Dhyan Chand (August 29, 1905 – December 3, 1979), born Dhyan Singh, was a legendary Indian field hockey player. Often called a "Hockey Wizard" for his masterly stick work and ball control and widely regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. During his playing years, Chand won three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and in 1936, the last was one in Berlin Olympics and earned the title as the Hockey Personality of the Century. His career span started as Lance Naik in the Indian Army under the British rule and ended with elevation to the rank of a Major. He scored 109 goals at the Olympics and 300 goals in other international matches, which is till now an unbroken record. He received the national honour of Padma Bhushan and his birth anniversary is celebrated as the National Sports day in India. His statues adorn the National Sports Stadium in Delhi, in Vienna Sports Club, and on the vantage hill top of Jhansi. A commemorative postage stamp was also issued in his honour.
India and the Olympics
- In 1933, the Jhansi Heroes decided to participate in the Beighton Cup hockey tournament. My life’s ambition was to win the Beighton Cup, as I had always regarded this competition as the blue riband of Indian hockey. In my opinion it is perhaps the best organized hokey event in the country. Calcutta is indeed lucky that it has at least three of four first class hockey grounds on the maidan, and this is a great advantage to run a tournament on schedule instituted since 1895, this tournament had a non-stop run. World War|World Wars I and II did not affect the tournament. Threats of Japanese bombs and actual bombings in Calcutta while the hockey season was on also did not prevent from the tournament from being held. That being said, it is sad to think that the tournament had to yield to the communal frenzy, which gripped the nation in 1946-47.
- While writing on the Beighton Cup held in 1952 and he was playing for the Jhansi Heroes cited in page 35
- It was a great day for me when my Commanding Officer called me and said ‘Boy, you are to go to New Zealand’ I was dumbfounded, and did not know what to reply. All I did was to click my heels snappily and, give as smart salute as I possibly could, and beat a hasty retreat. Once out of sight of the officer, I ran like a hare to reach my barracks and communicated the good news to my fellow soldiers. And what a reception they gave me! I lost no time in getting prepared for the trip. I was not a rich man, my earnings as a sepoy being only a few rupees a month. My parents were not rich either....I clothed myself as inexpensively as possible, and my personal outfit was my military kit... As soldiers belonging to the Other Ranks (read lower ranks), it was a great experience for us. Prior to this tour we could never conceive of being feted and entertained at private houses and public functions in such a glorious and enjoyable manner. We were made heroes, and on my part, if I may put it quite modestly, I proved myself a great success and left behind a great impression.
- On his trip to New Zealand in 1926 where they had 18 victories out of 21 matches and had scored a total of 192 goals and Chand had scored bulk of the goals in page=35-36
- The cottage had twenty beds, a telephone and a refrigerator. Everything was kept spick and span, and every minute details of our comforts had been attended to. Two stewards were there to look after us. One was Otto, an old seasoned-sailor who had visited India several times and spoke English well. The other was named Schimdt, and he spoke English haltingly.
- On the facilities provided in Berlin Olympics in page=55
Olympics - The India Story
- Nowadays I hear of the princely comforts provided for national teams traveling overseas, and fuss players raise if they happen to miss even a cup of tea! When we used to travel the name of our country and the game were the only two things that mattered.
- During India’s title defense at the 1936 Berlin Olympics when he captained the hockey team to victory in the Olympics in page=59
- My experience thus far had been to win matches and not lose them. I remember that in 1932, after our return from the Olympic tour, we beat Delhi by 12 goals to nil. I never recognised Delhi as a big hockey playing center, but on this day they were right on top of us and completely outplayed us. The news of this defeat created adverse opinions about us, and while touring other centers before we finally sailed from Mumbai. This particular defeat kept worrying me. For the first time I was captaining the Olympic team; will India lose the title under my charge?
- In the game of January-February 1936 before sailing for the Berlin Olympics in page =59.
- I was bypassed in 1932 possibly because of my academic handicaps and so called social position in life. I was still an ordinary soldier holding a minor rank.
- Earlier when in 1932 when his claims for Captaincy was overlooked in page 60
About Dhyan Chand
- He scores goals like runs in cricket.
- You and your boys have done wonderfully to foster the game of hockey in our country I hope that you will return to India with good impressions and with the same feeling of friendship to the German hockey players as we feel towards you…Tell them how much we all admired the sill and performance of the prefect hockey they have shown us.
- [Dhyan Chand] was humble. He had only one pair of trousers. I took him to Austin Road on Regent Street . We went downstairs. Trousers galore were shown. Can I take them upstairs and see them in the sun? That finished me. I told Shaukat the story, what else do you expect of a Lance Nayak, he laughed
- Jaipal, the captain of the Hockey team commented during the 1928 Olympics in England, quoted in "India and the Olympics" in page=38
- India’s Triumph, Science Scores Over Force, and Dhyan Chand in Form”
- The Statesman noted when India had defeated Germany by an impressive 8 goals to 1 and won the Olympic gold for the third time in succession and in this game Dhyan Chand had scored 6 goals in "India and the Olympics" in page=63
Dhyan Chand (a biographical sketch)
- His real talent lay above his shoulders. His was easily the hockey brain of the century. He could see a field the way a chess player sees the board. He knew where his teammates were, and more importantly where his opponents were - without looking. It was almost psychic.
- He treated everybody as pieces on a board meant for his use. He'd know from his own movement how the defense was forming, and where the gaps were. In other words, he was the only imponderable, Everybody else (opposition included) fell in predictable patterns around him.
- Above two quotes by Keshav Dutt, Olympic Gold Medalist.
- It looks like he has some invisible magnet stuck to his hockey stick so that the ball does not leave it at all.'
- View of a journalist
- The Olympic complex now has a magic show too.
- German papers carried this headline all over Berlin following the Berlin Olympic Final game of Hockey 'Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action'.
- According to widespread reports, German dictator Adolf Hitler offered Dhyan Chand German citizenship and a position in the German Military, after an impressive showing at the Berlin Olympics. The offer was declined by the Indian magician.
Australian great Don Bradman met Dhyan Chand at Adelaide in 1935. After watching him play, Bradman remarked, "He scores goals like runs in cricket".