Demand for Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand

Tarak Kumar Parkar, who undertakes a padyatra, insists hockey great, Dhyan Chand, deserves the award.

Ashok Kumar (left) with Tarak Kumar Parkar at the National Stadium in New Delhi.   -  Special Arrangement

The demand for a Bharat Ratna for Major Dhyan Chand has been an ongoing one for several years now. Apart from concerted efforts by various groups including his own family, there have been several instances of individuals seeking the same.

On Thursday, Tarak Kumar Parkar reached the city to pay homage to the hockey legend, demanding the same after a 1,250km long padyatra from Khargone in Madhya Pradesh.

Parkar, who belongs to Burhanpur, insists that the man who was synonymous with Indian sports from pre-independence era deserves the highest civilian honour in the country.

IN PICTURES: Remembering Dhyan Chand

“I had been planning this since 2010 but Ashok Kumar (Dhyan Chand’s son and World Cup winner) kept asking me to postpone it saying it was not good for my health. But I finally started on December 15th and managed around 50-60km per day to reach here,” Parkar told Sportstar.

Long journey

The journey took him through Indore, Guna, Shivpuri, Dhyan Chand’s hometown Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra and Mathura before concluding at the National Stadium here.

“I also run an NGO called Yuva Shakti that works to wean youngsters away from drugs and encourages them to get involved in sports. I keep travelling for that. During one such tour in 1978, en route to Nepal, I met Dhyan Chand in Jhansi and stayed with him. The simplicity of such a great man continues to amaze me,” said the former fingerprint expert in the forensic sciences department of MP Police.

Ashok Kumar said a delegation had managed to meet Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on January 8 to repeat the request for a Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand.

“He was cordial but admitted that the PMO had the final say. Counting him, three other Sports Ministers (Ajay Maken, Jitendra Singh, Vjay Goel) over years, through both the Congress and BJP governments, have recommended the honour to PMO but there has been no response. It’s disappointing but we know he will always be an inspiration to every Indian. Still, something on record would be good,” he said.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :