For his immense contribution in the sport, Dhyan Chand was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, in 1956.
Mumbai: Major Dhyan Chand is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of hockey due to his on-field dominance and goal-scoring ability. During his career, India clinched the Olympic gold thrice-- 1928, 1932 and 1936.
For his immense contribution in the sport, Dhyan Chand was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, in 1956. However, one feather in his hat-- the Bharat Ratna continues to be missing for a long time.
Ashok Kumar, former Indian Hockey captain, World Champion and Olympic medalist, said: “Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had signed on the files and subsequently we were informed by the then Sports Minister that Dada (Dhyan Chand) would be conferred with Bharat Ratna."
“However, the decision was later deferred. By doing so, the government did not humiliate us ... it humiliated a national icon.”
“Awards are not sought. Awards are not desired. Awards are not begged...Awards are conferred by the government to those who deserve them.
“It is now for the government to decide and judge, whether they feel that Dhyan Chand deserves a Bharat Ratna.”
Ashok Kumar, regarded as the world's best dribbler in hockey, post-independence, said that the country should not forget Dhyan Chand's ultra-nationalistic character.
“Despite the British rule, he (Dhyan Chand) had the courage to take a tri-colour flag in his suitcase to Berlin Olympics, held in 1936.
“When India beat Germany in the finals, in front of Hitler, Dada unfurled the tricolour flag (consisting of a charkha instead of Chakra, and three stripes) at the Olympic Games village in Berlin.
“He was the first Indian to unfurl the tricolour abroad. Fortunately enough, the date was August 15, when India won the gold medal. Besides my father, my uncle Roop Singh, a member of the team was witness to this historic event,” said Ashok Kumar.