Birthday Gurmeet Batra  

Jaipal Singh- Who led India to win first Olympic hockey gold

Jaipal Singh- Who led India to win first Olympic hockey gold. Jaipal Singh Munda: Tribal Statesman with a Hockey Stick and a Vision of Gold was born on 3 January 1903, in Ranchi.

Born to a Jaipal Singh Munda society in a tribal family in Takra Pahantoli, on 3 January 1903, the future Indian captain came to the notice of the teachers in his village at an early age. In 1910, they enrolled him at the prestigious St Paul’s School in Ranchi, under the name ‘Jaipal Singh’. Thinking that this would alter the young boy’s future.

Jaipal Singh- Who led India to win first Olympic hockey gold
Jaipal Singh- Who led India to win first Olympic hockey gold

The school’s Principal Canon Crosgrave took the boy under his arm, and when Crosgrave returned to England in 1918, Jaipal Singh attended him. The missionaries, who took him to England for higher studies at the University of Oxford. He graduated from St. John’s College, Oxford with Honours in Economics. Singh was a member of the Oxford University Hockey Team. He was the most accomplished player on the Oxford University Hockey Team. His benefaction to the University Hockey Team was recognized and he became the first Indian student to be awarded blue in Hockey.

Munda’s expertise in hockey was recognized there and he got a chance to not just represent but captain the Indian hockey team at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. At this point, he was under ordeal as an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer in London. But he had to make the tough decision between representing his country India in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam and keeping the prestigious and ICS job. He chose to play for India, which was then part of the British Empire, took part in its first Olympic field hockey tournament at the Games in 1928.

In 1928, while he was in England, Singh was requested to captain the Indian hockey team for the 1928 Olympic Games. Under his captaincy, the Indian team played 17 matches in the group stage, of which 16 were won and one drawn. These winning match numbers were tremendously amazing to believe.

1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, The gold winning Indian hockey team players
1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, The gold winning Indian hockey team players

India had established up a final clash with the home team Holland on the 26th of May. India won the match clash by a 3-0 margin and didn’t give a chance to the opponent team to make a goal. Dhyan Chand scoring yet another hat-trick in the final clash between India and Holland. The 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, when India won the gold, was the country’s first step towards climbing the hockey throne.

Jaipal Singh Munda
Jaipal Singh Munda

As part of the Constituent Assembly, accountable for drafting the Indian Constitution, Munda guaranteed that the voices of the tribal bodies were heard in the new nation. Munda secured the culture and traditions of the tribals ingested to get lost among other powerful voices from the rest of the country. Jaipal Singh Munda died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 20, March 1970 at his residence in New Delhi. He was 68.

His dream of a separate state for the tribals was realised on 15 November 2000, when Jharkhand was created, but he wasn’t alive to cherish it.