NEW DELHI: The status of hockey as the national sport is not enshrined in any official proclamation by the Government of India.
In fact three resolutions to the effect have been ignored by incumbent sports ministers over the years. The national sports notion is a legacy of the past and given the shoddy handling of the hockey team by the IHF and the lack of performance on the big stage that position has become all the more tenuous in the public official documents.
Die-hard traditionalists and loyalists to the game will decry any notion of even considering cricket as a replacement but given public passion which has for long been swayed more by cricket than anything else, hockey will have to do something more credible than hanging on to glory of the years gone by to retain its positioning as the heartbeat of the nation.
The NCERT textbook for Class XI does eye. Unlike a national symbol, bird or animal there is no mention of a sport in GOI state that India’s national game is hockey and that, in a way, does make for an official take on the issue.
But as far as legalities go the Indian Union does not endorse any sport as having primacy above others. With the Sports Ministry moving hockey out of the priority list — purely on the basis of transparent performance criteria — the fortunes of the game are surely at their lowest ebb as of now.