Born: 29th August, 1905
Place of birth: Allahabad, UP
Died: 3rd December, 1979
Resting place: Jhansi Heroes Ground, UP
Name: Major Dhyan "Chand" Singh
Sri Someshwar Dutt
* Joined the British Army – Punjab Regiment Services at the age of 17
* Retired from the army as a Major
Known as “The Wizard” for his superb ball control, Chand played his final international match in 1948, having scored more than 400 goals during his international career.He scored over 1000 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948.Major Dhyan Chand’s, also known as 'Hockey Ka Jadugar' birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India.
Born on August 29, 1905 in Allahabad, Dhyan Chand came from a Rajput family. His real name was Dhyan Singh.
The British officers made it Dhyan Chand because he used to practise the game under moonlight.
His father, Sameshwar Dutt Singh, was a Subedar.His elder brother, Mool Singh, was a Hawaldar. The family kept moving to different cities because of the transfers of Dhyan Singh's father in the army. Due to these family movements, Dhyan Singh could not study much and had to terminate his education after Class Six.
The family finally settled in Jhansi. Being in the military, Dhyan's father got a small piece of land in Jhansi for a house.
Young Dhyan had no serious inclination towards sports, though he loved wrestling. In those days, wrestling was a popular sport, and many homes had 'akharas' or small arenas. Gamma was a famous wrestler of that time, and Dhyan Singh, like other boys of his age, loved to wrestle.
His brilliant hockey career had humble beginnings. Dhyan and other youngsters used to cut a branch of a date palm tree and remove the leaves. With a curve at its end, this branch would become an improvised hockey stick. From old rags, they would make a ball. He started playing hockey often, and soon people began noting that a small boy with a dark complexion was playing hockey quite well.
A memorable incident started Dhyan Singh's hockey and army career. When he was 14 or 15 years old, he accompanied his father to a hockey match played between two army teams composed of English officers.
One of the teams was down by two goals. Dhyan repeatedly told his father that if given a hockey stick, he could make the losing team win. His father told him to be quiet. A British army officer sitting nearby also scolded Dhyan Singh for boasting, adding that he was still a child.
Dhyan Singh insisted on playing, and finally the officer allowed him to play. Dhyan went into the field and scored 4 goals! So impressed was the officer that he inducted Dhyan into the 'Bachaa Platoon' or the 'Children's Platoon'.
|Sepoy Dhyan Singh|
Dhyan Singh joined the Army in 1922 as a Sepoy in Delhi's First Battalion of the Brahmin Regiment. He was 16 years old. When Dhyan received his first pay of just a few rupees, he was very thrilled.
While in the Brahmin regiment, he came into contact with his Subedar - Major Bhole Tiwari. A keen enthusiast of the game and a good player himself, Tiwari recognised the talent in Dhyan Singh. He became Dhyan's guru and laid the foundations of his game.
Tiwari made one thing clear to Dhyan - although his dribbling was awesome and could win him much applause, hockey was a team game and he should not hang on to the ball for too long. He should pass the ball at the correct time. One could score goals not only by hitting powerfully, but also by clever placing and pushing of the ball.
Tiwari and Dhyan Singh had no fixed time to play. In fact, Dhyan played hockey a lot as that was the only outdoor game his regiment played.
The British officers also encouraged Dhyan Singh. He learnt from them their dedication and their 'never-say-die' attitude. He started thinking a lot about the tactics of hockey. He assimilated all the suggestions and strategies that he received from others, and supplemented them with his own dazzling style.
After an year of practice, Dhyan Singh's game began to flower.
From 1922 to 1926, Dhyan Singh regularly represented his regiment in the army events. His first big tournament was the annual military tournament in Delhi. He shone as the centre-forward and helped his regiment win the prestigious annual military event. In 1923, he helped his regiment win the Meerut tournament. This performance convinced many that Dhyan Singh had a bright future in the game.
But Dhyan Singh had also to devote attention to army duties, and could not find enough time for practice. So while his regiment rested at night, he practised alone on the field with a ball and a stick. While they rested, his army mates could hear him hitting the ball at night. This was how Dhyan Singh became Dhyan Chand because he used to practise the game under moonlight.
