Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to notify Hockey as the National Game of India.
For any country winning an Olympic gold medal is a proud moment. What makes it more glorious is to hear the national anthem being played on the global stage, while the country’s flag goes up, Naveen wrote in his letter to the PM.
In 1948 as a new born nation, India witnessed this glory in London when the National Hockey Team won the Olympic gold medal. A nation of 33 crores rejoiced as the gold was won in London by defeating Great Britain, he mentioned in the letter.
In fact, prior to 1947, Great Britain avoided playing against India for many years fearing embarrassment to lose against its colony, he added.
It was perhaps poetic justice that young and inspirational India won against its former coloniser in London.
Till the 1980s India’s presence in the international sports arena was marked by its brilliance in Hockey. Crores of Indians rejoiced every time our Hockey Team became victorious and our national anthem was played. Hockey became part of the Indian psyche, he wrote.
Cutting across different strata of society and regions, cutting across the rural urban divide, Hockey is hugely popular. In the tribal areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Hockey is a way of life. In fact, in a first of its kind, the state of Odisha is sponsoring the National Hockey Teams for the next five years, the Chief Minister mentioned.
As you know Sir, the next World Cup Hockey will be held in Odisha in November this year. While reviewing the preparations, I was surprised and shocked to know that what is popularly known as the National Game – Hockey, has in fact never been notified as our National Game.
Hence I am sure you will agree with the crores of Hockey loving fans of our country – that Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our National Game. This will be a fitting tribute to the great hockey players who have made our country proud. It will also inspire our future generations, Naveen concluded.