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Indian Hockey – Is it coming to an end?

Last night, While i sit watching TV, switching channels, I see Prabjoth Singh, my favorite Indian Hockey player. It had been long since i had seen some news on Hockey. I heard the story, I felt sad, Three of the famous Indian Hockey Players auctioning their jerseys to raise funds for organizing a hockey tournament.

Here is the story.

Prabhjot singh auctioning tshirt

5 June 2008, Chandigarh:

In a first-of-its-kind initiative to raise funds for a tournament, leading hockey players Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur on Thursday auctioned the jerseys worn by them in major championships.

The three jerseys fetched a total of Rs 2.3 lakh, with the one worn by Prabhjot attracting the highest price of Rs 95,000.

The three players decided to auction their apparel to raise funds for the Dharam Singh Memorial tournament to be held from June8 to 12 in which eight teams will be participating.

Sandeep Aggarwal, owner of a Jalandhar-based sports goods manufacturing company paid Rs 95,000 for Prabhjot’s jersey worn in the 2007 Asia Cup final.

Rajpal’s jersey worn in the same match, was bought for Rs 75,000 by Australia-based Rajpal Sandhu.

A jersey worn by Deepak Thakur fetched Rs 60,000 from Allahabad-based businessman Bhupinder Singh. Thakur had worn the jersey in the 2004 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan in the Netherlands. — PTI

Courtesy: The Hindu [6/6/2008]

‘We are doing this to save the history of a long running tournament, Also to get noticed in the Indian government’ says Prabhjoth Singh.

Rajpal Sandhu, who bought Rajpal Singh jersey for Rs.75000 had specially flown in from Australia to support the players. “I’m was in deep pain when i heard of the auction, I’m here to specially support the team and Indian Hockey”, He said.

Similar emotions went through my heart. Is Hockey really the National sport? What is the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) or the government doing to save the national sport? The players are coming out in open to tell their dis-satisfaction, Whats wrong? I kept wondering.

Where is the Indian Hockey Federation??

If at all there has been an evidence to their existence, Its been the controversies they have been involved with. The National coach criticizes the IHF for not having given proper facilities to the young hockey players, who failed to make it through to the Olympics. Indian Hockey still suffers in the hands of so called gentlemen.

The IHF does not even bother about players well being , forget the funding. The development of the game and the Players is left to themselves. Comparing the state of Indian Hockey to the Chak De’s Women team would not be wrong. So is the state of the IHF right now. IHF is just a namesake organization, eating up all the money funded by the government for the development of Hockey.

What is the Indian Government doing to save their faces??

Nothing. They just happen to ignore the happenings in the IHF or on the Hockey front. I suppose we have a Sports development minister appointed each time the government comes into ruling.
Has anyone in the government, be it even a chaprasi [Attender] to the PM, attended one Hockey match??

Just funding the appropriate associations does not end the role of the Sports development minister, Making sure the right amount of money reaches the right people at the right time is another responsibility as a part of his resume. Does he even care about the development, He takes his share of money and enjoys his life with family and kids.

At least the Media stepped in to show a news story on the same.The Minister should have been questioned for the same, Interesting answers could have been received, But even the media stays away from this sport, TRP’s matter to them. Anyways, Atleast some airtime was given to this news story,Kudos to them!

What about the Sponsors??

Why would the sponsors step in, They are sponsoring to make money, not to give it as donations. Indian hockey has had a badpatch in the past, affected by controversies involved with the IHF. Sponsors/ Corporate houses cannot be blamed for sponsoring the IPL over Hockey. Jo dikhtha hai vahi biktha hai. {what is popular is what sells]

So who are the people apart form the IHF, Government to be blamed. Cricket??

Is Cricket depriving other sports of their popularity??
Long running argument, I’d say.

After the IPL, The answer is clear, Cricket does deprive other sports of their popularity. But in a nation where over 90% of the population composed of cricket fans, this had to happen. No blaming Cricket for its dominance, BCCI [ Board of Cricket Control in India ] has played its part in promoting the sport and creating interest for the sport.

BCCI has not become the richest cricket board in the world overnight. The members of the board work their heads together to get the money flowing!

ESPN Star did try its best to generate the same interest by launching a Private league, called the Premier Hockey league, PHL. Two editions old, this league has been able to sustain the passion with which hockey needs to be played. But does the Indian Hockey Federation even think of anything similar? They are only involved in controversies and debate about Cricket depriving the other sports.

What needs to be done??

IHF is not working the way it needs to be working. Dissolve it, Create a new association with ex-players on the board, Players who have shed their blood and sweat for the sport.

Create some interest for the game by organizing tournaments in states where there is a fair liking for the sport, and then spread it to the other states.

Televising the Matches on national television is the most important step the government needs to take. What is the use of having a DD sport channel, where u have nothing to show. Televise live matches. Televising will automatically bring in some kind of sponsorship and interest amongst the audience.

Bhaiya Jo dikhta hai vahi biktha hai.

All this requires money, The government is not going to fund all this overnight, What now??

Here is where BCCI can step in. BCCI can fund some of their earnings into hockey and other sports, something that Mr. Lalit Modi said when the IPL was proposed. Instead of funding a gym for the ministers, MP’s and MLA’s, They can earn some goodwill by funding other sports.

Something needs to happen, If not, Hockey will be forgotten. May be 50 years into the future my grandson would be watching a documentary on Indian Hockey on the History channel. I seriously wish to see PRabjoth Singh in the jersey, holding a gold medal won at the olympics. As far as my love for sport goes, I will always be a Cricket and a Hockey fan.

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  1. Rejishankar
    June 6, 2008 at 9:24 am


    I should tell you this for sure , nice blog. I wish the government officials and IHF members should read this . I guess the IHF association has been dissolved a month ago(not sure) …
    I Like your way of writing the blog , it really make others to read your blogs with interest .
    keep writing , expecting your next post:)

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