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Berlin Olympic Hockey Victory Remembered (8/27/2006)
--Arumugam
Celebration of 70th Anniversary of Berlin Olympics Hockey Gold

New Delhi: The city based Field Hockey Publication organized a function to mark the 10th Anniversary of Publication of International Hockey Year Books. The very idea of celebration of 70th Anniversary of Berlin Olympics hockey gold seemed to struck a responsive chord among the sports lovers.

P.C. Mehra, 92, who witnessed the Berlin Olympic hockey finals and also shot many photos of the Hitler-Olympics was thoughtfully invited for the function held on 26th August at Indian Women’s Press Corps Hall, in New Delhi.

Welcoming the guests, K. Arumugam, author, International Hockey year Books, said that the history of Indian hockey and its achievers are glorious, but lacks proper scientific research and documentation. The heritage has to be studied in a scientific way so that younger generation get to know of the sports and its legend in a big way. He also recollected sequence of events that preceded India’s trip to Amsterdom, Los Angeles and Berlin Olympics. “It was an arduous task for the administrators to collect players, put in a selection process and then collecting money”.

Using his research into those aspects, Arumugam listed out names of donors for the Berlin Olympics. “The total amount needed was about 50,000. Hyderabad Nizam provided the biggest slice, Rs. 5000, followed 2000 each by Nawab of Manavadar, Prince of Indore, Baroda and Bhopal. The balance was footed by the Bengal Hockey Association”, he said.

“The effort was worth every paisa spent”, Arumugam elaborated further, “India not only won the Gold at these games, but also scared their Colonial masters who stayed away from the Games in the fear of losing to their subjects.” Is not a fantastic piece of history which needs to be studied”, he wondered.

85-year old Shiv Kumar Varma, Secretary General, Nehru Hockey Tournament Society, was requested to present bouquet to the dignitaries on the dais. Varma’s father Fakir Chand Verma toured with the Indian Army team in its first tour off shore – 1926 New Zealand tour.

Chief guest Mr.D.N. Tripati, Chairman, National Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, lauded the effort of remembering past achievements and achievers. While narrating the history of Olympia, he explained that how he was astonished at the architectural marvel of Olympia, Delphi and other structures. “The entire Greek culture depends on sports and games, which in fact is the worship of human body as an excellent product”.

He welcomed the suggestion mooted by the organizer Arumugam that his organization is welcome for any researchers who are interested in modern history of sports or past history of sports. “A day is 24 hours. Every event after 24 hours becomes history”, he said down rightly.

The focus of assembled media was none other than nonagenarian Mehra. Braving old age and ambience, he started his speech with a request that the portrait of maestro Dhyan Chand should be installed at the parliament. Am ready to contribute and even involve in raising a fund which can be used for perpetuating the memory of Dhyan Chand.

The magic of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, that took place during German dictator Adolf Hitler’s regime, was virtually brought alive by him.

The Amritsar based businessman, who was in Germany during the Berlin Olympics on a business trip, had no problem recalling the magical moments created by the Indian team there, which beat Germany 8-1 in the final, played on August 15, 1936.

India’s outright victory in the final in racist surroundings was no less an achievement than Jesse Owen’s brilliant victory in the track and field events. “A lot of Americans and Britisheres were there to cheer Owens, but we were hardly 25 to pep up our hcokey team”.

But there was instant recognition for Dhyan Chand and his team in Germany in the local newspapers a day after the final, reminsced Mehra, “Dhyan Chand was in the headlines of many newspapers. He was hailed as the Indies Wizard” said Mehra.

“The Germans inside the stadium became very quiet after losing the final, though a few others, who were not from Germany, were happy for the Indian team. There was even an applause for Dhyan Chand,” he recollected.

There was a sore point in the win too, Mehra recalled. “We couldn’t wave the tricolour openly because we were not independent. The Indian team players had to be content with singing vande matram and Jana gana mana in the dressing room. We, the fans, carried the Indian flag and the charkha in our pockets, but could not take them out, for our team was playing as colonial India.

Manager of Indian team Swami Jagan Nath was known to Mehra, as he was PT Master in his Foreman College, Lahore. “Nath introduced me to the team in the village, and I shot all those images”, Mehra fondly recollected.

Mehra is in possession of many Berlin im

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