Wednesday, April 6, 2011
First Bharat Ratna should go to Dhyan Chand
First Bharat Ratna should go to Dhyan Chand---- By K. Arumugam( stick2hockey.com)
The time for sports lovers at large including cricket fans, has come. There have been voices -- which count in India -- as to cricket genius Sachin Tendulkar should be honoured with the top most civilian award Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India).
No sportsperson in India have ever been bestowed with this honour. This is in itself bad considering some unworthy individuals from other walks of life have got it. That is a different matter though.
Recently Maharashtra Chief Minister proposed in the State Assembly that Sachin should be given this honour which is passed unanimously. Sachin’s familiarity transcends all provincial boundaries, why then his home State alone should talk about this? This is a time tested politicians striving to get some cheap publicity. Nothing more than that.
Yesterday, Sachin candidly admitted MS Dhoni is the best skipper he played under. We welcomed the grace of Sachin, and savoured the moment. That should be the team spirit.
Today, perhaps as a return gift, the skipper himself advocated Bharat Ratna for Sachin. 'If he doesn't get, no one else' was his line of argument.
We, sports lovers first, would be delighted if someone a living legend like Sachin getting Bharat Rata. But we have a rider -- and we are serious about it.
This coveted award should first be given to hockey wizard Dhyan Chand posthumously. After that, it can can go to other sporting greats starting with Sachin, and why not.
Dhyan Chand, a low level solider in the British Indian Army, is world hockey’s first hero. Just like Bradman is cricket’s first global hero; Sachin is not first hero of his chosen sport, he is current hero. Time is a crucial factor, scoring hattrick of goals against Germany by a non-Aryan Dhyan Chand in the Olympics organized by Adolf Hitler has no match to it. There may have been other sporting feats in the history of India, but this Berlin magic has its own.
Because of Dhyan Chand and his achievements, hockey as a sport grew in India, and became the National Game.
He got us three Olympic gold, where his feats were outstanding all through. He scored goals in the finals especially, and inspired his generation of players to deliver.
All his game have been unblemished just like Bradman in cricket. Sachin despite his greatness did not score in many crucial games, including the latest World Cup final, as an aberration.
There is statue of Dhyan Chand in Delhi, national stadium is named after him, his birth anniversary has been declared as National Sports Day on which Arjuna and other sporting awards are disbursed by none other than the first citizen of this country.
All these have been done as per the popular wish of the country, and in recognition of hockey’s contribution to the sporting legacy of India, even now 8 out of 9 Olympic golds that India won, has the label of hockey.
Give Sachin a Bharat Ratna, not because Maharashtra Government wants, or because MS Dhoni recommends, but because he deserves it, the nation at large would cherish that.
But, it will be injustice to the soul of Dhyan Chand if that award is not conferred on him first before anybody else is thought of.
Civil society in India will not tolerate such an insult. It will rise against if such injustice would ever occur.
K. Arumugam is a hockey historian, his article on Dhyan Chand was in the XI standard English Text book (CBSE syllabus) for many years (2002-2008).