Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
|Page 1||Page 2||Page 3||
||Page 4||Page 5||Page 6|
|Having received so much kindness and
assistance from Bengal hockey, I feel it is my duty to tell Kolkata and Bengal
that I will never forget what they have done to make Indian hockey what it is today.
Kolkata has the grounds on which it is a treat to play. It has a vast sporting crowd in its huge population, and it has selfless workers like Mr. Pankaj Gupta who know how to run a tournament economically and successfully.
|Page 7||Page 8||Page 9||Page 10||Page 11||Page 12|
n December 1935, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) decided to defend their Olympic title in the Berlin Olympics to be held the next year.
I was more or less certain that I would be included in the team, but I was somewhat doubtful if the IHF would consider me qualified enough to be the captain. 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.
Once again the IHF decided to hold the Inter-Provincial Tournament in Kolkata, which would serve as the selection criteria for the Indian team for the Berlin Olympics. The Bengal Hockey Association had organised and held this tournament prior to the two preceding Olympic Games where India had won the world title.
I do not think the IHF can ever repay their debt to the Bengal Hockey Association. Though the Bengal Hockey Association does not need any certificate from me, having received so much kindness and assistance from Bengal hockey, and having been a witness to what Bengal has done in making Indian hockey strong and supreme in the world, I feel it is my duty to tell Kolkata and Bengal that I will never forget what they have done to make Indian hockey what it is today.
I did not take part in the 1936 Inter-Provincial tournament as I did not get the necessary leave. Once again, as in 1932, the IHF decided to directly include me in the Olympic team. I did not very much like this idea, for, after all, I should have joined the trials like everyone else. But I had no voice in the matter, and being a soldier, I had to obey the commands of the army.
I have the book "The World's Hockey Champions, 1936" by M. N. Masood in front of me. Masood states in the book, "Kolkata was wisely selected as the venue of the Inter-Provincial matches. It has the grounds on which it is a treat to play. It has a vast sporting crowd in its huge population, and it has selfless workers like Mr. Pankaj Gupta who know how to run a tournament economically and successfully.
Boarding and lodging arrangements for about 200 players and their officials were also to be made by the Bengal Hockey Association. Mr. Pankaj Gupta, its Honorary Secretary, attended personally to every little detail, and was always handy with his usual dhoti and with paan in his mouth, to give whatever aid the competitors needed."
I have quoted this paragraph with a purpose. I would like to impress upon everyone concerned that a hockey player, however insignificant he may be, would feel greatly encouraged if the tournament organisers made some personal contacts with him, and not solely with the team managers.
Thirteen teams entered for the Inter-Provincial tournament in 1936 in Kolkata, the notable absentee being Gwalior. After the first round and second round matches got completed, in the semi-finals, Bengal beat Delhi 3-0 and Manavdar beat Bombay 0-0, 1-1, 4-1. In the final, Bengal beat Manavdar 1-0.
You will remember that we brought a Maori shield from New Zealand in 1935. Bengal had the distinction of engraving her name first on it as the winner of the 1936 Inter-Provincial Championship for the Maori Trophy.
Immediately after the tournament was over, the IHF selection committee, which was again composed of one representative from each competing team, selected the following 17 players for the Berlin Olympic Games:
Goalkeeper: R. J. Allen (Bengal)
Backs: C. Tapsell (Bengal), Mohammad Hussain (Manavdar), Gurcharan Singh (Punjab), Joe Phillips (Bombay)
Half-Back: E. J. C. Cullen (Madras), M. N. Masood (Manavdar), Babu Nimal (Bombay), Joe Gallibardi (Bengal), Ahsan Mohammad Khan (Bhopal)
Forwards: I. C. Emmett (Bengal), Shahabuddin (Manavdar), Dhyan Chand (Army), Roop Singh (United Provinces), Syed Mohammad Jaffar (Punjab), Peter Paul Fernandes (Sindh)
Dickie Carr did not get the necessary leave from the Bengal Nagpur Railway. I was very sad when I heard about it, for India had not a better outside-right than him during the time I played hockey. Carr's dropping out was indeed a great blow to us.
Immediately the IHF contacted the Army for Dara, but they could not spare him. The result was that Ahmad Sher Khan filled the vacancy, and with goalkeeper Mickie from Bengal added to our team, our number came to 18 as against 16 for the 1932 Olympics.
The IHF met at Delhi sometime in April to select the captain and officials of the tour. For the office of the captain, three names were put up - Jaffar, M. N. Masood and myself. Jaffar subsequently withdrew in my favour. My information was that an overwhelming number of associations supported me.
The IHF President, Kunwar Sir Jagdish Prasad (Member, Viceroy's Council), made the nominations - me as the captain, Mr. Jagannath as the manager, and Mr. P. Gupta as the assistant manager.
I heard that Masood felt sorry at not being made the captain at first, but later bowed to the decision in good grace. I also heard that at first Pankaj Gupta declined to make the trip, but was later persuaded by the Bengal Hockey Association's president, Mr. R. B. Langden, who is unfortunately no more, to reconsider his decision. We were all pleased that Mr. Gupta was coming. He and Jagannath worked together very well on the tour.
I quote again from Masood's book, "It may be remarked that neither Dhyan Chand nor myself had ever the honour of introduction to Sir Jagdish Prasad, the president of the IHF. He selected one of us as the captain without seeing either of us on or off the field."
I too felt that Sir Jagdish Prasad had elected me as the captain perhaps on the recommendation of somebody, or on my reputation as a player. Anyway, I was very pleased that one of my life's ambitions had thus been fulfilled, namely to captain India in the Olympic Games.
The 1936 Indian Olympic Hockey Team