Dhyan Chand

Legendary Hockey Player

Dhyan Chaand, the legendary Indian hockey player is counted among the greatest sportsmen this country has every seen.

‘Hockey ka Jadugar’

The greatest hockey player the world has known. Known for his great ability to score goals, he was nicknamed ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’.

‘The Wizard’

Internationally, he was called “The Wizard” for his great ability to control the ball. His name was verily synonymous with hockey.

Dhyan Chaand, the Hockey Wizard

Dhyan Singh was born on August 29th, 1905 in Jodhpur.

Practicing under Moon light

He later got the name “Chaand” as he used to practice hockey under moon light, Moon in Hindi is Chaand. We should remember that there were no flood lights in those days.Thus came about his name Dhyan Chaand.

Dhayanchand practicing under moonlight

From Moonlight to Limelight

From being under ‘moon light’, Dhyan Chaand soon came under international limelight.

1927-Folkstone Festival

He displayed his skills against the British Hockey team at the London Folkstone festival, scoring 36 of India’s 72 goals in 10 matches.

1928-Summer Olympics in Amsterdam

In 1928, the Indian Hockey Team participated in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this tornament, Chaand helped India gain a victory score 3-0, by scoring 2 goals.

Gold Medal of Amsterdam Olympics Dhyanchand in action during the Amsterdam Festival

Wizard of Hockey

Dhyan Chaand’s impeccable control over the ball was such that, people soon started having doubts as to whether he had hidden a magnet in his hockey stick. The ball always seemed to stick to his hockey stick when he was playing. Once, during Indian hockey team’s sojourn to Japan, the Tokyo hockey officials had a similar doubt. They broke open his stick to see whether there was a hidden magnet within. Such was his magic!

Dhyan Chaand scoring a goal

Playing with Walking Stick

In another amusing incident, a lady from the audience asked Chaand to play with her her walking stick. He was able to score goals even with that walking stick.

1932 Olympics in USA

In this Olympics, the Indian hockey team defeated the United States 24-1. Dhyan Chaand scored 8 of these goals and made it a one sided contest.

1933 The most memorable moment

Interestingly, the most memorable moment for Dhyan Chaand according to him was in a match in which he did not score a goal. This was the Beighton Cup final of 1933. The contest was between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes. In this closely fought match, Dhyan Chand provided a crucial pass for the only goal of the match won by Jhansi Heroes.

Jhansi Team with the Beighton Cup

1935 Tour of New Zealand and Australia

This was another memorable tour for Dhyan Chaand as he scored 201 of the total 584 goals by the Indian team in 43 matches. Needless to say, the Indian team crushed their opponents.

Meeting Don Bradman

During this tour of Australia, Dhyan Chaand met Don Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer. After seeing Dhyan displaying his skills, Bradman paid his tributes to the Indian hockey magician remarking, “He scores goals just like we score runs in cricket.” That was the consistency and ease with which Dhyan Chaand scored goals.

Don Bradman Dhyan Chaand

1936 Olympics – Hitler impressed

Even the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler, who was a prejudiced person and a supremacist, was impressed by Dhyan Chaand’s skills. In the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Dhyan Chaand led the Indian Hockey Team. In the first round of the final, Indians lead German 1-0. In the second round, the Indian team managed 6 consecutive goals.

Dhyan Chaand displaying his magic during the Berlin Olympics

At this moment, the Germans resorted to body play, trying to win by foul means. Dhyan Chaand was injured as he broke one of his teeth. He however continued to play.

Hitler who was in the audience couldn’t see his team being crushed. He left midway.

Adolph Hitler at Olympics, 1936

During the course of the match, the Germans sensed a foul play at the ease with which Dhyan Chaand was scoring, inspite of his breaking his teeth. He was ordered to change his stick. The magic however continued and Indians won the final 8-1.

Dhayan Chand, the hero of Berlin Olympics

An invitation to become German

The next day Hitler called Dhyan Chaand for a meeting. Hitler offered him German citizenship for his scintillating performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior position in the German military. Dhyan Chaand however refused saying, “India is my India”.

Hitler Dhyan Chaand

After World War

In the subsequent years from 1939, no matches could be played as the World War-2 was on. After the Word War, Dhyan Chaand continued to display his magic. He hit 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa.

Post Retirement

In 1948, Dhyan Chaand retired from the sport. The glory of Dhyan Chaand did not fade. Many statues were erected in his honour. The citizens of Austria erected his statue with four hand and four sticks, displaying his control over the ball.

The astro-turf hockey pitch at the Indian Gynkhana Club in London has been named after Dhyan Chand.

The Dhyan Chaand astro turf hockey pitch, London

In his own country, a statue of his can be found near India Gate, Delhi. Many such statues in honour of Dhyan Chaand can be found all across the country.

Dhyan Chaand Statue, India Gate

Dhyan Chaand Statue, Jhansi Dhyan Chaand Statue, Vishakapatnam

The Indian Government has issued a stamp in his honour in 1980.

Stamp on Dhyan Chaand

National Sports Day

Dhyan Chaand’s birthday is also observed as National Sports Day India. The Dhyan Chaand Award has been institued by the government in his memory.

Dhyan Chaand Award

Gold

A movie by name Gold, staring Akshay Kumar has been made on this great sportsman.

The Gentleman – Good husband

Inspite of his greatness, Dhyan Chaand was simple at heart. An incident with a fan shows his strong roots in Indian culture. In an exibition match that he played at Prague, a lady fan who was impressed at his game, came upto him and requested to allow her to kiss him. Dhyan Chaand politely refused saying, “I am a married man”.

Rush of Pakistani fans at Lahore station

Sometime after 1947, Dhyan Chaand was in Lahore railway station as part of the Indian on their way to Peshawar, to travel from thereon to take part in Joshan celebrations, Afghanistan. Hundreds of Pakistani fans rushed to have a glimpse of Dhyan Chaand. There was much rush at all stations as many trains arrived late by 4 hours at Peshawar.

A forgotten hero

It is sad that we have forgotten such a hero. A fitting way to remember and honour him would be confer Bharat Ratna on him. That will an apt tribute to this great sportsman.

Vinayagar Chaturthi

The festival Ganesha Chathurthi has arrived, the festival to invite the divinity Ganesha to our homes and bless our homes with prosperity and happiness.

Ganesha is a fun loving, dancing, frolicking divinity from the Indian pantheon. Ganesha has been symbolically and graphically illustrated and modelled in different forms, from riding on His vahana, vehicle, the mouseMooshika, to the modern day figurines, showing Him speaking on the phone, typing on the computer etc. Interestingly, all these caricatures seem to suit Him well and only go to make Him dearer and more loveable.

Who is this Ganesha?

His name Ganesha, has two components,Gana plus Esha.

Esha means “the lord of”.

Gana stands for count, numbers, multitude. Which is why, the subject mathematics in the Indian knowledge system is known as “Ganitham”. The name Ganesha denotes Him to be the lord of multitudes and numbers and the faculty that is needed to count, deal with multitudes, is knowledge, intellect.

It is this intellect which can help man overcome obstacles as man’s obstacles primarily stem from his mind.

Ganesha is therefore also calledVigneshwara, the one who removes obstacles. And to channelize our mind, our thoughts and energies in the right direction to ensure successful completion of any task, we pray toVigneshwara before we embark on any important activity, before all beginnings.

With this intellect to discern good from bad, knowledge and strength to overcome obstacles and act wisely and purposefully, it is but natural man will be endowed with prosperity. Hence Ganesha is also considered to usher in prosperity and good luck. And to embody the humility that should go with all these wealth and wisdom. He is also called Vinayaka or the humble, approachable one.

Such a concept of praying for mental strength, wisdom, prosperity and to ward off all obstacles before embarking on any important activity, is not unique to the Indian culture alone.

Janus and Ganesha

In ancient Rome too, the pre-Christian era had a divinity known as “Janus.

This Janus was a divinity who was propitiated to, during all beginnings. Images of Janus were also installed on doorways as a guardian. This Janus had 2 faces, one to look at the past and one to look at the future.

The God Janus

Janus and Ganesha both seem to be associated with two faces.

Ganesha had a human face before He got an elephant face. There are many interesting similarities between Janus and Ganesha including the aspect that phonetically their names are also similar. Janus is also a divinity associated with numbers, which is why, the first month of the calendar is named January after Janus.

Ganesha, Ganesha Everywhere

It is not only in Rome, but in different other parts of the world, that we find the knowledge, appreciation and reverence to the concept denoted by Ganesha.

We have sculptures of Ganesha in Central America, Persia, Afganisthan, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and in many other South-Eastern Asian islands.

Kangiten Ganesha, Japan

Depiction of Ganesha as Warrior in Persia

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and forms the major part of the south eastern archipelago. The currency, the Rupiah note of Indonesia too, has an image of Ganesha, depicting him as a divinity for numbers and knowledge.

From this example, we can see that the concept of Ganesha was prevalent far and wide from faraway Central America to Europe to Asia, more than 2500 years back itself.

This commonality and the prevalence of the concept of Ganesha across the world, brings to our attention that Ganesha is not just a Hindu divinity in the limited sense, but a divinity of knowledge and numbers, not just of India but of the multitudes across the world.

On this Ganesh Chathurthi, let us repledge ourselves to bring forth this knowledge so that, we can unite all the people of this world so that this world can once again grow as a knowledgeable society, apart from just counting its monies, its luxuries and its several goodies.

Ganesha with all His multitude of forms, symbols and stories, is a concept, Tattva, epitomising the winning formula for a good mind, intellect, knowledge, strength and prosperity, which is the direction we all need to progress in.

World Coconut Day

Coconut and human head

Coconut has been close to man from ancient times. The word Coconut is derived from Portuguese word, coco, meaning a human head. This is because, the three indentations on a Coconut shell resembles a human head. Also, the coconut water is very similar to the human blood plasma.

Coconut

Nara and Narakela

Nara – human

Coconut is known as Narakela in Samskrt and as Nariyal in Hindi. Narameans a human in the same language. Thus the words Narakela, Nariyal are etymologically similar to Nara, man.

In this land, Coconut has an inner significance relating to man.

Have you ever wondered why Coconuts are broken on auspicious occasions?

The Coconut represents the human body and ego. Only when the ego is broken, the pureness in us, which is innate to us, comes out to the open. This goodness is a resplendent, pure, sweet succor to life and is symbolized by the white and sweet kernel inside the Coconut. Breaking the Coconut is akin to symbolically breaking the “Ahankaram”, ego, the total surrender and merging with the Divine.

Nara – Water

Nara is also a word used to denote water. The Divinity who is depicted as resting on causal waters is known as Narayana, Nara meaning water, and Ayana meaning “to dwell”.

Narayana on Cosmic Waters

The word Narika is also used as an adjective to denote watery or aqueous. The Coconut, which gives us the tender Coconut water, is known as Narikela, a connotation that is linked to water,Nara.

Coconut Water

The Coconut trees are mostly known to grow near water bodies, and are abundant near coastal areas.

“Probably”, the coconut grows in coastal regions because it is useful for shipping. It preserves nutritious water and food. The rope of its fibre doesn’t rot in water and it can serve as life-boat when the ship drowns.

Coconut trees near a water body

Varieties of Coconut

There are basically two varieties of Coconut, namely, the Tall variety and the Dwarf variety.

There are nutritious, tasty, succulent varieties of coconut all across the world. Each variety of Coconut is a Nature given delicacy. It is a World fruit.

Some of the common varieties of Coconut

  1. West coast Tall – India
  2. East Coast Tall – India
  3. Chandrakalpa – Lakshadweep ordinary – India
  4. Andaman Ordinary
  5. Philippines Ordinary
  6. King Cambodia
  7. Malaysian Pandian Coconut

India, among largest Producers

India is among the largest producers of Coconut and had ranked third among the top five Coconut producers in 2014.

Leading Coconut producers of 2014

The Indian states well known for Coconut cultivation include, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa. The main reason being the proximity of these states to coastal India.

Kera – Kerala – Land of Coconuts

Of all states, Kerala has the largest number of Coconut trees. Kera, means Coconut. Kerala means, “Land of Coconut”. Thus we have an Indian state named after Coconut.

Kerala, The land of Coconut trees

A Kalpavriksha

Every part of the Coconut tree can be used by humans in some way or the other, which makes it one of the most versatile of Flora.

Coconut, The Kalpavriksha

Whether be its water, which is a delicious drink, and in its dried form can produce oil; or its husk, which is used for making ropes; or its leaves used to make huts; or its trunk which can used to build a boat and other furniture; or its shell used for creating cosmetics, Coconut has a variety of utility.

It is verily an industry by itself.

The one of the other names of a Coconut tree in Samskrt is Kalpavriksha, meaning “Wish Fulfilling Tree”.

Verily a Meal

The tender Coconut is a wholesome food. It is a drink, a mini meal, a bowl and also a spoon. When we have the tender Coconut, we first drink its sweet water. Then we scoop the inner pulp in the Coconut shell using a slice of the fibrous husk as a scoop spoon.

