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The message from the Legends' Protest Rally (12/22/2006)
--s2h team
Commander Nandy Singh(1948 & 1952 Olympic gold medalist) keeps himself aloof. Though a multi-faceted personality, he does not indulge in whatever pastime he had been interested in in the past. And somehow he seeks to bury his illustrious past in the greens of Delhi Gold Club. You can spot him day in and out there. When you occasionally happen to meet him at the Shivaji Stadium during Nehru Cup competitions, he talks only positive things, never pass a bad comment on anybody, not to speak of Indian Hockey Federation.

Same is true of Raghubir Lal.

Not many even aware the 1952 & 1956 Olympics’ speedy forward lives in Delhi. The retired Chief Vigilance Officer from Indian Railways’ only answer on hockey matters, that too if you can locate in public place, have always been an impeccable smile. He in fact stocks an array of smiles, only an enterprising soul can make out the message to seek to convey by hiding.

The two legends from whom getting a quote is difficult, did the things least expected of them. At Delhi on Wednesday, the duo were seen in the forefront of another band of young Olympians in their street protest against the Indian Hockey Federation.

Discussions with them on that occasion gives a perspective glimpse into their reasons for their hitherto inexplicable self-exile mode from hockey matters. One, they don’t want to say something that will lead to hockey getting a negative publicity. Secondly, they have been following hockey very seriously, but averse to express their views because they are unhappy the direction the sport is taking in the country.

How could such people of wisdom, people known for conducting themselves with dignity and esteem, those who keep hockey at heart and are so sensible that they avoid comments in order not to give hockey a bad image, personalities such as Nandy Singh and Raghubir Lal, choose to come out on the streets? And hold placards that had the contents that are antithesis of what their behaviour has been so far. (The placards they held had slogans that are straightforward and sharp: ‘Dissolve IHF”, IOA: Take over IHF” and that stuff).

Because the nation is hurt. So, they are also hurt.

One of the players who played a role in mobilizing the rally, said: “I only rang up them to seek their blessings. But they offered to come despite being 80 plus. Then we sensed we are not alone. The whole playing community is with us”.

Gill and Co should know the pulse of the nation. As one placard said, ‘Show Mercy and Leave Hockey.

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