Surprised that hockey was not officially recognized as India's national game, Chief Mnister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has urged the centre to accord the game the status of national game.
In a letter to union sports minister Ajay Maken, Mr. Chouhan said he was surprised to read in newspapers that the Central Government had not given hockey the status of national game.
“The central government has disappointed crores of hockey lovers by...not giving the status of National Game to hockey, which has a glorious history. Efforts are needed to lift hockey from the neglected state of affairs witnessed during last several years so that it can regain its past glory,” Mr. Chouhan wrote.
A recent Right to Information query by a class VII student to the sports ministry had the ministry revealing that India had 'no national game'.
In popular imagination as well as school texts, however, hockey has been perceived as a national game and generations of Indians have grown up believing it was so.
“Hockey is not a game, but the symbol of our pride and glory. India has been pioneer in hockey in the world,” the Chief Minister wrote.
An avid sports fan, Mr. Chouhan is particularly fond of hockey and wears his love for the game on his sleeve.
Earlier this year, Mr. Chouhan also announced the setting up of a museum in the memory of hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
He had also recently initiated a debate by saying Dhyan Chand deserved a “Bharat Ratna” before Sachin Tendulkar.
As the CM, he has consistently made efforts to promote the game in the state.
Over the last few years, the state government has provided economic assistance worth Rs.1.73 crore to promote hockey in Madhya Pradesh.
Further, an assistance of Rs. one lakh each has also been provided to senior Olympians and international hockey players hailing from the state.
The Madhya Pradesh government has also established a women’s hockey academy at Gwalior and a men’s hockey academy at Bhopal, besides having hockey astro-trufs installed at various stadia in Bhopal, Gwalior and Seoni.