|Nick Name:||The Wizard, Hockey Wizard, Chand (Hindi for The Moon)|
|Height:||170 cm (5' 7'')|
|Birth Day:||August 29, 1905|
|Death Date:||Dec 4, 1979 (age 74)|
|Height:||170 cm (5' 7'')|
|Eye Color:||Dark Brown|
As per our current Database, Dhyan Chand died on Dec 4, 1979 (age 74).
He was 16 when he joined the Indian Army.
Dhyan Chand was born in Allahabad on 29 August 1905 in a Rajput family. He was the elder brother of another hockey player Roop Singh, and the son of Sharadha Singh and Sameshwar Singh. Dhyan Chand's father was enlisted in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey for the army. Dhyan Chand had two brothers – Mool Singh and Roop Singh. Because of his father's numerous army transfers, the family had to move to different cities and as such Chand had to terminate his education after only six years of schooling. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
On 29 August 1922 - his 17th birthday - Chand enlisted in the 1st Brahmans of the British Indian Army as a sepoy (private). A reorganisation of the army that year resulted in the 1st Brahmans becoming the 1/1st Punjab Regiment. Between 1922 and 1926, Chand exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games. Chand was ultimately selected for the Indian Army team which was to tour New Zealand. The team won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1, receiving praise from all spectators. Following this, in the two Test matches against the New Zealand squad, the team won the first and narrowly lost the second. Returning to India, Chand was promoted to Lance Naik in 1927.
After successfully lobbying for reintroducing field hockey in the Olympics, the newly formed Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) made preparations to send its best possible team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. In 1925, an Inter-Provincial Tournament was held to select the team members. Five teams participated in the inaugural nationals – United Provinces (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces. Chand got permission from the Army to play for the United Provinces team.
Buoyed by the success of the Tournament, it was decided that it would be held every two years. After two more trial matches between various hopefuls, the Olympic team (including Chand as center-forward) was announced and assembled in Bombay. Center-half Broome Eric Pinniger was selected as the captain. The IHF was initially low on funds since the provinces of Bombay, Madras and Burma had turned a deaf ear to their financial appeal, but they managed to scrape enough money. The Olympic team then played a match against the Bombay XI, and amazingly lost 3–2, even though Singh scored both his team's goals. With a quiet send-off, the team left for England on 10 March, to play 11 matches against local sides as well in the London Folkestone Festival in 1927, winning all. It was also said that Great Britain did not send a team in 1928 to the Amsterdam Olympics after their national team was defeated by the Indian team at Folkestone. This is best cited in Kapur's book Romance of Hockey where a despatch of H. Sutherland Stark, London representative of "Sports", a magazine of Lahore, tells the story better than any other comment : "For reasons it is difficult to understand the English Hockey Association have taken up a very stiff attitude towards Indian Hockey in recent years and have repeatedly been twitted about it by even their own supporters. The Editor of a leading sports newspaper described them to me as an intensely conservative body, but there seems to be something more than conservative behind their unwillingness apparently ever to meet India in a full international encounter". Finally, on 24 April, the team arrived in Amsterdam to embark on a tour of the Low Countries. In all the pre-Olympic matches against local Dutch, German and Belgian teams, the Indian team won by large margins.
In the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics, the Indian team was put in the division A table, with Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland . On 17 May the Indian national hockey team made its Olympic debut against Austria, winning 6–0, with Chand scoring 3 goals. The next day India defeated Belgium 9–0; however Chand only scored once. On 20 May, Denmark lost to India 5–0, with Chand netting 3. Two days later, he scored 4 goals when India defeated Switzerland 6–0.
Chand graduated from Victoria College, Gwalior in 1932. Being in the military, his father got a small piece of land for a house.
The India team set sail for San Francisco on 30 May, and arrived on 6 July. They reached Los Angeles three weeks before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which took place on 30 July. On 4 August 1932, India played its first match against Japan and won 11–1. Chand, Roop Singh, Gurmit Singh each scored thrice, and Dickie Carr once. In the final on 11 August, India played against hosts USA. India won 24–1, a world record at that time (until it was broken in 2003), and once again clinched the gold medal. Chand scored 8 times, Roop Singh 10, Gurmit Singh 5 and Pinniger once. In fact, Chand along with his brother Roop, scored 25 out of the 35 goals scored by India. This led to them being dubbed the 'hockey twins'.
In 1933, Chand's home team, the Jhansi Heroes, he participated in and won the Beighton Cup, which he considered the most prestigious of Indian hockey tournaments. Later, he would state,
In December 1934, the IHF decided to send a team to New Zealand in the new year. Chand and his brother were immediately selected. When the Nawab of Manavadar declined to play, Chand was appointed captain. In the subsequent tour, the team played a total of 48 matches on this tour, with 28 in New Zealand and the remainder in India, Ceylon and Australia. India won every match, scoring 584 goals and conceding only 40. Of these 48 matches, Chand played 23 and scored a total of 201 goals.
In Kolkata, the Heroes also won the Lakshmibilas Cup tournament, which was open only to Indian teams. In 1935, they successfully defended their Beighton Cup title, though lost the subsequent year.
