The Lost legacy of Sansarpur Hockey
In India when people are asked what their national game is, most of us answer- Hockey. But when the question changes to the favorite game the answer became cricket. Hockey has a long history in the nation, where once the country produced jewels of hockey stars; now rarely people talk about it. So what led this downfall? To understand this, you should first understand the history of Sansarpur. Because Sansarpur is the only place in India, who gave at least 14 hockey champions to the nation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore. So why things changed this way, let’s check it out!
The legacy of Hockey in Sansarpur- ‘Mecca of Hockey’
Do you still remember the name Gurjeet Singh Kular? If yes, then you must also remember Gurdev Singh, Darshan Singh, Ajit Pal Singh, Balbir Singh Kular, Udham Singh and Gurmeet Kular. These all were the hockey jewels of India, who all hail from the same village of Punjab- Sansarpur. Sansarpur on the same note has gave India more than 25 medals internationally. And this stat in itself is enough to prove the significance contribution of the city in Indian sports.
That being said, we’ll try to give you some interesting facts about this unique village, Sansarpur, which boasts of population somewhere around 5,000. Well, talking about the facts, it is well clear why the place is well known as ‘Mecca of Hockey’. To start with Gurjeet Singh Kular, he represented Indian team during 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games but this was just a beginning, what followed was a series of 14 jewels that amazed the nation like no one else. Out of them 9 played from India, 4 for Kenya and 1 for Canada. The legacy set by Gurjeet Singh Kular set authorities for the younger generation to come out do their best and make their country proud!
This 300 hundred years old village turned Mecca of Hockey by the immense love the villagers for this game. This love was inspired by the Britishers, whom the villagers use to watch every day in a nearby ground. But the main obstacle came in the form of unavailability of ball and the hockey stick. So, as India is worldwide famous for its Jugaad, people found an effective alternative. They start using the sticks of mulberry trees as a hockey stick. For the ball, the idea came from the females of the city who made the ball by folding threats over and over again. At that time the ball made of threads was called ‘Khido’ thus the game came to be known as ‘Khido-Khundi’.
While walking through the streets of the village, one can see many names of old Hockey veterans encrypted outside the houses. Among them you can also see the name of Balbir Singh a retired DIG, who once was a part of the 1964 Olympic Gold and 1968 Olympics where he even won a bronze medal for Indian hockey team. The man is also awarded with the Arjuna Awards in 1999, currently the man is the oldest among the villagers. In 1968 when Mexico hosted the Olympics- these men created history. A total of seven boys participated from the village out of them, 5 represented India and the rest two Kenya. And that’s how the village became the sole land in India producing star hockey players. Unfortunately, as the time passed by, the fate changed drastically.
What changed Sansarpur fate?
The answers lies in the growing menace of drug industry in Punjab. This drug crises has occupied almost every school, every street and every person which wreaked havoc in the village. The small village serves a good breeding ground for the drug dealers to expand their business and thus the fate of hockey slip away as the youth indulge into deep biliousness of drugs. And due to this, the nation lost the ground which once produced star players. Fortunately, the hope is not entirely lost, as the government can build and establish new effective models to counter attack the industry. And if the government tackle well the issue we can still hope that Sansarpur can again flaunt the young talent in front of the whole world.