It was during this period that an incident happened that became a part of the mystique of Dhyan Chand. It was the final of the Punjab Indian infantry tournament in Jhelum in 1925. Dhyan Chand's team was losing the match with 4 minutes to go. His commanding officer said to him, "Come on Dhyan, we are two goals down, do something about it."
Dhyan Chand took the ball on his stick and dribbled through the entire defence to score a goal. He scored the second, and then the third in a four-minute span to snatch a dramatic last minute victory.
It was after this match that Dhyan Chand earned the nickname "Hockey Wizard". The legend of Dhyan Chand and his unbelievable feats on the hockey field had begun.
|Hockey in the Olympics|
In the first 3 modern Olympics (1896 - 1904), hockey was not one of the sports included. Hockey made its debut in the 1908 London Olympics, where England won the gold among 6 nations.
Excluded from the 1912 Olympics, hockey staged another comeback in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Four nations participated in the event, with England yet again winning the gold. Hockey was not included in the 1924 Paris Olympics.
There was a strong possibility that hockey would be included in the 1928 Olympics. The International Hockey Federation, which was formed in this period, was lobbying the International Olympic Committee to include hockey in the Olympics.
The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), founded in 1925, was also lobbying for hockey as an Olympic sport. In preparation for that possibility, the IHF had already conducted its inaugural national championship in 1925. The successful Indian army tour of New Zealand in 1926 had convinced the IHF that an Indian team should participate in the Olympics.
However, one problem remained. As England had won both the Olympic hockey tournaments held thus far, Britain was not keen that India, then its colony, participate in the Olympics. After an appeal, the British agreed to India's participation as the British Indian hockey team.
It is a matter of record that from 1928 till India won independence in 1947, Britain never competed in the same Olympic hockey tournament as India. The first meeting between India and Britain would take place two decades later, in the 1948 Olympic hockey final at Wembley, London. India won this match 4-1 to assert its hockey supremacy in the world.
Anyway, the IHF got to send a team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Dhyan Chand got selected in this first ever Indian Olympic hockey team.
There was some alarm when the IHF said that they could send only the minimum 11 players. Eventually, the availability of funds made it possible for two more players to join the team.
Before leaving for Amsterdam, the Indian team played some trial matches. The Olympians surprisingly lost to Bombay 2-3, with Dhyan Chand scoring both his team's goals.
Could this first Indian Olympic team really win the Olympic gold?
|Off to Amsterdam|
Some of the players who had never experienced a sea voyage before fell sick. Since Dhyan Chand had travelled by ship earlier, he managed to keep himself healthy.
Kaiser-i-Hind dropped anchor at Tilbury Docks in London 20 days after setting sail. Dhyan Chand was attracted by the hustle and bustle of London, and liked the West End and the underground railway system.
As the team had undergone nearly 3 weeks of voyage, it lacked field practice. The Indians played 11 practice matches in England, winning 9, losing 1 and drawing 1.
Impressed by Dhyan Chand's skill, the British press called him a 'hockey wizard' and a 'human eel'. Legend has it that the Queen told Dhyan Chand to play with her umbrella using the handle as a stick, and he still scored goals.
The Nawab of Pataudi Sr., who was a student in England then, and would later go on to play cricket for India, played with Dhyan Chand at Folkestone.
In one of the practice matches in England, the team was shouting for maalis or gardeners to take their kit onto the field. Then they saw the opposing team members carry their own kits. It then dawned on them that abroad, every player, big or small, carried his own kit. It was a lesson they would not forget.
The Indian team accepted an invitation from the German Hockey Federation to play 2 matches in Germany. From there, the team went to Brussels where they played 1 match. Finally, they played 4 practice matches in Holland.
Three days before the Games were to begin, the team arrived and relaxed in their hotel. Dhyan Chand concentrated on the task at hand, and kept himself aloof from all distractions.
The 9 countries participating in the 1928 Olympic hockey tournament were India, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Spain. Divided into two pools, the pool winners were to meet for the gold medal.
