By Yashovardhan Maheshwari
Kishan Lal was an Indian field hockey player who was born in Mhow, officially known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar, on 2nd February 1917 . Kishan Lal is regarded as one of the greatest wingers in history of the game and it was his spirit and fiery attack in 1948 Olympic games which got Independent India their first Olympic gold . It was his dream to once sing the national anthem in a victory tone on an International platform and not see the union jack waving at their victory.
As a child , Kishan Lal was never interested in hockey and the sport which caught his attention was polo . He used to often watch polo and aspired to become a great polo player one day . He never won hearts in polo but he certainly did in hockey when he started at the age of 14 . At the age of 16 he represented Mhow Heroes and went on to play for Kalyanmal Mills, Indore . In 1937 his supreme skills caught the attention of captain of Bhagwant Club Hockey Team and thereafter he played for them . He then joined the Western Railway in 1941 and was instrumental in making Western Railway the best team in India.
But it was not until 1947, when Kishan Lal appeared in the Indian colors , second to Major Dhyan Chand on a tour of East Africa and in the following year he was appointed as the captain of the Indian Hockey team going to London Olympics. In a time , when there were partition crisis and complete chaos in the country, a young team lead by a talented captain went to England to achieve glory .
The Indian hockey team played five matches in Olympics, winning all five convincingly and defeating Britain on their own soil by a 4 goal margin in the final.He was undoubtedly one of the best right wingers in the world and was popularly addressed as ‘dada’ . He became a National Hero after the 1948 London Olympic triumph. In 1966 , Kishan Lal was awarded the Padma Shri by then president of India Dr Sarvapalli Radha Krishnan. He was selfless and kind as stated by Gian Singh , a former hockey player.
On 22 June 1980, hockey legend Kishan lal passed way in Chennai , Tamil Nadu where he was attending the Murruguppa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament.He was supposed to cover the tournament’s second leg final as an expert commentator for the Doordarshan later that day. He will be a legend who will continue to inspire the young hockey players .