Bharat Ratna for hockey legend Dhyan Chand coming soon? Union Sports Ministry has written a letter to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) requesting that Dhyan Chand be bestowed this signal honour. Sports Minister Vijay Goel has confirmed of writing a letter to the PMO. “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,” the minister was quoted as saying by the agency. This wasn’t the first time that the ministry has sought the nation’s highest civilian award for the legend who was also known as ‘The Wizard’.
Dhyan Chand helped India win three gold medals at the Olympics in 1928, 1932, and 1936. In 2013, when the UPA was in power, the sports ministry had chosen him over cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. However, in the same year, it was announced that Sachin Tendulkar would be honoured with the award, just hours after his retirement.
When asked whether Dhyan Chand should have got Bharat Ratna before Sachin Tendulkar, Vijay Goel addded,”I would not want to get into this and it is not fair to comment about sportspersons of such legendary stature”, the agency quoted him as saying.
His son Ashok Kumar, along with other former hockey players have been demanding Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand for years.
Last year, about 100 hockey players had sat on a protest on Dhyan Chand being repeatedly ignored. The government, even in 2011, did not consider the plea of 82 members of the Parliament who backed Dhyan Chand for the recognition.
Dhyan Chand is considered one of the finest hockey players of all time, who played a key role in popularising the game in the country. His birthday, which falls on August 29, is celebrated as the National Sports Day when top athletes of the country are awarded by the President.