The Victorious 1928 Olympic Hockey Team
Many years later, Dhyan Chand recalled the 1928 Olympic hockey final against Holland. "At this distant date, I still remember the circumstances in which India took the field on May 26 to win the highest honour in world hockey.
I was ill, and running a high temperature which persisted all throughout the game. That day, our manager A. B. Rosser coined a slogan for us - Do or Die. I was a soldier by profession, and when the country's honour was at stake, there was no alternative but to march boldly into the battlefield."
A huge crowd of 50,000 people had come to cheer their home team. In a memorable encounter, India played attractive hockey and outplayed Holland 3-0. Dhyan Chand had the distinction of scoring two of those goals. Holland put up a brave fight that impressed Dhyan Chand.
Indian goalkeeper Richard Allen had the unique record of not conceding a single goal throughout the tournament. Without doubt, India were the champions of world hockey.
A newspaper report about India's triumph said the following, "This is not a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is in fact the magician of hockey." Another newspaper commented, "It is not only the number of goals that Dhyan Chand scores, but the way he scores them."
On May 29, the Indian team lined up to receive their Olympic gold medals. When they returned to Bombay, instead of a mere 3 persons who had given them a send-off, a heroes welcome awaited the Olympic champions.
There was also a unique first - the gold medal won by the Indian hockey team in 1928 was the first Olympic gold medal won by Asia in the modern Olympics.
|"Dhyan Chand scores goals like we score runs in cricket"|
– Cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman after meeting Dhyan Chand and watching him play in 1935
At Adelaide on May 2, 1935, Don Bradman met Dhyan Chand for the only time in their lives. Dhyan Chand was the first Indian sportsman to capture the imagination of the world. Play had been stopped to check whether he had applied glue to his hockey-stick (in Tokyo) or there was a magnet inside (in Netherlands); he had gone without a goal in a match and complained that the goalpost was smaller than the regulatory measurement, and to everybody’s astonishment, proved to be right; and the awestruck Austrians had erected a statue of him at Vienna to depict his wizardry:
|You are undoubtedly aware that I am a common man first and then a soldier. It has been my training from my very childhood to avoid any limelight and publicity|
– Dhyan Chand
|Residents of Vienna, Austria, honoured Dhyan Chand by setting up a statue of him|
|Hitler met Dadda|
Initially, Dhyan Chand's regiment refused to give him the permission to go to the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin, as it was engaged in a fight with the tribals in Waziristan. However, after a second request, the permission was given.
Dhyan Chand captained the Indian team in 1936 Summer Olympics final. His team had gone down to the Germans in a friendly match, shortly before the Olympics. But this time, India's forward line was reinforced by the inclusion of Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara, who managed to reach Berlin just in time for the final.
In a patriotic note, they raised the Indian tricolour in the dressing room and sang Vande Mataram an Indian nationalist song, rather than the British national anthem, which they were obliged to sing.
Indians were leading 1-0 at the half time. In second half, they scored 7 goals. After trailing 0-6, the Germans are reported to have resorted to body play. In a clash with the German goalkeeper, Dhyan Chand broke one of his teeth, but was soon back in action.
The match was attended by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler who left midway as he couldn't bear to see his "racially superior" team being demolished. Sensing something amiss, he was ordered to change his stick, but the flow of goals continued. India won the match 8-1, with Dhyan Chand scoring 3 goals. AIS Dara scored 2 goals while Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffer scored one goal each. A reporter said about 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".
Adolf Hitler is said to have left his special box in a huff, after Germany's rout. Next day, he invited him for a meeting the following day. There are various accounts of the meeting. One is that Hitler asked Dhyan Chand what post did he hold in India. On learning that the hockey wizard was a mere Naik in the Indian army, Hitler offered to make Dhyan Chand a Field marshal should he decide to live in Germany. Dhyan Chand politely refused, saying that he had a large family to look after, in India. Another version is that Hitler called him up at the end of the match and asked him the question, "What will you take to play for Germany?" To this, Dhyan Chand replied "Nothing sir, India is my India". He had scored a total of 59 out of the team's tally of 175 that Olympics.
