The Courageous Dhyan Chand

15 August 1947 – India became Independent.

But the spirit of independence was exhibited exactly 11 years before that by Dhyan Chand. Read on…

15 Aug 1936…

It was the Berlin Olympics and India was to play the mighty Germany in the Finals of the Hockey tournament. To boost the morale of his team, Adolf Hitler decided to attend and witness the match.

Just before match began, Indian Coach, Pankaj Gupta, got the Congress Flag (Tri colour with charka) into the teams dressing room. All the players saluted the Flag and sang Vande Mataram, the then acknowledged National Anthem of India.

Dhyan Chand

By half time India was leading 1-0. The playing conditions were not conducive for India in the second half. Dhyan Chand the captain of the Indian team was facing acute difficulty in running on the wet ground in his canvas shoes. Dhyan Chand calmly took off his shoes and started playing barefoot.

India won the Final match and the Gold medal by 8-1, of which 6 Goals were scored by Dhyan Chand himself. Hitler, left the stadium halfway through the match, as he could not bear to see his team lose. Later he expressed his desire to meet Dhyan Chand.

Dhyan Chand in Action

On being informed by the German Chancery, Dhyan Chand could not sleep the entire night. He was wondering what would happen in the lion’s den.

The next morning Dhyan Chand found himself, before Hitler. Hitler took a look at the sub-standard canvas shoes of Dhyan Chand and enquired “what else you do, when not playing hockey?”

Dhyan Chand: I am in Army
Hitler: What is your rank?
Dhyan Chand: I am Lance Nayak
Hitler: Come over to Germany and I will make you a Field Marshal.
Dhyan Chand was in flutter, not understanding whether it was an instruction to him by the Supreme Commander of the mighty German Army or an offer. Breaking his silence after a few seconds, Dhyan Chand replied in chaste hindi, “Indiais my Country, and I am fine there”.
Hitler is said to have taken his eyes off Dhyan Chand’s canvas shoes briefly and retorted, “As you like it”, and stomped away in a huff.
We should be proud of the humble Lance Nayak of the Indian Army who did the Indians proud.
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1 Comment

  1. arnie

     /  November 9, 2015

    Dhyan chand was the hockey legend, popularly known as hockey wizard. The greatest cricketer of all time, Sir Don Bradman on seeing Dhyan Chand rightly said, “You score goals like runs”. Source:


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