Upon returning to India, Chand resumed his duties in the barracks. In December 1935, the IHF decided to stage the Inter-Provincial tournament to select the Olympic team. Chand was again denied permission to leave his platoon, though once again he was selected without formalities. The final team assembled in Delhi on 16 June and played against the Delhi Hockey XI. Incredibly, they lost 4–1. After this inauspicious start, the team went on a successful tour of the subcontinent, finally departing for Marseilles on 27 June. They arrived on 10 July, and after an uncomfortable journey in third-class compartments, reached Berlin on 13 July. On 17 July, the Indian team played a practice match against Germany and lost 4–1. As such, manager Pankaj Gupta informed the IHF that Ali Dara had to be sent immediately to replace the out of form Mirza Masood.
On 5 August, India won its first match against Hungary 4–0. India won the rest of the group matches against USA (7–0, with Chand scoring 2 goals) and Japan (9–0, with Chand scoring 4). On 10 August, Ali Dara arrived. Their fourth match was the semi-final against France, whom they defeated 10–0, with Chand scoring 4 goals. Meanwhile, Germany had beaten Denmark 6–0, beaten Afghanistan 4–1 and in the play-offs, had defeated the Netherlands 3–0. Thus, India and Germany were to clash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics field hockey final on 19 August.
There have been many erroneous media reports over the years claiming that Dhyan Chand scored 6 goals in India's 8–1 victory over Germany in the 1936 Olympic final. In his autobiography Goal! Chand wrote:
The International Hockey Federation records also attribute only three of the eight goals to Chand in the final. The final was included in the Leni Riefenstahl film on the 1936 Olympics, Olympia. Overall, in three Olympic tournaments, Chand had scored 33 goals in 12 matches.
After returning from Berlin, Chand joined his regiment. Between 1936 and the commencement of the War in 1939, he largely confined himself to army hockey, with one visit to Kolkata to take part in the Beighton Cup tournament in 1937. Before the beighton Cup, Chand spent four months in a military camp in Pachmarhi to attend military classes. On 16 March 1938, he was made a Viceroy's Commissioned Officer (VCO; the equivalent of the present-day junior commissioned officer) with the rank of jemadar (now termed naib subedar). With the increasing need for qualified officers during wartime, he was promoted to acting subedar by July 1942 and to the war-substantive rank by early 1943. On 9 April 1943, Chand received an emergency commission as a second lieutenant in the 14th Punjab Regiment, with the war-substantive rank of lieutenant from the same date.
Towards the closing phases of the war, Chand led an army hockey team which toured around the battlefields in Manipur, Burma, the Far East and Ceylon. When the war ended in 1945, Chand decided that the Indian hockey team needed new young players. In 1947, the IHF was requested by the Asian Sports Association (ASA) of East Africa to send a team to play a series of matches. The ASA made a condition that Chand should be included in the team. Once again, Chand was chosen as captain.
The team assembled in Bombay on 23 November 1947, and reached Mombasa on 15 December and played 9 matches in British East Africa winning all. Chand, though now in his forties, still managed to score 61 goals in 22 matches.
After returning from the East African tour in early 1948, Chand decided to gradually phase out his involvement in 'serious hockey'. He played exhibition matches, leading a Rest of India side against state teams and the 1948 Olympic team which defeated Chand's side 2–1, even though an aging Chand scored his side's lone goal. Chand's last match was leading the Rest of India team against the Bengal side. The match ended in a draw after which the Bengal Hockey Association organized a public function to honor Chand's services to Indian hockey.
Chand continued to hold his emergency commission in the Indian Army post-Independence, with the service number IEC 3526, but was apparently not granted a regular commission. In 1951 he was honored at India's National Stadium with the inaugural Dhyan Chand Tournament, which he attended to the admiration of the spectators.
After 34 years of service, Chand retired from the Indian Army on 29 August 1956 as a lieutenant (acting captain). The Government of India honoured him the same year by conferring him the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour.
Chand died on 3 December 1979 from liver cancer at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. He was cremated at the Jhansi Heroes ground in his hometown, after some initial problems in getting clearance. His regiment, the Punjab Regiment, accorded him full military honours.
India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement. The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.
The 20th National Award 2012, the Gem of India, awarded by the Union Minister of India, was given to Dhyan Chand. The award was received by Dhyan Chand’s son, Ashok Dhyan Chand (a hockey Olympian in his own right) on behalf of his deceased father. The award was given by Journalist Association of India under the flagship of Journalists Federation of India, Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi, India, on 22 September 2012.
Dhyan was born to Sameshwar Dutt Singh in 1905.
Currently, Dhyan Chand is 116 years, 9 months and 30 days old. Dhyan Chand will celebrate 117th birthday on a Monday 29th of August 2022. Below we countdown to Dhyan Chand upcoming birthday.
Sports day planned at MLSU on Major Dhyan Chand's Birthday
A friendly hockey match involving past hockey players of Mohal Lal Sukhadia University will be held on 29th August 2013 to commemorate Major Dhyan Chand on his 108th Birthday.