After World War II, he continued to play till the age 42. He hit a total of 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa. In 1948 he retired from the sport.
In 1926, there was talk of the Indian army sending a hockey team to tour New Zealand. It was not in Dhyan Chand's nature to plead for his inclusion in the team. He felt his merit as a player would decide his selection. Being in the 'Other Ranks', he could not approach his officers to discuss the matter.
Thus he was overjoyed when the commanding officer of his regiment told him one day, "Boy, you are going to New Zealand." Though dumbfounded, Dhyan Chand managed to salute the officer. Later, overwhelmed at this opportunity, he broke down in his barracks. Tears of joy also came to the eyes of Bhole Tiwari when he learnt that Dhyan Chand's perseverance had finally paid off.
Due to lack of money, Dhyan Chand could not obtain good clothes for the tour. His main personal outfit was his military kit.
In April 1926, the Indian army hockey team set off by ship from Colombo. After 20 - 25 days on water, the team reached New Zealand in early May.
This was the first team to represent India abroad in any sport. Thus the players were conscious of the fact that they had to project a good image.
Dhyan Chand was hugely successful on this tour. In one match at Dannkerke, India scored 20 goals out of which Dhyan Chand was responsible for 10 goals. Against the New Zealand national team, India won the first match 5-2, but lost the next 3-4.
Overall, India played 21 matches, won 18, drew 2, and lost 1. The Indians scored 192 goals while conceding only 24 goals. Dhyan Chand scored over 100 goals and became a popular player.
Indeed, such was his impact that two women followed the Indian team from New Plymouth to Auckland only to see Dhyan Chand in action. The told him that they could never forget his dribbling.
The Indian team was feted and honoured with feasts and lavish dinners. The treatment that Dhyan Chand and the rest of his army mates got was that of heroes.
News of Dhyan Chand's exploits reached India as the local newspapers carried reports of the Indian team's progress. Dhyan Chand got promoted to Lance Nayak on his return to India. The success in New Zealand gave Dhyan Chand tremendous inspiration, and he felt there should be no slackness on his part.
This 1926 Army tour started India's hockey story, and with it, Dhyan Chand's legendary prowess.
Nearly half a century later, when Dhyan Chand's son Ashok Kumar visited New Zealand, he was surprised to see pictures in many hockey clubs of his father's 1926 Army tour.
On one occasion, a Dhyan Chand fan showed Ashok the cuttings on the hockey wizard that he had collected and kept safely all these years.
Ashok had another touching experience. A man came up to him and showed some wooden splinters that he had kept from Dhyan Chand's hockey stick. During a match in the 1926 army tour, Dhyan Chand's stick had broken and the maestro threw it away. The fans had made a dash for it, and many people took away broken splinters.
The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was formed in Gwalior in 1925. By then, the International Hockey Federation had also been formed. Both the federations were doing their best to gain Olympic recognition for their sport.
After successfully lobbying for hockey to be included in the Olympics, the IHF made preparations to field its best possible team. In 1925, an Inter-Provincial tournament was held. The selection of the Indian team was to be based on the performance of the players in this tournament.
Five teams participated in this inaugural nationals - United Provinces (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces. Dhyan Chand got selected to play for the United Provinces team. Dhyan Chand was playing with civilians for the first time in his life. Today it seems odd that it took him so long to play against civilians, but that was the way hockey was organised and played in those days.
Dhyan Chand practised with his new team members and keyed himself up for the big matches. In the first game against Punjab, on February 14, Dhyan Chand's team drew its match 3-3. This was his first civilian match. Dhyan Chand shone in this match with his passes and dribbling.
After being down by two goals, Punjab drew in the last minute of the game. When the teams played again, Punjab's defenders kept an anxious eye on Dhyan Chand. It was as if Dhyan Chand was the only forward! His team won 3-1.
In the final against Rajputana, Dhyan Chand revealed his class. Dhyan Chand scored one goal with a powerful hit that went into the net after touching a defender's stick. He also scored the next goal. His stickwork, combination with other forwards, and ability to break into rival defenses was a prime factor in UP's victory in the inaugural nationals.
