Why is Hockey the National Game of India?

For many years, citizens of India have been playing and participating in various sports and games. If we talk about the most popular sport in the country then, the most common answer you will get is ‘Cricket’. But, it is true that cricket is very popular amongst the whole country, still it is not the national sport of India. As we all know that the national game of India is Hockey but still people are not engrossed in this sport as much they take interest in others. Hockey is one of the most ancient games that is played on the grounds of India. 

The fact is that Field hockey is considered India’s national sport. But, the question comes to me: ‘Why is hockey the national game of India?’. You will get this answer below in the blog. The national sport of a country is chosen based on the popularity of the game or its historical significance. The fact that the sport in question has a long and rich history in that country can also contribute to its designation as a national game. The most obvious reason for designating a sport as the country’s national sport is the obvious sense of pride it instills in the country’s people. 

In this blog, we are going to answer the question ‘Why is Hockey considered the national game of India?’ Besides this, you will also see a glimpse of the History of Hockey in India. Also, the major achievements and some best players of hockey will also be covered later in this article. 

History behind Hockey in India

Hockey has a long and illustrious tradition in India. It was first introduced to the country in the 19th century by British servicemen, and clubs were established soon after in Calcutta in 1885. Hockey has unquestionably established itself as one of India’s most successful sports since then. The national team’s early success cemented hockey’s place as India’s national sport.

Almost all big races in the world have played various versions of this game throughout history. 

The British invented the latest accepted version of the game of Field Hockey.

In 1921, the London Hockey Association was established, and the rules were made fixed. The International Hockey Federation was established in 1924 with the aim of bringing mostly British sport to the rest of the world. During the British Raj, the game was introduced to India. Calcutta, India’s first hockey club, was established in 1855. In 1908, the Bengal Hockey Association became India’s first hockey association. In 1928, India participated in the first Olympics, which were held in Amsterdam.

Why is Field Hockey the ‘national Game of India’?

Hockey is an ancient sport, with the Indian Hockey Federation being founded in 1925. India’s first international hockey trip was to New Zealand, where they played 21 matches, winning 18 of them, drawing two, and losing one. This victory aided India’s hockey team in standing out among other nations. This victory over New Zealand inspired Indians to take up the sport of hockey. Between 1928 and 1956, the game of hockey was very popular. India won six consecutive gold medals in the Olympic games during this time span, making it the golden age. After this amazing performance of the Indian Hockey Team in the Olympics, it was declared the National Game of India after its rising popularity all over the country.

Controversy: India does not have a National Sport?

For a long time, we have considered Field Hockey as the official national sport of India. In 2012, however, a simple question from an Indian school girl completely changed the situation. Aishwarya Parashar, a 10-year-old girl from Lucknow, used the Right to Information Act to request clarity on the country’s official sport.  The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports responded to the petition of the girl by stating that there is no official order declaring hockey to be the national sport.

Also, SPS Tomar, the organization’s undersecretary, clarified that it was simply the national game in “general parlance” and nothing more. After this statement, the whole country go a big shock as we have been grasping Hockey is our National Sport for so many years and suddenly this declaration made by the ministry was quite unacceptable for many hockey lovers in India, Many people are surprised by this because the sport is widely regarded as India’s national sport, as shown by the fact that it is listed on the Government of India’s website.

Achievements of National Hockey Team

As we have already discussed the major achievements of the Indian Hockey Team before and after independence above in this blog, there are also other achievements that need to be highlighted to date. So, have a look at the success of the National Indian Hockey Team here:

 

  • The Golden Era of Indian Hockey is considered between 1928-1956.
  • The Indian Hockey Team won six straight Olympic gold medals between 1928 and 1956.
  • In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the team won the gold Medal.
  • In 1975, the Indian Men’s Hockey team won the Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
  • In the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, the Indian Women’s Hockey team won gold.

Best Hockey Players of India

In India, national hockey has given some marvelous hockey players of all times, The list of some of best hockey players of all times are given below:

  • Dhyan Chand Singh 
  • Roop Singh
  • Leslie Claudius
  • Udham Singh
  • K D Singh Babu
  • Shankar Lakshman
  • Dhanraj Pillay
  • Ajit Pal Singh
  • Sardar Singh
  • Manpreet Singh
  • Ritu Rani

Conclusion

In the history of sports in India, the name of field hockey is established in some golden history records. People have been respecting the sport of field hockey for so many years. However, we don’t talk much about this sport and the audience of hockey is also limited. However, there are women and men’s teams of Indian hockey that win various cups all over the world and make India proud with their commendable performances.