Inspiring stories of passionate people: The hockey wizard – Major Dhyan Chand


Dhyan Chand was born on 28 August 1905 in a Rajput family of Prayag in Uttar Pradesh. After his birth, his family moved to Jhansi, where Dhyan Chand spent his childhood and most of the later years of his life. After his early education, he joined the Indian Army as a soldier at the age of 16.

The seeds of artistry in hockey were planted and nurtured in him by Subedar Major Tiwari of his regiment. Dhyan Chand got so passionate with this game that he spends several hours every day mastering and innovating new techniques in this game. Indian team participated in the Hockey Tournament for the first time in the VIII Olympiad held at Amsterdam in 1928. India won the championship by 3-0. Out of the three goals two were scored by Dhyan Chand. In 1932 Olympics at Los Angeles, Indian team under the captainship of Lal Shah Bukhari again won the championship. India defeated America by 24-1 and thus set a world record. Nine out of 24 goals were scored by Dhyan Chand and ten by his younger brother, Roop Singh.

For me he was the great hero that India ever produced in sports. Unfortunately for him there was no TV to spread his fame, get all the revenue for advertising. A referee asked his stick to be checked as he suspected there was glue in his stick as the ball did not leave the stick when he dribbled and ran forward.

Once upon a time Indian Hockey team was on foreign tour. We played 48 matches and won all of them and Dhyan Chand scored 400 international and over 1000 overall goals alone and helped India win 3 consecutive Olympic gold medals. India was unbeatable for 20 years. We beat USA in an Olympic match by 24 goals which is still a world record and probably the worst sporting defeat of USA ever. Dhyan Chand lead INDIA both in the Hockey Field and Battle Field.

Once Major Dhyan Chand was not able to score a goal against the opposition team. After several misses, he argued with the match referee regarding the measurement of the goal post, and amazingly, he was proven right! 

“ He spends several hours every day mastering and innovating new techniques in this game “

In the X Olympiad held at Berlin in 1936, Dhyan Chand captained the Indian team. India defeated Germany by 4-1. Dhyan Chand exhibited such a wizardry with his hockey stick that speculation was rife that a magnet was embedded in his hockey stick to attract the ball. His hockey stick was ordered to he changed but his play continued to hold the spectators, and his opponents spellbound. The Second World War intervened and the subsequent Olympiads were not held.

Hitler was so impressed by Dhyan Chand’s wizardry with the stick that he offered the Indian a chance to move to Germany and the post of Colonel in his army but he refused the offer with a smile and continued his service in the Indian Army.

Sir Don Bradman and Dhyan Chand once came face to face at Adelaide in 1935. After watching Dhyan Chand in action, Don Bradman remarked
”He scores goals like runs in cricket” 

Residents of Vienna, Austria, have set up a statue of him with four hands and four sticks, depicting his control and mastery over the ball.

In his last days, he was short of money, but he never coached any foreign team for the fear of his team defeating the Indian team. He guided and coached a large number of hockey players. His son, Ashok Kumar, under his inspired coaching added luster to Indian Hockey by representing India in international tourneys.

Dhyan Chand retired from the Army in 1956 with the rank of Major. The President of India conferred on him the award of Padma Bhushan in recognition of his outstanding services to the cause of Indian hockey. He passed away on 3rd December 1979.

What made Dhanchand so different inspite of the fact that he did not get his due from outside world and public: It was his sheer determination, passion and love for the game and his devotion towards his passion that made him stand out from the rest of the world. The wizard of hockey, remains even today unchallenged and has become a legend forever.

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Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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3 Responses

  1. anu says:

    Awesome! !!

  2. arnie says:

    Well written post. Dhyan chand deserves Bharat Ratna. UPA govt didn’t shown bill to give him this award.

    The greatest cricketer of all time, Sir Don Bradman on seeing Dhyan Chand rightly said, “You score goals like runs” as per source –

  3. kamal sharma says:

    You have given complete information about Dhyan Chand, Major Dhyan Chand was famous with the name of ” magician of hockey”. In 1936 major Dhyan Chand beat the hosted country Germany in front of Adolf Hitler, that incidence surprise all world with winning of three Olympic gold medals. This legend man was born on 29 august 1905 at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. I have also written an article on major Dhyan Chand, for more information click on the link.

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