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Dhyan Chand’s Berlin Saga: Captaincy test in Nazi Germany, Hitler myth | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: When Adolf Hitler commissioned Nazi Germany’s favorite movie director Leni Reifanstahl to doc the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels could not have imagined that there can be one other nation, other than the USA, refusing to salute the Fuhrer.
The British India contingent comprised a bunch of inexperienced athletes with solely shining glory being a two-time champion hockey crew led by its resident magician Major Dhyan Chand.
The international media’s focus was the United Stated of America refusing the standard proper-arm salute to Hitler throughout the opening ceremony however who would have thought {that a} contingent of beginner athletes sporting golden ‘Kullahs’ and light-weight blue turban would do the unthinkable.
The contingent, with its flag-bearer Dhyan Chand, refused to salute and it was extra of an emotional choice than political, taken by the crew when the whole Third Reichsang the 2 nationwide hymns ‘Deutschland’ and ‘Horst Wessel Lied’.
In the ebook ‘Olympic History: The India Story‘, co-authored by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta, they’ve quoted Mirza Naseeruddin Masood, a member of the gold profitable crew, narrating that opening ceremony.
“It made a strange impression upon the Indian contingent and not an eye was left dry. India rose before our imagination… Somehow the spring of our national feelings was touched, and the unity and solidarity of the people in the ‘Stadium’ made us look with shame and regret at our poverty, destitution and discord.”
Masood was an achieved man past the sphere of hockey as he served the federal government of India in numerous capacities, which included being personal secretary of unbiased India’s first schooling minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
He was additionally UNNESCO Mission Chief to Australia, Consul General chargeable for Muscat, Oman and at last Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
However, one of Masood’s largest regrets was being denied India captaincy in 1936, regardless of being socially elite in comparison with Dhyan Chand. And only a few individuals knew that Masood was truly additionally one of the 5 nationwide selectors entrusted with the responsibility of choosing the skipper.
Masood had, in reality, made his displeasure clear in a ebook he authored and printed in 1937 ‘The World’s Hockey Champions’ — 1936′.
For Dhyan Chand, what the rating-line of India matches in that Olympics will not reveal is the large strain that he confronted as media experiences prompt that the defending champions had been not invincible.
Also the truth that the 1932 Olympics, with out participation of main European nations because of the Great Depression, grew to become a kind of a sham and people who find out about hockey would inform that there wasn’t so much of combat that India confronted whereas retaining the yellow steel in Los Angeles.
The notion gained credence when India misplaced to a choose Delhi XI 1-4 at Mori Gate floor in the nationwide capital. It was the identical Delhi XI that had been hammered 0-12 by the Indian crew on its return from LA 4 years in the past.
Dhyan Chand, in his autobiography ‘Goal’, which was first printed in 1952 in weekly installments of the enduring ‘Sport and Pastime’ journal printed by ‘The Hindu’ group, wrote about that loss previous to the Berlin Games.
“… This particular defeat kept worrying me. For the first time I was captaining the Olympic team; will India lose the title under my charge?,” Dhyan Chand’s scepticism was evident in his autobiography.
Hockey Federation solely had Rs 6600 in its coffers
According to the ebook, the Indian hockey federation wanted Rs 40,000 to ship the crew and it required the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Gaekwads of Baroda to bail them out.
Nizam donated Rs 5000, the rulers of Baroda gave 200 GBP (Rs 3600 INR then) and, together with contributions from different princely states, ensured that the crew boarded the ship. Another Rs 1700 was spent on flying Ishtiaque Dara on SOS, who performed a giant position alongside Dhyan Chand in the enterprise finish of the match.
Interestingly, throughout the subsequent Olympics in 1948, Dara had migrated to Pakistan publish partition and represented the brand new nation.
Training at Gulf of Aden
‘The Statesman’ despatched a correspondent to cowl the Games and previous experiences counsel that the primary 5 days of their voyage was tough and the gamers, usually used to coaching on the deck, needed to postpone their plans.
Finally when the ship stopped for 4 hours on the ‘Gulf of Aden’, the Indian contingent discovered a brick-layered sandy subject for a fast coaching session.
Suddenly they might come to know that 5/14 Sikh Regiment posted in Aden used that subject. Once the phrase unfold that Dhyan Chand was there, the entire regiment got here out to obtain “one of theirs” and witness the coaching session.
Autograph of Joseph Goebbels and Herman Goring
Two of Hitler’s trusted males — chief propagandist Goebbels and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring — had been there to make sure that no stone was left unturned in their quest to hold out the Fuhrer’s picture makeover together with the conduct of an unblemished occasion for which USD 30 million was being spent.
Call it a traditional case of contradiction or irony however those that did not need to accord Hitler with the arm salute had been flocking to get autographs from two bonafide battle criminals.
“One day while we were in the dining hall, who should walk in but the burly Herman Goring, clad in his military attire! We were after him in a trice to get his autograph. Later some of us obtained Dr Goebbels’ autograph,” Dhyan Chand had talked about.
An eight-objective affair in opposition to Hitler’s Germany
Did Dhyan Chand face media scrutiny? Of course he did. After India received the opening match in opposition to Hungary 4-0, the ‘Statesman in their subsequent day’s report wrote, “Most disappointing was revelation that Dhyan Chand, world’s greatest centre forward is past his best days…”
Just how dominant India had been in that period may very well be understood by the truth that even after beating USA 7-0 and Japan 9-0, the media spoke about how “if Germany wins, it will be a lesson to India that she deserves.”
Worst these observations had been fed by the crew’s supervisor Pankaj Gupta. However, the tone and tenor modified as soon as France had been clobbered 10-0 and after Germany had been crushed 8-1 in the ultimate, Berlin’s ‘Morning Post‘ lauded India’s effort.
Legend has it that Dhyan Chand wished higher pace and mobility, and therefore, wore a rubber soled sneakers sacrificing the traditional spike boots on grass subject. It helped him dribble at nice pace. He scored a dozen and the ‘Morning Post’s match report had some unforgettable strains.
“These players it is said glided over turf as if it is a skating rink and the flickering sticks had the Japanese, normally so agile, mesmerized.”
Dhyan Chand was on prime of the world, his crew received gold scoring 38 targets, his place in the annals secured.
He was ‘Captain Marvel’ and accepted in each echelons of the society that after discriminated in opposition to him.
Before Delhi’s National Stadium, Austria’s capital metropolis Vienna had the statue of Dhyan Chand erected.
Post Script: Dhyan Chand by no means met Adolf Hitler in particular person and the story of Hitler providing him a place in German Army, in line with students and researchers, is an city myth.

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