After the tournament ended, there was a meeting between the players and the IHF to discuss the event. Dhyan Chand felt that it was a good idea because it would reduce the communication gap between players and officials, like there exists one in Indian hockey today.
|Indian and Dutch teams line up in the Amsterdam Olympics|
hyan Chand returned to his barracks in the Punjab Regiment after the 1928 Olympic Games. There was no peace for him as his army colleagues used to come and listen to his Olympic tales.
Emblazoned in gold on Dhyan Chand's jersey was his name. He owned the centre-forward position from now on. Though India did have other outstanding centre-forwards, none could match Dhyan Chand's game.
For 5 years in a row from 1931, Dhyan Chand helped his 14th Punjab Regiment win the Punjab Native hockey tournament. Due to his fame, opposing players used to specially target him. In 1933, Dhyan Chand's Punjab regiment was playing a match in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan). With Dhyan Chand giving yet another display of his mastery in hockey, the opposing team's centre-half lost his cool and hurt Dhyan Chand's nose.
The game was stopped. After receiving first aid, Dhyan Chand returned to the field with his nose wrapped in a bandage. He went to the centre-half who had injured him and said, "Play carefully so that no one gets hurt." Dhyan Chand then went on to score 6 straight goals.
There have been many stories on how Dhyan Chand's stick was changed to see if he would still score goals. One such incident happened when he was playing in an army tournament in India.
During the interval, Dhyan Chand was talking to a British player of the opposing team. The British officer's wife exchanged Dhyan Chand's stick with her husband's without their knowledge. As usual, Dhyan Chand scored goals in the second half too. It was like changing the bat of Don Bradman and expecting that he would not score many runs because of the new bat!
Back home in Jhansi, Dhyan Chand recounted the tales of the Olympics to his friends. School children and players came to his house to listen to his stories.
By this time, his brother Roop Singh had started taking an interest in hockey. Whenever Dhyan Chand talked about the game, Roop used to come and listen. Roop Singh learnt most of his hockey playng in Jhansi. Dhyan Chand used to correct Roop Singh's game whenever they played together.
Dhyan Chand eventually formed the Jhansi Heroes hockey club. The team participated in the Scindia Gold Cup tournament in Gwalior, and also the All-India Rabia Sultan hockey tournament.
In December 1931, Dhyan Chand led Jhansi Heroes to victory against Manavdar State. The Nawab Sahib of Kurwai presented a 'Khillat' to Dhyan Chand, remarking that he was too big a player to receive just an ordinary medal.
In 1933, Dhyan Chand achieved a personal ambition when Jhansi Heroes won the prestigious Beighton Cup. Dhyan Chand never forgot this particular tournament because he suffered a serious attack of dysentery, and there even was danger to his life. His team had to play five matches in four days, but even in this state of ill-health, he played all the matches, including the final
The following year, though Jhansi Heroes lost in the Beighton Cup, Dhyan Chand helped his team win the Willington Trophy soon after.
Jhansi always had a special place in its heart for Dhyan Chand. When he went to Jhansi after winning the 1932 Olympic hockey gold, a big procession followed him to his home. A welcome arch was made of hockey sticks, and a school was closed for half a day in his honour.
A newly-laid Astro-turf hockey pitch, at a cost of $ 250,000, at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London has been named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
Major Dhyan 'Chand' Singh, better known as Dhyan Chand, was an Indian field hockey player, widely regarded as the world's greatest field hockey player of all time. -
|Australia wanted to net Dhyan Chand as hockey coach|
Nowadays, India bends over backwards to hire foreign coaches for national hockey teams, offering them better pay packages compared to other disciplines.
Former Australian Olympian Terry Walsh will now be paid Australian $12,000 (Rs 7.4 lakh) per month, $1000 more than what his predecessor and countryman Michael Nobbs got.
However, about six decades ago when Australia hosted the Olympics, it offered a mere Australian £25 per week to Major Dhyan Chand!
