Bhubaneswar: Ahead of World Cup Hockey scheduled in November this year, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to name hockey as the ‘National Game’ of India.
“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,” wrote Patnaik in a letter to Modi.
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, he said.
Acknowledging the past glory of the game, CM Patnaik said, “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 the gold was won in London by defeating Great Britain. In fact, prior to 1947, Great Britain avoided playing against India for many years fearing embarrassment to lose against its colony. It was perhaps poetic justice that young and aspirational India won against its former colonizer 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, Patnaik wrote to the PM.
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, he wrote.
As the next World Cup Hockey will be held in Odisha in November, while reveiwing the prepartion of the international event CM Patnaik was surprised and shocked to know that hockey, which is popularly known as the National Game, has never been notified as our National Game.
Notably, hockey is in fact not the national game of India.
Earlier in August 2012, the Ministry of Youth Affairs in a reply to an RTI query from a ten-year-old girl Aishwarya Parashar had revealed that the country does not have a national game as no game has been notified as such.
Through the letter, Patnaik has once again drawn the attention of the Centre to notify ‘Hockey’ as our national game.