New Delhi [India], Aug. 28 : As many as 100 former hockey players and former hockey federation members staged a protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, demanding Bharat Ratna for legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
The people erected a sand sculpture of Dhyan Chand at Jantar Mantar, demanding Bharat Ratna for him. "Tomorrow is National Sports Day, which is celebrated on Dhyan Chand's birthday. We think it would have been the best had Dhyan Chand been awarded Bharat Ratna on this day," Ashok Dhyan Chand, son of Major Dhyan Chand, told ANI.
"He was inspiration for a number of players who won Arjun award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Khel Ratna.
Who was the inspiration behind all of them? Dhyan Chand. The person who inspired others with his performance has been rejected," he added. Former hockey captain Ajit Pal said they will be submitting a memorandum to the government and the Sports Minister, requesting them to honour Dhyan Chand with Bharat Ratna, which he deserved, but has not been given yet.
"The first name I heard after holding the hockey stick was Dhyan Chand. His image in our mind is such that there is no other player born like him. We demand that if somebody deserved Bharat Ratna from sports category, then he is Dhyan Chand," Pal said.
Prominent personalities like Zafar Iqbal, Jalaluddin Rizvi, Dilip Tirkey and others also joined the protest.
Dhyan Chand, also known as "The Wizard", was known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats. Considering his extraordinary contribution in the field of sports, the government initiated Dhyan Chand Award in 2002, which is India's highest award given for lifetime achievement in sports and games.