Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Something in this report, which was published in all newspapers, last week, aroused my curiosity.

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.

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.

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?


Mambalam Mani said...

Here is a competitor to Hockey' claim (or atleast according to Wikipedia)

dipali said...

Good question.

Bit Hawk said...

Interesting question! I have the same doubt from quite sometime.
May be it was decided based on what is unique or famous or specific to that country. Apart from getting points in quiz competitions, they dont carry any significance I guess.

Unknown said...

cha.. was going to claim the national blog.. but you beat me to it.
I checked on Google.. Indias national search engine and found that there is no "national blog"!

way to go!


Raj said...

santhosh, that's interesting. pachisi is our national game!

dipali, yes, but what's the answer.

bit hawk, there must be some significance?

sundar, there can always be two national flags.