Dhyan Chand, Legend of Indian Hockey
Dhyan Chand Early Life:
Dhyan Chand was born in a Bais Rajput family on the 29th of August 1905 at Prayag (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh. His father served as a Subedar in Indian Army under British rule. He was also a Hockey player. Dhyan Chand could not resume his studies after 6th standard because his family used to move from one city to another on his father’s transfer to the Job. Finally, his family settled in Jhansi. He had two brothers. One was Mool Singh, and another was Roop Singh. Those were also the Hockey players. At 16, Dhyan Chand joined the army and seriously started playing Hockey. In 1926, he was selected for the Indian hockey team and went to New Zealand to play Hockey. He played a crucial role in the Olympics in India, winning three successive hockey gold medals.
Dhyan Chand As Early Hockey Player:
At first, Dhyan Chand was not interested in sports, although he greatly liked wrestling. He started playing Hockey with his friends for fun. At 14, he visited a Hockey match with his father, where one team was down by two goals. Then an Army Officer lets him play Hockey in the same game from the losing team side. So Dhyan Chand played the game and scored four goals for the team.
The impressed Army Officer offered him to join the army. So in 1922, he joined Punjab Regiment as a Sepoy. There he was taught basic hockey skills by Subedar Major Bhole Tiwari. His first Coach was Pankaj Gupta; from there, he never looked back on his career.
Many exceptional incidents happened in the career of Dhyan Chand. In a match, in 4 minutes he scored three goals and brought impressive victory to his team. In 1925 he performed brilliantly in the first Inter-Provincial (National) Hockey tournament. His performance in the game made him selected for the International Hockey team of India.
Dhyan Chand, International Career:
In 1926, Dhyan Chand was selected for the Indian Hockey team and went to New Zealand on tour. During that time, the entire Indian team made 192 goals, and Dhyan Chand alone scored over 100 of them. In 1927 Indian squad played at the London Folkstone Festival; there, he scored 36 goals out of India’s total 72 goals.
He also performed tremendously in the Olympic Games and was crucial in getting Olympic Gold medals in India. Dhyan Chand was appointed the captain of the Indian hockey team in 1934 and made the Indian team reach the Olympic Gold medal team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. During his play in Berlin Olympics, his skills in the game impressed Hitler, and he offered Dhyan Chand as the colonel in the German army if he agreed to play for Germany. In 1947 Dhyan Chand, at 43, went to East Africa and scored 61 goals in 21 matches, which is still a world record. He continued 30 years career and finally, in 1949, farewell Hockey.
Dhyan Chand Received Awards and Achievements:
The Government of India celebrates Dhyan Chand’s birthday as National Sports Day for his extraordinary services to the nation. The Indian Postal Service also issued a postage stamp in his memory. A national stadium was also constructed in New Delhi in his name. The Indian Government honoured him by giving Padma Bhushan an award in 1956.
His Final Days and Death:
Dhyan Chand’s last days were not fulfilled happily. The Government badly ignored him and was also short of money for personal purposes. He had liver cancer, and his final days were spent in a general ward at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; he died on the 3rd of December 1979.