New Delhi: Demanding that late hockey legend Dhyan Chand be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, former players and several fans of the game on Wednesday marched to the Prime Minister's Office to submit a memorandum requesting that the process be expedited.
Dhyan Chand's son and former hockey player Ashok Kumar led the rally which featured several yesteryear stars such as Zafar Iqbal, Dinesh Chopra, Rajesh Chauhan and former coach Harendra Singh.
The march started from the Barakhamba Road and went uptil PMO where noted hockey historian K Arumugam and Kumar submitted the memorandum.
The clamour for Dhyan Chand to be conferred with the highest civillian honour has grown considerably after retired cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar became the first sportsperson to be bestowed the honour.
"We, a volunteer based NGO, Hockey Citizen Group, appeal and urge to confer top civilian award Bharat Ratna to hockey legend Dhyan Chand. Government of India has already declared his birthday as Annual Sports Day when the sporting excellence award such as Arjuna and Dronacharya are given away by the President of India," the memorandum submitted to the PM read.
"Dhyan Chand's contribution in building our nationhood does not just lie solely on the three Olympic Gold medals India obtained in pre-colonial India due to his great game, but the idea and the impetus his game and persona gave to the Indian Olympic Movement itself, is more important," it added.
Dhyan Chand's name has already been recommended by the Sports Ministry for the honour.
"We, the public of India, therefore urge your goodness to expedite conferment of Bharat Ratna posthumously to Dhyan Chand so that his role in nation building gets its due recognition, and the same is presented on this year's Republic Day," the memorandum said.