Time to remember Dhyan Chand : The Legend Lives On

Published: Saturday, Dec 03,2011, 19:07 IST
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Dhyan Chand, The Legend Lives On, Roop Singh. Sameshwar Dutt Singh, Hockey, IBTL

Dhyan Chand is undoubtedly the greatest sportsman that India has produced. Famous the world over as the 'Hockey Wizard', he dominated the game like no other player in the history of the game. Today's sports fans know little about this genius who left an indelible mark on the game. Yet, decades back, Dhyan Chand was one of the world's top sportsmen - in league with the great Don Bradman, Jesse Owens and Babe Ruth.

Players of the calibre of Dhyan Chand transcend eras. Like Pele in soccer or Rod Laver in tennis, they are the all-time greats. A genius like Dhyan Chand would have been a genius in every time and in every era. Many people went out of their way to help me with this first ever biography of Dhyan Chand. His son Ashok Kumar arranged for me to meet the persons his father knew.

I got useful information from coach Balkrishan Singh (Dhyan Chand's understudy for 9 years), respected sportswriter R. Sriman of the Times of India, Bhagwan Das Gupta, who played with Dhyan Chand for the Jhansi Heroes, goalkeeper Nanhe Lal, and many others.

In Gwalior, Dhyan Chand's nephew, Bhagat Singh Baiss (son of Roop Singh) was kind enough to let me look at old newspaper clippings and photographs of the 1930s that Roop Singh had. On a personal note, my grandfather, the late Shri V. P. Sharma, a hockey player himself, played against Dhyan Chand once.

In the last years of his life, Dhyan Chand had written on his letter-head '50 Years of my Hockey Career'. These have been brought to light for the first time.

One thing that struck me was the amazing transformation people had when they talked about Dhyan Chand. Suddenly they would be transported into a different world and era, and for many, speaking on Dhyan Chand was an emotional and sentimental reminiscence.

India has forgotten Dhyan Chand. Hopefully, this book should rekindle Dhyan Chand's memory in the minds of the public.

Special thanks to bharatiyahockey.org | Image : tribuneindia

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