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Sports Ministry writes to PM Narendra Modi requesting Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 11:00 IST
Late Dhyan Chand was nominated in 2013 as well but the honour eventually went to Sachin Tendulkar

What’s the story?

The Sports Ministry has recommended Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna and has written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office for the same. Vijay Goel, the minister of sports, confirmed that he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

Vijay Goel said, "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."

Late Dhyan Chand was nominated in 2013 as well but the honour eventually went to Sachin Tendulkar.

Upon being asked whether Dhyan Chand should have received Bharat Ratna before Tendulkar, Goel said, "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, 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," Goel added further.

The context

It is an attempt on the part of the Sports Ministry to commemorate the life and achievements of Dhyan Chand with the highest civilian honour of India. The hockey wizard helped India win three gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

Also Read: Dhyan Chand had the guts to defy Adolf Hitler in the dictator's own country

The heart of the matter

The Sports Ministry has pitched in for Dhyan Chand for Bharat Ratna in the past as well. They had sought the honour for the hockey wizard in 2013 over legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

The award eventually went to the cricketing great, however, as it was announced that he would be the first sportsperson to receive the illustrious award, just hours after his retirement. Former players, as well as Dhyan Chand's son Ashok Kumar, have been clamouring for the Bharat Ratna for the hockey wizard for years.

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What’s next?

It remains to be seen whether the Prime Minister finally deems the honour fit for the legendary hockey player.

Author’s take

Someone whose birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day, the honour should have gone to Dhyan Chand long back. The fact that there is still a debate going on about this is embarrassing.

Also Read: Raising a stick to India's first sports star: The legend of Major Dhyan Chand on National Sports Day!

Published 07 Jun 2017, 17:51 IST
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