The letter written by JH Powell, then honorary general-secretary of the Australian Hockey Association (AHA), who approached General KM Cariappa to acquire the services of the legendary player for preparing the Australian men’s team for the Melbourne Olympics.
General Cariappa, who was the Indian Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, was approached by Powell when he visited Melbourne in early 1956.
The General, whose regiment clashed with Dhyan Chand’s Punjab Regiment in the annual Military Hockey Cup, was an admirer, and he took the liberty of discussing the terms and conditions of Dhyan Chand’s appointment as the Australian national team’s first foreign coach.
Travel and costs
According to the letter dated April 14, 1956, AHA was prepared to pay Major Dhyan Chand A£25 per week from the date of his leaving his home until his return, plus “reasonable first-class sea travel to Melbourne”, “accommodation in private homes and/or the Olympic Village during his stay in Melbourne”.
Though they played international hockey in the early 1920s, Australia did not participate in the Olympics till the mega event came home.
They lacked confidence, and to an extent the resources and logistics, to take up competitive hockey till then.
When compelled to participate in the Olympics, Australia turned to the best hockey player the world had produced for help. However, Dhyan Chand did not take up the assignment as the process got halted by bureaucratic red tape.
Australia owe their rise in world hockey to Anglo-Indians who arrived in Western Australia in large numbers after India’s independence. They spotted and motivated local talent and helped them sparkle.
Once the plan to rope in Dhyan Chand did not work out, AHA appointed Fred Browne, a La Martiniere College (Lucknow) alma mater, as Olympic coach. Browne fielded five Anglo-Indians in the team and got Australia their first Olympic hockey bronze.
Coach (Early years):
Subhedar Bhole Tiwari
Domestic teams represented:
* Services hockey team
* Jhansi Heroes Team
Three-time gold medallist and captained the Indian team at 1936 Berlin Olympics
* 1928 Amsterdam Olympics – Gold
* 1932 Los Angeles Olympics – Gold
* 1936 Berlin Olympics – Gold
In the final, India beat Germany 8-1. This was the first time any team had won three consecutive Olympic gold medals. German dictator Adolf Hitler offered Major Dhyan Chand a job in the Germany army but the Indian politely turned it down
* The advent of World War II cut short Dhyan Chand's Olympic career
1926 – Australia-New Zealand tour
1927 – London Folkstone festival tour
1936 – World tour
1947 – East African tour
Goals scored at olympics:
1928 Amsterdam Olympics (14 goals)
1928 Amsterdam Olympics final (3 goals)
1932 Los Angeles Olympics (12 goals)
1936 Berlin Olympics (13 goals)
1936 Berlin Olympics final (3 goals)
1926 – Australia-New Zealand tour
(201 goals in 43 matches)
1927 – London Folkstone Festival tour
(39 goals in 10 matches)
1936 – World tour (59 goals)
1947 – East African tour
(61 goals in 22 matches)
n Dhyan Chand has scored over 1000 goals across his 25-year career
Life after hockey:
* Retired from hockey in 1949 after playing for almost 25 years
* Promoted to Lieutenant in 1952
* Promoted to Major in 1952
* Retired from the army in 1956
* Served as chief coach at National Institute of Sports in Patiala from 1962 to 1978
* Was appointed India selector and coach of the national team on numerous occasions
* The International Olympic Committee sent him a special invitation to witness the 1972 Munich Olympics
* Awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956 by then president Dr Rajendra Prasad
* Indian Postal Department issued a commemorative stamp in his memory on December 3, 1980
* Govt announced the Dhyan Chand Award — India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports in 2002
* Govt awards meritorious sportsmen with the Dhyan Chand Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award at Rashtrapati Bhavan every year on his birthday
* The Sports Authority of India erected a life-like statue of him at the National Stadium in New Delhi
* National Stadium in New Delhi was renamed as the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002
* The citizens of Jhansi have erected a 30-foot statue on top of the hill overlooking the city
* New astro turf hockey pitch costing GBP 250,000 at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London, is named after him
* The 2012 London Olympics Games Organising Committee has named a metro station after him
* Government of Madhya Pradesh has named a stadium in Bhopal after him -