Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Someone said Hockey is our 'National Game'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

If any sports enthusiast from abroad lands in India and decides to study the sports culture in India he will find a stark contrast between the India's most popular game 'Cricket' and our National Game 'Hockey.' While Cricket is played and followed throughout the country, Hockey's popularity is limited to certain parts of the country. If cricket has gone onto become a religion in the country, Hockey has been punctured by the administrators, the government and above all people like us for whom Hockey is what we academically study as India's 'Nation Game.'

Although the recent crisis may be seen as the biggest shame for the game in India, the slow poisoning has been going on for ages and players like Pargat Singh and Dhanraj Pillai can tell the entire story. A teaser from a Dhanraj Pillai's interview used to do rounds of Doordarshan some years ago where the ace striker had said “Hockey ne mughe naam diya, shauhrat diya par daulat diya” (Hockey has given me name and fame but hasn't given me money)

Although some administrators may see this article in bad taste but this remains a hard fact of Indian hockey. Although playing for the nation and the tri-colour should be motivation enough for any international sportsman he should get what he deserves. India's hockey players are paid much lesser than what a cricketer at a domestic level earns. Are they wrong in demanding for a healthy sum of money from the Hockey India? They have added the 'PERFORMANCE' clause in their demand which should be praised rather than criticised.

The administrators of all sports major sports in India apart from cricket are retired bureaucrats and politicians and insane remarks from them for the players is nothing unexpected. How many of the administrators of Hockey India dedicated their service to the nation during their youth without wanting a good pay? How many of these administrators know what effort does it take for a player to break into the national circuit? Why was a strike required for the administrators to listen to the just demand of the players at the first place?

It was also ironical to see from corporates to state government to celebrities queuing up to sponsor the players. Where were these people when these players were forced to go on a strike. Giving a sum of a few crores now is in the interest of all these parties. With the issue having become a national shame and attracted millions of eyeballs a few crores is not a bad advertisement after all. In a quite environment tens of crores would be required to gain that much popularity.

Many may wonder why Hockey was chosen as our National Game. Well when it came to Olympics we are still the best in terms of records having won 8 Golds, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze and the next best record held by Netherlands stands at 4 Golds. Post Independence we had won three consecutive Olympic Golds. The irony is our National Animal 'Tiger' and the National Bird 'Peocock' both are endangered and so seems to be the case with our 'National Game'


SideKick January 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM  

I dun think the comparison between cricket and hockey is justified. You have to gauge the rationale here...Sports in the modern times has seldom been driven by passion.It has been driven and fueled by sporting heroes and icons. Jus look at any sport, it earns its fans and cash thru its poster boys. Why does more of rural India know of Schumacher than Bhaichung even tho F1 is as alien to India as Megan Fox??? That's coz in Schumacher they saw a hero, a pan-global sporting behemoth and Bhaichung could never epitomize a position as such.All fans live by their sports thru their heroes and sporting gurus. The only reason behind Cricket's popularity is that Cricket's given us sporting heroes or world beaters..the occasional sunny gavaskar,the SRT or the MSD,its given us a sense of being no 1.In no other sport have there been such larger than life heroes in the Indian context. We have sum1 close in Vijender singh and Abhinav Bindra...and I dun think hez complaining a a lot.Ppl say abt Vishy Anand's quagmire as a chess no1..but really is he indian any more?Resides in spain,only appearances are on Newspapers or NIIT ads...and the common national-hormoned people of India hardly see or hear enuf of him or his exploits...and newpapers and TV are too media that the public resorts for the only news he wants to see....nt augment their GK.

honestly...jus tell me if Hockey has ever given sumthing to die for....pride unfettered???

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