Dhyan Chand has arguably been India’s greatest sportsperson ever, helping India win three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic games(1928, 1932, 1936) and establishing India as a hockey superpower. He won many laurels during his time as an Indian Hockey player and was regarded as one of the best in the world. But with time, India got mesmerised by another sporting talent, Sachin Tendulkar. A player who made us believe that we could be world beaters again. And with greater media coverage, Sachin became the icon that Dhyan Chand could never be(in the eyes of the public that is).
Sachin then went onto become the first ever sportsperson to win the Bharat Ratna Award for his contribution towards enriching the lives of millions through his magic wielding willow. While a lot of Indians rejoiced because of a sportsperson receiving the award, a few cynics felt that Dhyan Chand should have been the first sportsperson to receive the Bharat Ratna, and felt that his achievements were being undermined, just because they had taken place in a ‘pre media’ era.
The Sports Ministry though has gone ahead and nominated Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna once again and his hopeful that he will be awarded with it this time round.
Yes, we have written to the Prime Minister about Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand. Conferring the honour posthumously will be a fitting tribute to his exceptional service to the country,” said Goel.
In 2013 too Dhyan Chand’s name was recommended by the Sports Ministry, ahead of Sachin, mind you, but the government decided to go through with Sachin, hours after he retired from the cricket.
When asked if Dhyan Chand should have gotten the award before Tendulkar, Goel said that he was no one to compare these two Indian sporting stalwarts.
“I would not want to get into this and it is not fair to comment about sportspersons of such legendary stature.
“You can’t measure Dhyan Chand’s achievements with any award. He is beyond that.”
“As I said, the Prime Minister will take the final call on this subject. He wants India to emerge as a sporting power and that is why he has been giving a lot of emphasis to sports. We want him to consider this. We feel Bharat Ratna to Dhyan Chand will not only give a huge boost to Indian hockey but also to other sports,” said Goel.
Dhyan Chand’s son Ashok Kumar has been pleading the government to bestow the honour upon his father, and has received support from various hockey stalwarts of the nation, but everytime the government has turned a blind eye. Hopefully this time round Dhyan Chand gets his dues.