Hockey legends protest, demand Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand

29 Aug 2016 | By Akriti Asthana
Major Dhyan Chand: The wizard of hockey

On Sunday, several former hockey legends assembled at Jantar Mantar to reiterate the demand of awarding Bharat Ratna to Dhyan Chand posthumously.

The protest was led by Dhyan Chand's son and World Cup winner Ashok Kumar and former India captain and Rajya Sabha MP Dilip Tirkey, among other Olympians.

Sudarshan Patnaik, a renowned sand artist, created a sand sculpture in memory of Dhyan Chand.

In context: Major Dhyan Chand: The wizard of hockey

Biographical DetailsWho was Dhyan Chand?

Born on 29th August 1905, Dhyan Chand is one of the greatest field-hockey players of all time.

He earned three gold medals for India during the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics and scored more than 400 goals during his international career.

He died on 3rd December 1979.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956 and his birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day.

National Sports Day

In 2012, to commemorate Dhyan Chand's birth-anniversary, the Government designated 29 August as India's 'National Sports Day'. On this day, the President gives out sports-related awards like Arjuna, Dronacharya and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to honour sportspersons and coaches who have made India proud.
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PM Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'

28 Aug 2016PM Modi's 'Mann ki Baat'

In his radio address on Sunday, PM Modi paid tributes to Major Dhyan Chand and said that he was an example of "sportsman spirit and patriotism".

He reminded the country of his achievements and of National Sports Day which is celebrated on his birth-anniversary i.e. 29th August.

He also noted praises by legendary players like Bradman who said that "he scores goals like runs".

Eligibility of sports persons for the Bharat Ratna

On 16th November 2011, the Government modified rules for conferring the Bharat Ratna, providing for eligibility of persons excelling in fields other than art, literature, science and public service. Sachin Tendulkar was the first sports person to be awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2014.

29 Aug 2016Hockey legends protest, demand Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand

ProtestDiscrimination against hockey

The clamour for the award to Dhyan Chand resurfaced after he missed out on it in 2013, when Tendulkar was chosen for the Bharat Ratna.

Dilip Tirkey said that this is discrimination on government's part and Dhyan Chand should have been the first recipient of the award.

Ashok Kumar said it was unfortunate that the hockey fraternity has to remind the government about this.