Hockey legend Dhyan Chand faced apathy

first_imgDhyan Chand served the army for 55 long years, but the institution as well as the governments of the day did not treat him as well as the best ever hockey player of the country deserved.Even when Dhyan Chand was admitted to the general ward of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi in 1979, a few days before his death, and in a city where the army headquarters and the central government are based, the shabby treatment continued.Dhyan Chand’s son Ashok Kumar, also a former India hockey captain, picks two words to describe the apathy towards his illustrious father – “total neglect”.”My father was a principled man. When some family members would request him to seek government assistance, he would say he did his job of playing hockey well and others in positions too should do their job responsibly,” Ashok Kumar said.”While Dhyan Chand never approached people for assistance, he was totally neglected by the army as well as the Uttar Pradesh and central governments,” he said on Wednesday, the day Olympic silver medallist Subedar Vijay Kumar, who had complained of being ignored for promotion for six years by the army, returned home.Ashok Kumar, an upright person like his father, said when Dhyan Chand was admitted to AIIMS for about 12 days, no one from either the army or the government enquired about his health after the legend complained of stomach ache and also showed signs of dementia.Ashok Kumar said the family wanted to take Dhyan Chand abroad for treatment, but were sceptical of approaching anyone in the army or government for assistance.advertisement”He used to get a paltry amount of Rs 200 as from the army and that too stopped after his death on December 3, 1979. There was no further support from the army or the government. It was because he was a disciplined man and had no strings to pull,” Ashok Kumar, who himself silently watched certain undeserving players in the Indian Airlines get out of turn promotion before retiring, said.While sympathising with Vijay, Ashok Kumar cites his father’s case. “He joined the Army in 1922 during the British Raj. But what did the government do for him in the 32 years he lived in independent India?” he asked.”When my father died, no one from the army came to offer condolences. I rushed from AIIMS to Panchkuian Road crematorium to hire one of those black lorries to take his body to Jhansi, our native place. It was then people woke up and someone said his body would be taken in a helicopter,” Ashok Kumar said.last_img

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