New Delhi, 29 August 2014: Following is the full text of the speech delivered by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal at a function to celebrate the Birth Day of Hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand as National Sports Day in New Delhi today:
“August 29th marks a significant day in the history of sports in India. The legendary hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand was born on this day, 109 years back. He redefined the Indian Sports in Hockey at the global level. To commemorate his invaluable contributions, we celebrate his birthday as “NATIONAL SPORTS DAY” every year.
Major Dhyan Chand – The Hockey Wizard, is India’s greatest hockey player who, scored over 1000 goals between 1926 and 1948. He helped India win 3 Olympic Gold medals including the first in 1928. He is an inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player’s caliber is measured. It is surprising to know that Dhyan Chand, who came to be known as Hockey Magician, started playing hockey only after joining the Army at the age of 16. It was from there that he started playing hockey. After that, Dhyan Chand rose in the hockey field like a meteor. We should imbibe a lesson from the life history of Major Dhyan Chand. Many of our young players are talented. No doubt, but do they have the determination to succeed the way Major Dhyan Chand did?
It’s time that we do some kind of heart searching. Mind you, there are tens and thousands of children playing hockey in the country. We have more than 100 synthetic surfaces for field hockey in India. Compare this with a small country like Belgium which has only 16 surfaces. The best way to pay tribute to Major Dhyan Chand is to inculcate his qualities of discipline, hard-work and determination in our hockey players and also in other sportspersons.
India is an emerging country in the world where along with economical prosperity well being has always been central to its policy. In the well being of the people sports plays a great role. Sports has a great significance not only from the point of view of the competition and winning medals but to inculcate a higher level of culture where people are identified with energy, vigor and active life style. Sports play a crucial role in developing our mental as well as physical strength which are the hallmark for success in every field. India is on continuous stride to set new heights for its performance in world sports. We just need to keep this momentum by keeping the ideals set by Major Dhyan Chand, who we remember today.
Paraphrasing Swami Vivekananda, I would urge all of you to “Arise ! Awake ! and not stop till the Goal is achieved. ”