3 December: Remembering Major Dhyan Chand on his Punya Tithi
Major Dhyan Chand (29 August 1905-3 December 1979) was an Indian Hockey Player. Also Known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey. The National Sports Day is celebrated on Dhyan Chand’s birthday on 29 August to honour the hockey legend.
He was born on 29 August 1905, in Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Sameshwar Singh was enlisted in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey for the army. His family moved to Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India. He studied at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, and in 1932, completed his Graduation from Victoria College, Gwalior. At the age of 16, he joined Indian Army and exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games.
In 1926, he was selected for the Indian Army hockey team for the New Zealand tour. Dhyan Chand performed very well and dominated 18 matches out of 21 with his team. In 1928, he won a gold medal at the Olympic event held in Amsterdam. His speed and accuracy made him “The Wizard” of hockey. After that, he repeated the victory again at the 1932 Olympics Games, defeating the USA by 24-1 and Japan by 11-1, and thus again won a gold medal at the event.
In 1933, his home team, the Jhansi Heroes, participated and won the Beighton Cup, which he considered the most prestigious of Indian hockey tournaments.
In 1934, The Indian Hockey Federation decided to send a team to New Zealand, Chand and his brother were selected immediately. And Dhyan Chand was appointed as Captain. On the tour, they played 48 matches, 28 in New Zealand and the remaining in India, Sri Lanka and Australia. And India won each match of the tour scoring 584 goals total, and Dhyan Chand scored 201 goals in 23 matches.
Adolf Hitler was so amazed by his skills that he offered him the post of Colonel in the German Army after watching his tremendous performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Dhyan Chand is one of the most successful captains of the Indian Hockey team. After his third consecutive win at the Olympics, He played a vital role in the incredible victory of team India during an International tour, conquering 34 matches out of 37 with a contribution of 133 goals out of 338, scored by the team.
He played international games from 1926 to 1949, where he scored 570 goals, in 183 matches, and over 1000 goals in his entire domestic and international career.
In 1956, he was honoured with “Padma Bhushan”, the third highest civilian award in India.
He died on 3 December 1979, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.