Power of Name
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Dhyan Chand – A Hockey Legend

Power Of Name

Dhyanchand as the name specifies ”Focussed”, Dhyan, a person meant to do all the work with full dedication and focus to achieve the best has been truly proved by the Ideal Hockey player,”Dhyan Singh.” And the word, Chand, in hindi means “Moon”. He used to wait for moon to practice after long duty hours to give him the visibility of the field. Thus his fellow players truly call him, Chand, seeing the practice sessions at night coincides with the coming of moon. This truly, justifies the power of name,”Dhyan Chand.”

Power of Name

Background

Born on 29, August, 1905, to mother, Sharadha Singh and father Sameshwar Singh, in a Rajput family in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Dhyan Chand, was an elder brother to another Hockey Player, Roop Singh. He had two brothers, Roop Singh and Mool Singh. With his father being a part of British Indian Army, played Hockey in the army. Born and Brought up in family of army officer, they moved to various cities which led to termination of his schooling only after six years of schooling and then finally they settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

Fields of Interest

Chand had least interest in Hockey, infact no inclination towards sports. What he was fascinated to, was just “Wrestling.” He joined Indian army at the age of 16. He mentioned just being indulged in some casual games with his friends in Jhansi, and had no special crave for Sports.  Not only this, he did not remember whether he played Hockey, worth mentioning before he joined Army.

This Is How Hockey Enters His Life?

He played Hockey as a casual game with his friends who used to make hockey sticks with the tree branches and balls made of ragged clothes. Before putting his foot forward in Army, he saw Hockey match with his father at the age 14, where one team of two was down by two goals. On seeing all this, he insisted his father to let him from the losing side, he scored 4 goals for the team. This was the first impression created by young Chand on army Officer and he was offered an entry to army. This was how he was introduced to Hockey at 14 and Army at 16. This is how he was instated into Punjab Regiment as Sepoy in 1922 at tender age of 16. Subedar – Major Bhole Tiwari was his first mentor inside the army and taught him the basics of the game. Pankaj Gupta was his first coach to predict the day he will shine like moon and gave him a name, “Chand.” Henceforth, he was renamed from Dhyan Singh to Dhyan Chand.

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Legendary Days Of Dhyan Chand

Between 1922 and 1926, he played army Hockey tournaments and regimental games. There are various incidents that gives proof of amazing hockey skills of Dhyan Chand. One of these is, when he scored 3 goals in last 4 minutes, where his team was losing by 2 goals and wherein this led to the victory of his team. This was the Final match of the Punjab Infantry Tournament in Jhelum. After this he managed to steal the title of “Hockey Wizard.” And then begins the Golden Era Of Dhyan Chand. On the basis of brilliant performance in 1925 of Inter Provincial (National) Hockey tournament, played in five teams, i.e. United Provices (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces. He was selected for International Hockey team of India.

Here Begins The Golden Era Of Hockey Wizard

After being a part of International hockey team of India in 1926, he played his first tournament in New Zealand. At this place, he played 21 matches, of which India won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1. Of the match played at Dannkerke, team scored 20 goals, of which 10 were scored only by Dhyan Chand. Of the total 192 goals in complete tournament, Dhyan Chand scored over 100 of them. Returning to India, Chand was promoted to post of Lance Naik in the army.

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And then he represented himself as a member of Indian Hockey team in 1928 at Amsterdam Olympic Games and scored 2 out of 3 goals against Netherlands, winning the inning by 3-0 with a gold medal for India. And later in 1932, comes Los Angeles Olympics where Indian team led by Lal Shah Bukhari, again won the Gold medal. Indian Hockey team, entered the series of world record, when they defeated USA by 23-1, of which 8 were scored by Dhyan Chand. This remained a world record till the year of 2003. He was the one to score 12 goals in 2 matches for India. Again in same year, breaking all the records, India successfully put their best foot forward treading their path to finals crushing Hungary by 4-0, USA by 7-0 and Japan by 9-0 and in semifinals defeated France by 10 goals, and reaching finals opposite to Germany, where they scored only 1 goal till interval, after that Dhyan Chand entered the field the barefoot and defeated Germany by 8-1, winning gold medal for India.

Showing his love for the country, he denied the post offered by Adolf Hitler in German Army, which was even higher than the post he acquired in Indian Army.

Then Playing till the age of 42, he retired in the year of 1948. Before his retirement, he met Don Bradman, the Cricket Maestro at Adelaide in the year 1935. On watching him play Hockey, Don Bradman commented, Dhyan Chand, “He Scores goals like runs in Cricket.”

Awards and Achievements

“Hockey Wizard”, known for his superb ball control played his final international match in 1948, scoring around 400 goals in his international career. Besides earning three gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936, he was known for his extra-ordinary goal scoring feats. In his presence, India was one of the dominating teams in Hockey. The Government of India awarded him the third highest (then second highest) civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. Not only this, his birthday, 29th august, is celebrated as National Sports Day. An Indian Postage stamp has been issued in his memory, Dhyan Chand National Stadium has been named after him. Not only this he has been awarded Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1956. Also a hostel at Aligarh Muslim University has been named after him.

Last Moments

When looking at the end days of Dhyan Chand, last days for him were not that happy. As he had faced the shortage of money and ignorance by the Nation, The year he was offered the Padma Bhushan, same year he had retired as Major in Army. 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. He spent his last days at his home town, Jhansi and then later after he developed Liver Cancer and was shifted to general ward in All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) and left the eyes of people full of tears on 3rd December, 1979.

This defines the ups and down of our Hockey Wizard, our Shining moon, Chand, in his life with love of Hockey.  

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