Few news reports from the past suggested that Hockey is not the National Game of India, pointing to an RTI filed by a 10 year old girl and same being the response from the Sports Ministry of India.
For the information of our readers, we wanted to put forth the complete facts on this.
Hockey is the national game of India – that’s what all Indians were taught for years, right from their school days and people still believed in same, but the fact is none of the games or sports played in India has this status of “national game”.
This revelation came directly from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in late 2012, after an RTI (Right to Information) was filed by Aishwarya Parashar, a 10-year-old Class VI student. In response, the undersecretary, Union ministry of youth affairs and sports, Mr. SPS Tomar has replied that there was no such record available in his archive saying Hockey is the official national game of India.
‘I haven’t come across any official order or notification saying that hockey is our national game. It is known to be the national game in general parlance.’
It was also said that the ministry has sports disciplines put into various categories, and Hockey is one of the priorities there, but it is not a national game. In image section below, you can see Aishwarya showing a copy of this RTI response in Hindi. But the government of India website did call hockey our national game earlier and even had an article on it.
“Thus began the history of Indian Hockey Federation as India entered the Olympics to begin its golden saga. The tour was a huge success with India winning 18 out of the 21 matches and the legendary Dhyan Chand was the cynosure of all the eyes scoring over 100 goals of the 192 Indian accounted for. The match began in Amsterdam in 1928 and India went on a winning spree in Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936 and thus bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the Olympics.
Post Indian Independence; the Indian team achieved another hat-trick of gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, 1952 Helsinki Games and the Melbourne Olympics.
During the Golden Era, India played 24 Olympic matches, won all 24, scored 178 goals (at an average of 7.43 goals per match) and conceded only 7 goals. The two other gold medals for India came in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics”.
Post this discrepancy over national game of India, a note was added to the website page saying “content under review”, and it was later removed. The National Symbols page on the website, which earlier showed 14 symbols including – flag, bird, flower, tree, anthem, river, aquatic animal, state emblem, calendar, animal, song, fruit, game, and currency shows only 13 symbols now.
Interestingly, Aishwarya had posted another RTI in March 2012 about Mahatma Gandhi, which again revealed that he was never identified by the government as the Father of the Nation. The RTI response from the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) had stated that there was no specific document evidence in public records of the National Archives of India to support the popular claim that the government had bestowed on Gandhi the honor of Father of the Nation.
So it appears like these claims of Hockey being national game of India (and Mahatma Gandhi being father of the nation) are regarded as general beliefs and were not recognized officially by the government of India.