10 years of
One Thousand Hockey Legs
>> HWL 2015 Wallpapers
>> Men's HWL Wallpapers
>> Men's HIL Wallpapers
>> Men's Team Wallpapers
>> Women's Team Wallpapers

Player Corner
Print Icon   Email Icon Back
Harpal Singh: Am Badam and Bhagwan driven (10/21/2008)
--K. Arumugam
Best time to interact with player is when he or she relaxes after winning a match. So, in the same pleasing situation I had an entertaining encounter with Harpal Singh today at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium. The Athens Olympian has recently joined the ONGC team. His team has just won 8-1 against Mumbai Port Trust, reasonably a good team in the Mumbai Super Division League. With this win the team will move back to Delhi for Diwali break.

Harpal played for India for almost four years before dropped by coach Joaquim Carvalho after the 2007 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

“That was the time I believed confidence in me, gained experience, and was looking for good times. But somehow I was dropped when I was going well”, Harpal said half-laughingly.

He is not carrying the sad load nowadays, but says he was hurt when India did not qualify for the Olympics. “Sandeep Singh is x-factor in any match. He should have been in the team. Am very much pained we missed out the Olympics”.

After these initial serious hockey phase was over, normalcy returned to his face, and we turned to mundane aspects of his personal life.

Harpal belongs to Namdhari sect of Sikhism, who adhere to certain daily practices. One of them is strict vegetarianism. How could he manage to be a vegetarian and be strong enough to last 70 minutes of tough hockey on field?

The stout defender laughs and says, “I am driven by Badaam (almonds) and Bhagwan (God)”.

Then he narrated how he makes Badaam juice, his routine for breakfast. “Ground about 30 almonds and black pepper, add milk before filtering with a piece of cloth”.

He always carries a blender with him on all his tours and kilos of almonds of course.

He says he never took food in national camps held in Bangalore for two reasons. Mess was unclean, and then they used same hot plate for making omlettes (a non-vegetarian dish) and rotis.

So all those days he prepared his badam breakfast on his own, lunch he ordered from a particular place, it used to be brought by the same auto rickshaw fellow. “I still have his mobile no’, he says.

Supper used to come from Bidadi, a good 40 km distance from the camp site, where the Namdhari Seeds main farm house is located.

I wondered: “All these things should cost you much”

“There I thank Bhagwan (God). He has given us wealth. My family supports me, no problem on that count”.

Namdharis sleep on the floor, wear only white cloths – they are body fitting -- besides being strict vegetarians.

This particular sect fought against the colonial rule and suffered a lot. They are passionate about hockey. Thakur Uday Singh, Managing Director of the Namdhari Seeds, spend a fortune to run a private hockey team. Recently, almost 20 of the Namdhari team boys joined different departments, and still they have effective 20 young players in the team. The new outfit played last fortnight in the Karnataka Super Division.

“We have a crash for the game. Our area around Sirsa, called Sant Nagar, have so far produced almost one hundred players who are into various teams” says Harpal proudly.

I only wonder all those one hundred players must have managed their affairs the way Harpal had been. What a sacrifice for playing hockey!!

Sardar Singh, his brother Didar Singh, Sher Singh are some the shining Namdhari stars of the contemporary hockey horizon.

He invited me for the annual tournament in Sant Nagar. “One of our players Gurnam Singh, left-half, died in young age due to kidney failure. We organize a tournament in memory of him. You come there, see for yourself how passionate the hockey is in our area. The beauty is families, ladies all come and watch together, a festive atmosphere exists”.

I assured my presence next time, to be part of the festive atmosphere. And of course I will talk to another Harpal Singh to know how he makes his breakfast!

Stick2Hockey App on android
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Discussion Board
Write a Message
Your Message
Replying  Message Close
Your Message
Players Profile
by Editor Arumugam on 10/23/2008 1:26:20 PM
There has been persistent request from the visitors that the site should produce more inforation on the sport and sportsmen. With whatever resources at our command, we try to fulfil the visitors' request. Harpal's profile is just intersting in the sense that his personal likes and dislikes, tastes differ from others. Thus, he is a person of himself. My request to visitors is that we should not write anything that would hurt the player. That is not the purpose of the site. Harpal is still playing, and is willing to give his best in the coming days. We will all wish him, while we certainly devour his peculiar habits. By the way I feel vegetarism or eating alone are not essentially religious traits, but personal choice.
It is inspiring indeed....
by Shashank G on 10/22/2008 11:04:00 AM
As s2h writes in the last line, "I will talk to another Harpal Singh ...", going along the same lines, I read this article as just a representative of Namdhari's culture and tradition and not about an individual .. It is inspiring to see that so much is being done at grass root level to nurture players till the national level ... i also wish that they put in some resources in personality developments .. to avoid mishappenings on field at the spur of the moment... coming back to strictly vegetarian ... badam being one of the powerful energy source is something i,truly, want to check out .. being a runner (for passion) myself that is something i will try in days to come ...
Harpal Singh
by stoneman hockey on 10/22/2008 4:26:30 AM
Harpal never deserved a Olympian standard. He was initially dropped from the US tour in 2004. But somehow managed to get the colours due to his strings string pullers in Indian hockey. One of my friend informed me that in camps, Harpal had to go and take the food first, if somebody had touched the serving spoon, he would not eat food then. But the other Namdhari players ate all stuffs inspite of who touched food first.. He seems to practise religious sentiments more than hockey. In hockey field, they dont have any kind of politeness (recent Karnataka Hockey League). The way, the coach Didar abuses the players and umpires/officials from outside the field is not coherent and does not support any of their religious practices which is quite contradictory......

by sandeep dhillon on 10/22/2008 8:22:47 AM
stoneman hate sikh and punjabi players .stick2 hockey visitors are requested to see school hockey than will come to know amritsar is becoming hockey crazy city and will produce many hockey players in the future .amritsar schools introducing hockey .panjabi and sikh boys will prove wrong what stoneman says .

by stoneman hockey on 10/22/2008 11:47:44 AM
Mr. Sandeep Dhillon, you should not read between lines. I have put in the facts. You ask coach Rajinder, why he was dropped after US tour, then all of a sudden he sparng up to national team again with in a 2 weeks. The attitude of Harpal was told to me by his own team mate. I can name the person... But then it will be a fight among their own people. Coach Didar's case - just enquire with KSHA for the recently concluded league. I am happy that Amritsar schools are doing a good job in producing hockey players... But I only asked the concerned to advertise it in a column on Indian Schools hockey. It does not mean that I am against Punjab players. Regarding date of birth if you want I can name the players and the teams which they belong to... So friend Sandeep see the facts and then talk.