A group of former Indian hockey players are set to gather at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday in a bid to demand the Bharat Ratna to hockey legend Dhyan Chand. Dilip Tirkey has expressed his sadness at the fact that they still have to demand an award which should have been bestowed long back.
"We have been trying to get the honour for the man who is acknowledged for his greatness as a sportsman. It's sad that we are still demanding for an honour which he should have got long back,"
Former hockey stars like Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal, Ajitpal Singh, Zafar Iqbal, MK Kaushik, AB Subbaiah, Mohammed Riaz, Ashish Ballal, Mukesh Kumar, and Dilip Tirkey will meet at the capital on Sunday afternoon to present their demand for the Bharat Ratna to be awarded to “The Wizard”.
Dhyan Chand, who is one of the greatest sportsmen the country has ever produced, guided India to three Olympic golds during his illustrious career. He brought India to the sporting map and established the nation as a superpower in hockey. The Allahabad-born legend has received accolades from the likes of Adolf Hitler and the British government, but he is yet to receive the Bharat Ratna in India.
Back in 2013, the then Sports Minister, Jitendra Singh, had recommended Dhyan Chand's name for the award. He wrote, "Late Major Dhyan Chand is the most deserving sportsperson for Bharat Ratna, as he fulfils the criteria of exceptional service performance of highest order in the field of sports which made the country proud. It was for his amazing performance that he was nicknamed "hockey wizard", in a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, the PMO decided to award to honour to Sachin Tendulkar and Scientist CNR Rao that year.