in 22 matches.

After returning from the East African tour in early 1948, Chand decided to gradually phase out his involvement in 'serious hockey'. He played exhibition matches, leading a Rest of India side against state teams and the 1948 Olympic team which defeated Chand's side 2-1, even though an aging Chand scored his side's lone goal. Chand's last match was leading the Rest of India team against the Bengal side. The match ended in a draw after which the Bengal Hockey Association organized a public function to honor Chand's services to Indian hockey.

Final yearsEdit

In 1951 Chand was honored at India's National Stadium with the inaugural Dhyan Chand Tournament, which he attended to the admiration of the spectators.[10]

Chand retired from the army in 1956 aged 51, with the rank of Major. The Government of India honoured him the same year by conferring him the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour.[11]

After retirement, he taught at coaching camps at Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Later, he accepted the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, a post he held for several years. Chand spent his last days in his hometown of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Chand died on 3 December 1979 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.[12] He was cremated at the Jhansi Heroes ground in his hometown, after some initial problems in getting clearance. His regiment, the Punjab Regiment, accorded him full military honours.[13]

LegacyEdit

 
Dhyan Chand statue at Sipri hill, Jhansi
 
Dhyan Chand Sports Stadium at Jhansi

Dhyan Chand remains a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes. A number of such these revolve around the fact that Singh had an extraordinary control over dribbling the ball. Chand's birthday, 29 August, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India.

The 20th National Award 2012, the Gem of India, awarded by the Union Minister of India, was given to Dhyan Chand. The award was received by Dhyan Chand’s son, Ashok Dhyan Chand (a hockey Olympian in his own right) on behalf of his deceased father. The award was given by Journalist Association of India under the flagship of Journalists Federation of India, Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi, India, on 22 September 2012.

India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement. The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.[14]

A hostel at Aligarh Muslim University of which he was an alumnus, has been named after him.[15]

He scored over 400 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948.[16]

An Astroturf hockey pitch, at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London, has been named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand.[17]

Government of India has issued a commemorative postage stamp and a First Day Cover in honour of Dhyan Chand. He remains the only Indian hockey player to have a stamp in his honour.[18]

In 1956, at the age of 51, he retired from the army with the rank of Major. After he retired he coached for a while, then settled in his beloved Jhansi. However, the last days of Dhyan Chand were not very happy, as he was short of money and was badly ignored by the nation. Once he went to a tournament in Ahmedabad and they turned him away not knowing who he was. He developed liver cancer, and was sent to a general ward at the AIIMS, New Delhi.

Dhyan Chand was among the nominees considered for India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, for 2014 and there was support for it.[19][20][21] The award was then given to Sachin Tendulkar and C. N. R. Rao.[22] The family members of Dhyan Chand were disappointed with government decision.[23] The RTI was filed which suggested that the Prime Minister's Office had ignored the recommendation from sports ministry on giving the award over Sachin Tendulkar.[24]

AutobiographyEdit

Chand's autobiography, Goal!, was published by Sport & Pastime, Madras in 1952.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ www.allahabadcity.in/allahabad/dhyan-Major Dhyan Chand, was one of the prominent Indian field hockey players, who was born at Allahabad.
  2. ^ "Dhyan Chand Profile - Indian Hockey Player Dhyan Chand Biography - Information on Dhyan Chand". www.iloveindia.com. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  3. ^ Page 38 of M.L. Kapurs "Romance of Hockey".
  4. ^ https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/asianet+newsable-epaper-asnewsab/national+sports+day+2017+remembering+the+wizard+major+dhyan+chand+on+his+birthday-newsid-72464537
  5. ^ http://hockeygods.com/images/15275-Dhyan_Chand_Captain_of_the_Indian_Olympic_Field_hockey_Team_1936
  6. ^ http://www.bharatiyahockey.org/granthalaya/legend/1932/page3.htm
  7. ^ "Some hearts still beat for hockey here". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  8. ^ https://www.slideshare.net/918007165995/major-dhyan-chand
  9. ^ https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-thing-ever-to-come-out-of-India
  10. ^ http://www.anyfeed.in/dhyan-chand/
  11. ^ Dharmaraja. "HOCKEY WIZARD DHYAN CHAND REMEMBERED". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Dhyan Chand never expected anything: Ashok Kumar". Times of India. India. 30 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Last Days of Dhyan Chand". www.bharatiyahockey.org. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  14. ^ "Even Bradman was impressed with Dhyan Chand". The Times of India. 30 Aug 2011. 
  15. ^ "Aligarh Muslim University || Halls". www.amu.ac.in. Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  16. ^ "Discover hockey's answer to Pele". BBC news-Sports. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Hockey pitch in London named after Dhyan Chand". Zee News. India. 23 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Dhyan Chand Chronology". www.bharatiyahockey.org. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  19. ^ "Bharat Ratna: Does hockey legend late Dhyan Chand deserve it more than cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar?". THE ECONOMIC TIMES. 18 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Dhyan Chand deserves Bharat Ratna: Nana Patekar". DNA INDIA. 2 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Fans hold rally demanding Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand". INDIA TODAY. 8 January 2014. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao conferred Bharat Ratna". THE TIMES OF INDIA. 4 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "I have no hope of Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand now: Ashok Kumar". NDTV SPORTS. 5 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "PMO ignored Dhyan Chand to confer Sachin Tendulkar the Bharat Ratna?". ZEE NEWS. 21 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "DHYAN CHAND — Player, legend and the man". The Tribune. Chandigarh, India. 29 August 2009. 

External linksEdit