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Do You Want to Say Anything? -- Prime Minister (6/2/2008)
--K.Arumugam
"Do You Want to Say Anything?"

This is what Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, gestured when I wanted to tell something but was hesistant as he was surrounded by a couple of dignitaries, who did not seem to leave him alone.

I got a lifetime opportunity to tell my version (vision?) of how to improve hockey in the land, to the highest authority of the land.

The occasion was during the tea session after the Prime Minsiter released Balbir Singh Senior's Golden Yardstick Book in a brief Releasing Ceremony at his sprawling residential complex in New Delhi.

I was already ready with a single-page letter addressed to the Prime Minister and was trying to get an idea though two media advisors present there as to and when I should give taht letter to the Prime Minister. Their gestures and words conveyed me nothing, and i just pulled out the letter from the envelope and was working on my mind on the final assault. Around the same moment these words I mentioned in the beginning of the story reached my ears as music.

"Sir, besides a publisher (this was how Balbir Singh introduced me to the gathering 15 minutes earlier), I am basically a historian and author of 14 books on hockey. I have worked out five steps that can transform hockey into a vibrant and winnable sport"

With this introduction I gave the letter to him, and was happy to see the Prime Minister, known for his simplicity, going through it almost half of the write up. Then he asked, "have you discussed this with Gill?" He was refering to MS Gill, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, who was also there. I replied that I had already discussed the issues with him, but the things I mentioned here are beyond his ministry's powers. It needs a bigger political push", I said mustering enough strength in my voice.

The Prime Minister after a brief lull, and after querring me whether I have taken the tea, asked, "do you have anything specific in mind?" I said, "Yes Sir, if possible, why not bringing hockey into the electoral menifesto of (obviously of his party) and make it a people's subject. Because, sports is a big thing in India. Hockey is very popular in rural area. If any party says in the menifesto that it will bring hockey back its glory, that will work, I think".

The Prime Minister listened to it and asked me write the same to the 'Party also'.

With this, he told Balbir that Karnataka Chief Minister is waiting in the next hall and that he has to go.

I am happy I could express my views to the Prime Minister.

The following are the content of my letter given to the Prime Minster

To
Dr. Man Mohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Request to initiate a National Hockey Renewal Mission

I suggest the following five steps to improve India’s National Game of Hockey which needs national level effort to harness its true potential. These could be conceptualized and implemented as National Hockey Renewal Mission directly under the PMO or Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

NATIONAL HOCKEY RENEWAL MISSION

• Availing services of Seven competent foreign coaches, one to train the National Team, six others to each Hockey Region / Zone (North, West, South, East, Central and North Eastern Zones).

• A 5-year Synthetic Turf component: Each year 20 turfs in most useful regions, each main turf to have at least one six-a-side turf.

• A domestic Package: Fund, execute and monitor all age group National Championships (annual) with a strict calendar, on innovative format for five years, with competent paid selectors in place.

• Declare private Hockey Academies after a sensitivity survey and census as Non Governmental Organizations and extend financial and other assistance to them for specific periods; incentive scheme for former players to form Academies in rural, semi-rural and in small cities.

• Set up Six Centre of Super Excellences with intake of 200 players in three age groups, located in traditionally hockey talent producing areas, with indoor hockey infrastructure in place.

These steps will cost one-off expenditure of about Rs.500 crore. This will be worth considering the historical importance of hockey, the multi-faceted (socio-economic) benefits it would accrue, and also to impart sporting culture among the youth.

With warm regards,

Yours faithfully,

(K. Arumugam)
Author of 14 books on field hockey sport


Copy to Minster of Youth Affairs and Sports, GOI, New Delhi

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pm
by soman bose on 7/26/2008 9:02:24 PM
he may be busy in other things. pm won't bother hockey wockey and all. that is persons like me and you to cry over spilit milk. hockey cannot be revived, that is sure i will tell u
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by Editor Arumugam on 7/27/2008 12:41:30 PM
hockey is not a spilit milk. I know you love hockey, we will do whatever we can to improve the sport we love the most. Is not doing something is better than sitting idle and crying?