Indian National Game Hero – Dhyan Chand-The Magician of Hockey
Full name: Dhyan Chand Bais
Nickname(s): Dadda / The Wizard of Hockey
Born: August 28, 1905 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: December 3, 1979 in Delhi, Delhi, India
Affiliations: United Provinces/Army
Country: IND India
Related Olympians: Father of Ashok Kumar I; Brother of Roop Singh; Grandfather of Ashok Kumar II.
Medals: 3 Gold (3 Total)
On 29th August, 1905, Dhyan Chand was born to a Rajput family in Prayag in Uttar Pradesh to father, an army subedar. Soon afterwards as the family moved to Jhansi, so he was. At Jhansi he spent his formative years. At the age of 16, in 1922, after an brief education he joined the Indian Army. He joined as a Sepoy of the 4/1st Punjab Regiment. During his days in the Army, he was noticed by Subedar-Major Bhole Tiwari of Brahmin regiment for his vibrant dribbling skills and knack for scoring goals. There is a confussion with the year but probabaly in a match held in 1927, Chand exhibited his skills against the English hockey team. He was netting 36 of India`s 72 goals in 10 matches, at the London Folkstone Festival.
Dhyan ChandIn the year1928 to represent the Indian hockey team in the 1928 Summer Olympics, Dyan Chand was selected to the team. The 1928 Summer Olympics was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. By a score of 3-0, Chand helped India to triumph the gold medal after winning the finals against the Netherlands. He scored two of India`s three goals by playing in the centre-forward position. The team under Lal Shah Bukhari, in the 1932 Summer Olympics held at Los Angeles, USA, championed their title after succeeding the gold. The team expelled the United States hockey team by 23-1, which is a world record that be upright until 2003. Eight of those goals are contributed by Dyan Chand. Along with his brother Roop Singh, Dyan Chand shaped an extremely impressive in strength and excellence core of the team. 12 goals was scored by him in India`s two matches in that Olympics. In that year, he had scored 133 goals out of India`s 338 goals.
The Beighton Cup final of 1933, was rated by Dhyan Chand as his most memorable match. Jhansi Heroes and Calcutta Customs were the teams between which the match was played. Dyan Chand surprisingly, did not score in that match. But he provided only the vital pass for the lone goal scored by the Jhansi Heroes. The Jhansi Heroes were jampacked in an unrestrained third class compartment on their return journey. Despite anything to the contrary, at the station, the warm welcome that they received, made it the most memorable match for Dhyan Chand. He scored 201 goals out of the team`s correspond of 584 in 43 matches during a 1935 tour of New Zealand and Australia. In the year 1935, at Adelaide Dhyan Chand once came to meet Don Bradman, the legend of the world of cricket face to face. At that time the Indian hockey team was in Australia. Don Bradman remarked after watching Dhyan Chand in action, “He scores goals like runs in cricket”.
At the beginning, to go to participate in the 1936 Summer Olympics held at Berlin, Dhyan Chand`s regiment refused to give him the permission. It was at that time the regiment was contended in a fight with the tribals in Waziristan. After a second request, however, the permission was granted. Under the captaincy of Dhyan Chand, the Indian team participated in 1936 Summer Olympics final. In a friendly match, his team had gone down to the Germans, shortly before the Olympics. India`s forward line was strengthened at that time, by the inclusion of Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara, who grappled to reach Berlin just in time for the final. The Indian team in a patriotic note, raised the Indian tricolour in the dressing room and rather than the British national anthem, which they were obliged to sing sang Vande Mataram an Indian nationalist song.
At the interval of summer olympics, India was leading with 1-0. It has been said that the wet pitch was to damned. To see the condition, Chand removed his shoes playing barefoot. Although his teammates and opposition were wearing spiked shoes. India scored seven goals in the second term. The Germans after trailing 0-6, are reported to have proceed to crude play. Dhyan Chand broke one of his teeth in an accident with the German goalkeeper, but was soon back in action. With Dhyan Chand scoring 6 goals, India won the match 8-1. From a reporters point of view on Dhyan Chand`s performance – “With a flick of the wrist, a quick glance of his eyes, a sharp turn and then another turn, and Dhyan Chand was through.” Images of this game can be found in the Leni Riefenstahl film, “Olympia.”
Adolf Hitler was very much impressed by his performance. Hitler purportedly offered to make Dhyan Chand a Field Marshal in the German army. But Chand refused to join. In the pre-Olympic matches, Chand scored 59 of India`s 175 goals and 11 of 38 in the Olympics. He continued to play till the age 42, even after World War II. In 22 matches against East Africa, he hit a total of 61 goals. In the year 1948 , Dhyan Chand took retirment from the sport. Dhyan Chand earned a diploma in coaching from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, in Punjab after the first innings of his life. But person like Dhyan Chand to whom the traits were innate, however he found it difficult to coach those things.
He was honoured by the residents of Vienna, Austria by setting up a statue of him with four hands and four sticks, drawing his control and mastery over the ball. At the National Stadium near India Gate, New Delhi, one of his famous statues was set up while another was erected in 2005 at Medak in Andhra Pradesh. At the age of 51, in the year1956, he retired from the army with the rank of Major. By conferring him the Padma Bhushan, which is the India`s third highest civilian honour, the Government of India honoured him in that year. However, the man of high respect, Chand died impecunious and uncared for in a hospital. He used to receive a meagre pension. Dhyan Chand was very sad to see India at the Montreal Olympics, 1976 as finished seventh. At that olympic, the Indian team included his son, Ashok Kumar. Neha Singh, his grand daughter played for India in the 1998 World Cup.
Dhyan Chand`s son Ashok Kumar, was the only son of Dhyan Chand who brought glory to India. It will be surprising to know that Dhyan Chand never discussed hockey with his sons, nor did he inspire with confidence them to take up the game seriously. At that time playing is not much benefactive role to live a comfortable livelihood. Salaries in those days were very low.
On his deathbed at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, he, according to reports told a doctor that Indian hockey was dying. Then he went into a coma and died in 1979. The Indian Postal Service, a year after his death, came forth a commemorative stamp in his honour. In addition, in New Delhi, Dhyan Chand National Stadium is distinguished in his honor. His birthday, 29 August, is celebrated in India as the National Sports Day. Sport-related awards were given away by the President of India, such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Government of India, to immortalize his memory, has established Dhyan Chand Award which is confronted each year to the sportspersons who not only bestow a quality through their performance but also encourage to the sport after their retirement.
About Dhyan there are many legends which are inconceivable to affirm. Some time after the Partition of India, once Dhyan Chand, on way to Peshawar, was seen at the Lahore railway station, as a part of the Indian team, which was scheduled to take part in Joshan celebrations in Afghanistan. To catch a glimpse of the wizard, thousands of his Pakistani fans rushed to the station. The billowing crowds led to collapse of all arrangements. Krishan Kumar Kakar, one of the members of the Indian team, recounted “Such was the scene on all stations right up to Peshawar where the train reached more than four hours behind the schedule.” He on the field was named the “Wizard of Hockey” for he maintained complete control on the ball. While playing, it seemed that the ball used to stick to his hockey stick. The magic of Dhyan Chand was so great that the Tokyo officials broke his hockey stick to search for a magnet inside, and attempted to console themselves saying he had added some sort of glue. A lady from the audience on one occasion, asked Dhyan Chand to play with her walking stick alternatively. She found that he was supposidely so fast that TV expressive style of his gameplay was brought forth too slow.