The Pulp of a Coconut fruit can be eaten either raw or cooked, and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Sushruta, the ancient Indian Ayurvedasurgeon says that coconut is good forhrudaya, heart and calls Coconut a Cardiactonic.

The Sushruta Samhita recommends Coconut for increasing the strength of people who suffer from debilitating disease, for a Coconut provides instant energy and improves muscular performance.

Sushruta

Versatility of Coconut as food

Coconut’s versatility as food is incredible. It can be mixed with salt as well as sweet. It can be used as vegetable and mixed with rice and other food items. It can be used to make milk, which in turn can be used to prepare coconut rice. Coconut oil is used in cooking.

Coconut Delicacies

Coconut milk which is made by grating the inner pulp of a Coconut, is a substitute for the ordinary milk. It is a traditional form of drink in countries such as Indonesia, China and Taiwan.

Coconut Milk

Coconut rice is a rice cooked in Coconut milk, and is consumed in Caribbean, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Pudding

Coconut pudding is another delicious item, made from Coconut.

Coconut Pudding

Coconut sweet

There are also a variety of sweet items made from Coconut. The Coconut shaving jaggery is a timeless sweet.

Coconut Sweets

Coconut Water

Coconut water apart from being a delicious, is a healthy drink. It contains bioactive enzymes, which aid digestion. It is also one of those drinks that helps in rehydrating the body.

Tender Coconut Water

We have seen earlier that Coconut is good for heart. Many researches have shown that Coconut water is similar to blood plasma and can be safely injected directly into the bloodstream.

Coconut water was given intravenously to people during World War -2 when regular IV solution was in short supply. This was done both by British in Sri Lanka and by Japanese in Sumantra.

In one of the recent cases in medical history, involved a man in the Solomon Islands, who had suffered a stroke, and was transfused with Coconut water due to an emergency.

Coconut Oil

The Coconut oil is rich in vitamin B and other fat soluble Vitamins like A, D, E, K, Beta Carotene and some amino acids, and is used in cooking.

In 1960s, in an experiment on hydrogenated oil, some vested interests came up with the find that Coconut is bad for health and that the olive oil the better option.

For thousands of years Coconut oil has been consumed, across population and across lands, by the healthy. It nourished mankind in 93 countries for over 3000 years.

Then how could it suddenly turn unhealthy?

This suspicion about Coconut oil was infact a creation of the olive oil lobby, for promoting their Olive Oil.

In the last decade, further studies by research organizations have identified the healthy attributes of Coconut oil.

In December 2002, American Oil Chemists Society in their published research stated that Coconut oil helps in nutrient absorption, as it facilitates absorption of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, and thus preventing osteoporosis.

Coconut Ash

The ashes of few a varieties of Coconut, those from a Homa have wonderful medicinal values.

Other uses

There are a variety of other uses from the different parts of a Coconut tree. Some of them being,

  1. The intertwined leaves of a Coconut tree are a cool roofing material for thatched huts.
  2. The mid stem of the Coconut tree is used for making sweeping brooms.
  3. The Coconut shell is used for making cosmetics.
  4. Coir, the Coconut fiber, derived from its husk, is used for making carpets.
  5. The coconut trunk is used for making boats.
  6. The root of a Coconut tree attracts micro-organisms which act on dirty water and cleanse the water. This natural process of cleansing the water is now given the term Root Zone Treatment (RTZ).

Nariyal Purnima

Nariyal Purnima is a festival named after Nariyal, Coconut when Varuna, the Divinity of Oceans and Seas is worshipped.

One thing about Coconut is that it floats on water, and is carried to different places, where it germinates. Coconuts can travel hundreds of miles floating the sea. This is how the coconut trees spread everywhere.

So we see a distinct connect between Varuna, the Divinity of Waters and Coconut – Narikela Nariyal Nara – Water. The way Coconut traverses across seas and water bodies to different parts of the world establishes this bond.

Coconut floating in water

This bond between Coconut and water is revealed on Nariyal Purnima day, when people offer Coconuts to rivers, oceans and other bodies, while propitiating Lord Varuna.

World Coconut Day

World Coconut Day is observed every year on September 2nd. This day was designated by the Asia and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), based in Jakarta, Indonesia, whose foundation day falls on September 2nd.

India being a member of APCC, celebrates this day.

A day to create awareness on the importance of this Kalpavriksha, and its potential to facilitate development, due to its multiple and varied uses.