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Save Indian Hockey

There is a little confusion regarding the earning of sportsmen in different Indian Sports. Everybody points at the money received by Cricketers but they ignore the fact the Indian Government never rewards Cricketers but they are rewarded by BCCI. BCCI never takes money from the Government, rather arranges the money by its own. So, yesterday when Hockey players were upset regarding the prize money of 25000 there shouldn’t be any surprise. Wouldn’t it be better if Hockey players and lovers give more emphasis and demanding for structural changes on the Hockey Federation so that it becomes functionally independent like BCCI and is able to promote Hockey to such level that eventually the mass viewership doesn’t remain concentrated with Cricket because Cricket is not our National Game, Hockey is.
Dhanraj Pillay who left Hockey long ago still has a heart which beats for Hockey. He became upset when Indian Hockey Team which arrived yesterday from China after defeating Pakistan to lift the Asian Champions Trophy was rewarded with prize money of 25 thousand rupees.  Well, everybody is upset. Sports Minister Ajay Makhan tweeted first about the prize money. He also mentioned Government spent 7.81 crore rupees on Hockey Team in last 6 months alone,5.97crore rupees for National Coaching camps, 1.75 crore rupees for  Foreign Visits and 8.75 lakh rupees on foreign experts. He wanted to mention that Government is spending a huge amount on Hockey. The Upset environment led to media questioning about the prize money which looks more like a charity donation. Checking this scenario, Punjab Government announced a prize amount of 25 lakh rupees. It is also not a large amount of money. Hockey players and other team members will receive an amount of around 1 lakh rupees and this decision not seems to be taken for rectification but rather politically inspired. It is true that if Cricket Team wins then Rewards starts raining from all sides. The rewards are so large that it becomes unmanageable. But it is also the fact the Cricketers are never awarded by Sports Ministry but by BCCI. Rewards are given to them different levels: National, State, District. Public and Private sectors start competing for being a bigger reward giver to Indian Cricket Team. Yuvraj Singh received 6 crore rupees for hitting 6 sixers in an over while same day a BSF soldier died while fighting terrorists and was given few lakhs of rupees which states a shameful truth that playing Cricket for India does make more money than dying to save this country. In a similar manner Hockey has also become a victim of negligence which happens to be our National Game. Hockey Players are not wage paid mercenaries who will not play for the country if they aren’t rewarded but when it comes to the pride of nation then keeping Hockey is lime light and when it comes to Money then pushing Cricket miles forward somewhere frustrates the sportsmen of other games. This frustration is genuine because Hockey Players are employed at lower ranks in Railways or Banks. Small rewards are given to them but at least they should be rewarded with honor. Cricket is undoubtedly more popular than Hockey; greater spectators support, greater number of sponsors and greater revenue. The same is not true with Hockey. Neither is it blessed with houseful stadiums nor handsome revenue. How can then Hockey players are rewarded with the rewards they really deserve.  Government should make the Hockey Federation more responsible and professional and powerful so that the Federation can arrange sponsors by their own and definitely money will come. Hockey is our National Game and has graced the nation with multiple Olympic Gold Medals in past. It is not enough to just display Hockey as a prestigious trophy of past. Whether it is Cricket or Hockey or any other sports, all players are young, are of similar age group, all want to earn respect and money so that they can afford better life.  A small effort of honest professionalism and we might see the state of Hockey in no miserable condition. I hope we can expect at least such will from the Government if we really want to save it. Hoping my wish will come true.  

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