Biography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
By Niket Bhushan, Wiley Eastern Ltd., 1992
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|A memorable incident started
Dhyan Singh's hockey and army career. When he was 14, he went with his
father to an army hockey match.
One of the teams was down by 2 goals. Dhyan repeatedly told his father that if given a chance, he could make the losing team win.
Finally an army officer allowed him to play. He went and scored 4 goals! The impressed officer inducted him into the Bachaa Platoon.
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orn on August 29, 1905 in Allahabad, Dhyan Chand came from a Rajput family. His real name was Dhyan Singh. The British officers made it Dhyan Chand because he used to practise the game under moonlight.
His father, Sameshwar Dutt Singh, was a Subedar. His elder brother, Mool Singh, was a Hawaldar. The family kept moving to different cities because of the transfers of Dhyan Singh's father in the army. Due to these family movements, Dhyan Singh could not study much and had to terminate his education after Class Six.
The family finally settled in Jhansi. Being in the military, Dhyan's father got a small piece of land in Jhansi for a house.
Young Dhyan had no serious inclination towards sports, though he loved wrestling. In those days, wrestling was a popular sport, and many homes had 'akharas' or small arenas. Gamma was a famous wrestler of that time, and Dhyan Singh, like other boys of his age, loved to wrestle.
His brilliant hockey career had humble beginnings. Dhyan and other youngsters used to cut a branch of a date palm tree and remove the leaves. With a curve at its end, this branch would become an improvised hockey stick. From old rags, they would make a ball. He started playing hockey often, and soon people began noting that a small boy with a dark complexion was playing hockey quite well.
A memorable incident started Dhyan Singh's hockey and army career. When he was 14 or 15 years old, he accompanied his father to a hockey match played between two army teams composed of English officers.
One of the teams was down by two goals. Dhyan repeatedly told his father that if given a hockey stick, he could make the losing team win. His father told him to be quiet. A British army officer sitting nearby also scolded Dhyan Singh for boasting, adding that he was still a child.
Dhyan Singh insisted on playing, and finally the officer allowed him to play. Dhyan went into the field and scored 4 goals! So impressed was the officer that he inducted Dhyan into the 'Bachaa Platoon' or the 'Children's Platoon'.
Dhyan Chand surrounded by young fans clamouring for his autograph