It is a widespread misconception that hockey is the national game of India. In reality, no sport is officially registered as the national sport of the country. National sports encourage people to be physically active and emphasize the relevance and importance of sports to citizens. A specific national sport for a country makes a difference in how citizens interpret it and indulge in it.
The national sport of India has not been declared by the Government of India as of now. But hockey is considered an unofficial national sport of India. Find more information about the national sport of India and its significance below.
India’s National Game
Various elements and symbols are used to portray a nation's identity and heritage. For example, the tiger is India's national animal. Similarly, it is assumed that the national game of India is hockey. Hockey is a sport in which India has excelled at the Olympics, taking home eight gold medals and producing stars like Dhyan Chand, Balbir Singh Sr., and Dhanraj Pillai. However, it is not India's national sport.
Indian hockey players won six consecutive gold medals in hockey during the Olympics from 1928 to 1956. However, according to the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Government of India, the country does not have a national sport.
Why Does India Not Have a National Game?
In India, the government's goal is to promote all sports. A teacher from Maharashtra's Dhule district filed an RTI in 2020 to the government to confirm whether hockey was officially the national sport of India or not. To this, the Ministry of Youth Affairs replies that the country officially does not have any sport listed as a national sport because the government's objective is to encourage/promote all popular sports disciplines.
Why is Hockey considered the National Sport of India?
Hockey is considered India's national game because it is one of the oldest games. It was approved by the Indian Hockey Federation in 1925. The first international hockey tour for Indians was played against New Zealand, with 21 games, of which India won 18.
Indian hockey team's victories made them stand out and encouraged more and more citizens to play hockey. Hockey was popular from 1928 to 1956. This period was considered golden, as India won six consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games. This is why hockey was believed to be the national game of India.
Indian Hockey Team's Achievements in Olympics
Some of the best field hockey players in the world, including Dhyan Chand, Dhanraj Pillai, and Balbir Singh Sr, are Indians. Let us look at some of the achievements of the Indian Hockey Team:
Los Angeles Olympics
Mexico City Olympics
Los Angeles Olympics
Did Not Qualify
Unofficial National Sports of India
As discussed above, unofficially, hockey is considered the national sport of India because of all the achievements of the team. Besides hockey, the Kabaddi team of India has also been leading the game on a global level and won seven gold medals at several World Cup events and Asian Games. Therefore, it is also often mistaken for the national game of India.
Another sport, cricket, is also believed by some to be India's national game. Again, it is not true. While India may have won several trophies, medals, and other accolades in all of the mentioned sports, it does not have an officially declared game yet.
FAQs on National Game of India
Q.1. What is the national game of India?
No official sport has been designated as India's national sport by the Indian government. Hockey is believed to be the national game of India due to its massive success. However, India does not officially have a national game, and hockey and Kabaddi are often assumed to be the national sports of India.
Q2. Why is Hockey considered the national game of India?
Between 1928 to 1956, the Indian hockey team won six consecutive gold medals at the Olympics. Due to the major success of Indian hockey players, hockey is considered the national game of India. The Indian hockey team has won eight gold medals at the Olympic Games.
Q3. Which is the national sport of India: hockey or kabaddi?
Although hockey and kabaddi are believed to be the national sports of India due to their immense popularity, the reality is that there is no official national game of India. In an RTI filed in 2020, the Ministry of Youth Affairs said that India does not have an official national game.
Q4. Is cricket the national game of India?
No, cricket is not the national game of India, though it is played widely all across India. Cricket is the national sport of England. As per a statement by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Government of India, India does not have an official national game.
Q5. Which other game is considered India's national game other than hockey?
Kabaddi is one of India's most popular sports and is often considered the national game of India. The other sport, Hockey, is also considered the national sport by many people. However, in reality, no sport is registered as the national sport of India.
Q6. Who is considered the father of Indian hockey?
Ace hockey player Dhyan Chand, who won three gold medals at the Olympics, is considered the father of Indian hockey, and his birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. Because of his and other players’ achievements in hockey, it is known as the unofficial national sport of India.