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The government indicated that it was considering conferring the country’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on Dhyan Chand. The Home Ministry has forwarded several recommendations to the PMO for awarding the legendary hockey player. It is now up to PM Narendra Modi to forward his name to the President.
In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, “The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President of India. Although no formal recommendations for Bharat Ratna are necessary, recommendations have been received from several quarters for Bharat Ratna for Late Major Dhyan Chand. These recommendations have been forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Speculation is rife over the identity of this year’s Bharat Ratna awardees, even as the government has ordered five medallions from the RBI Mint. Two names discussed most frequently are those of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and of senior BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee.
There has been a growing demand for conferring the award on Dhyan Chand ever since cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was given the award this year. The sports ministry had last year recommended Dhyan Chand’s name too, but the PMO nodded in favour of Tendulkar who had just announced his retirement from international cricket.
Many quarters called this a bias in favour of the more popular sports cricket and maintained that Dhyan Chand’s contribution to sports and the nation was greater than Tendulkar’s and that he should have been considered first.
Several noted people have already expressed favourable views on conferring the award on Dhyan Chand. Cricketer Virender Sehwag, during a CRPF function, said, “I am not on the panel so I can’t decide whether Dhyan Chand should get the award. But I believe all great sportsmen who have contributed immensely to any sport must be awarded. Sachin Tendulkar has already got the Bharat Ratna. Others too should be considered.”
Meanwhile, several BJP MPs, responding to news of Dhyan Chand’s name having been included in the probable awardees list, expressed happiness. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was quoted as saying: “If Major Dhyan Chand is given the Bharat Ratna, we will all be really happy.”
Born in 1905, Dhyan Chand earned the moniker of ‘Hockey Wizard’ for his superb skills and ball control. He won three Olympic gold medals for India between 1928 and 1936.
Dhyan Chand retired from the game in 1948 and was awarded the Padma Bhushan eight years later. He retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Major and passed away in New Delhi in 1979 at the age of 79. The National Stadium, where the first-ever Asian Games were held in 1951, is named after the great player and at the entrance, houses a giant statue of the legendary player.
1. What is the intention of the government regarding conferring the Bharat Ratna award this year?
2. Who has to forward Dhyan Chand’s name to the President of India for the award?
3. What has the government ordered to the RBI Mint?
4. Who was the first sportsman from being awarded the Bharat Ratna award?
5. Are Dhyan Chand’s contribution to sports and the nation lesser than Tendulkar’s?
6. What does Sehwag say about the award?
7. What was the moniker that Dhyan Chand earned during his lifetime?
8. What is the National Stadium named after?
1. The intention of the government is to confer the country’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna on Dhyan Chand.
2. The PM Narendra Modi has to forward Dhyan Chand’s name to the President of India for the award.
3. The government has ordered five medallions from the RBI Mint.
4. Sachin Tendulkar was the first sportsman to be awarded the Bharat Ratna award.
5. No, Dhyan Chand’s contribution to sports and the nation is not lesser than that of Tendulkar’s.
6. Sehwag says that the Bharat Ratna award should be conferred on Dhyan Chand.
7. Dhyan Chand earned the moniker of “Hockey Wizard” in his lifetime.
8. The National Stadium, Delhi is named after the great “Hockey Wizard”, Dhyan Chand.
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