Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
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|When we sent a touring side to New Zealand in 1935, a
photograph was taken in Australia of Captain Dhyan Chand and Donald Bradman,
each of whom was described as supreme in his own particular game.
What Don Bradman is to Australia and to world cricket, Dhyan Chand is to India and world hockey. Indeed his fame is worldwide, as hockey is known in many more countries and continents than cricket.
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fter the 1949 Beighton Cup final, at the request of the army authorities, the Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) held an exhibition match between Bengal and the Rest of India in aid of the Troops Welfare Fund. On this occasion also, the Bengal team was definitely better on the day's play, but the match ultimately ended in a goalless draw. The teams were:
Bengal: W. Scott, D. Bannerjee, Sarwant Singh, Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt, R. Da Luz, G. Singh, Inderjit Rai, Gerry Glacken, Pat Jansen (captain) and J. Sethi
Rest of India: L. Pinto, G. Carvalho, R. S. Gentle, Govind Perumal, Ravi Deo Misra, Jaswant Singh, Kishan Lal, K. D. Singh 'Babu', Dhyan Chand (captain), Rajagopal and L. Fernandes
I will never forget this match because on this day something happened which was a culminating point of my hockey career. The BHA organised a public function in appreciation of the humble services I had rendered to Indian hockey, both at home and abroad, and presented me with a silver cigarette case suitably inscribed.
During the interval in the match, the two teams lined up and BHA President Mr. G. C. Fletcher made a few remarks and then his wife made the presentation to me. On the case was inscribed : "To Captain Dhyan Chand from BHA in recognition of his unique services for the cause of world hockey". I am taking the liberty of reproducing here what was written in a Kolkata daily:
"Mr. Fletcher observed that this was the last occasion when Kolkata would have the pleasure of seeing one of India's most outstanding sportsman in action. Captain Dhyan Chand is acknowledged as the finest centre-forward the game has every seen. His outstanding skill and artistry are world famous, and there is little doubt that if a vote were to be taken, he would unanimously be elected as India's most popular sportsman.
His success and brilliance on the field of play have never effected his quiet and friendly demeanour off it. He has been a great player and a captain and a great ambassador of this country in whatever part of the world he has travelled.
When we sent a touring side to New Zealand in 1935, a photograph was taken in Australia of Captain Dhyan Chand and Donald Bradman, each of whom was described as supreme in his own particular game. What Don Bradman is to Australia and to world cricket, Dhyan Chand is to India and world hockey. Indeed his fame is worldwide, as hockey is known in many more countries and continents than cricket."
In reply I said :
"I am grateful to you for all your kind thoughts and actions. What little I have done in the field of hockey for my country has been due to the kindness and affection shown to me by officials and members of the public. I am a soldier and as such not used to public speaking, but all the same I feel it is my duty to convey to you all my most grateful thanks for all that you have done for me.
For the city of Kolkata I have nothing but admiration, and this will last till the last day of my life. The public of this great city have always been kind to me. Ever since the day in 1928 when I first played here, I have been most fortunate to continue to have their affection. The press here has always been tolerant, and the encouragement given to me by them in no small measure helped me to maintain my confidence in myself.
To Pankaj Gupta, my old friend, I owe a special debt of gratitude, but the time at my disposal will not permit me to go into details. Finally, I convey my grateful thanks to all who thought so kindly of me and brought me to this great city. To the young players of today I say - Keep the flag of India flying."
Thus, in April 1949, I made my last bow in the arena of hockey. After that I have not played any first class hockey, nor do I intend to play in the future.
Goal - Journey's End