I am not getting into the controversy of ‘promoting cricket to the detriment of all other games”. We will leave that to worthier people to sort out.
Indian hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho on Wednesday lashed out at the "stepmotherly treatment" being meted out to players of his Asia Cup-winning side after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Twenty20 world champions were given a heroes’ welcome in Mumbai. “"Hockey is our national game and we have won a big tournament like the Asia Cup. Why don’t the governments and politicians recognise our achievement?”, he asked.
My simple question is, “How or when did hockey acquire the status of being our national game?”. Similarly, we keep dinning into every school kid’s head that our national animal is the tiger, our national bird is the peacock (the Great Indian Bustard is another claimant to this title), our national fruit is the mango, our national tree is the banyan tree, etc. Why, even The Hindu proudly calls itself India’s National Newspaper and, to the best of my knowledge, has never been challenged.
National Anthem, I can understand. National flag,of course, makes sense. But who confers the honorific of ‘national’ to games, birds, animals, fruits, trees, etc? Does it just arise out of popular beliefs, or does it require an Act of Parliament or a gazette notification?
Can someone clarify? Meanwhile, can I make a claim that mine is India’s National Blog?