For the longest time, Indians have accepted hockey as the national game without a question. That’s what all our textbooks claimed, at least. But an RTI filed by a 10-year old girl in 2012 proved that there are no legal documents, or announcements, by the Indian Government confirming Hockey as the National Game of India. And here’s why that needs to change:
Hockey has been a source of inspiration among Indians for decades. Being one of the few sports which brought glory to the nation before Independence, it established a sense of hope among the Indians, and became a popular distraction from their miseries. It infused a sense of pride and solace among the oppressed Indians. The Indian Hockey team was the first non-European nation to be inducted into the International Hockey Federation. The national team produced a number of legends and was invincible between the years 1928 and 1956. Our team has been one of the most successful at the Olympics with 8 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals – making it all the more necessary for Hockey to be awarded the position of India’s national game.
Hockey has also been a game which made its way through the discriminated society and proved to be a game for all. It has been a uniting factor across the hierarchies of society. It is equally popular in the rural and urban areas. In the rural areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, hockey is a way of living for the people. Focusing on the current situation of the country, anything which binds the nation together must receive the respect it deserves. However, over time, the stature of the game has diminished. The popularity of hockey has been overpowered by other sports in the nation. It’s high-time that the game gets back on the throne of glory!
Odisha has taken big steps in the direction of helping hockey raise in stature by sponsoring the national hockey team. It has set up an example for the rest of the nation and also encourages them to do their bit for hockey. Interactive initiatives like #HeartBeatsForHockey’, which give you a chance to show your support for the game by getting your heartbeat recorded in a customized hockey stick or pledging your heartbeat on www.heartbeatsforhockey.com, are up and running. Another such initiative is ‘Hockey Adda,’ an on-ground discussion platform for hockey players and experts with millennials in the audience. Campaigns like these have given an impetus to the popularity of Hockey in India. With the Men’s Hockey World Cup around the corner, the game calls for your support.
After decades, Hockey, the game and the fervour around it, are taking a splendid shape once again. The game that has united the nation for decades is now demanding our attention. It is time we give our hearts to hockey. It is time to raise our voice in this direction and make Hockey the official national game of India. Let’s sign the petition in huge numbers and turn something we’ve always believed into an actual reality!