Pankaj Gupta

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Pankaj Gupta
Died5 March 1971 (aged 71–72)

Pankaj Kumar Gupta MBE[1] (1899 – 5 March 1971) was one of the earliest Indian sports administrators involved in football, hockey and cricket. However, he gave his life for hockey, as a manager, administrator, and even a referee. Many called him "Mr. Hockey".[2]

Formative years[edit]

He studied Intermediate Arts at Sanskrit College and graduated from Bangabasi College of the University of Calcutta. He made an entry into the administration of the Indian Football Association, as a representative of Sporting Union club. In 1924, he was manager of the IFA team that went on a tour to Java, then part of Dutch East Indies and presently Indonesia[3]

Starting with Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932, he was manager or coach of the Indian team or contingent to many sports events in Europe and America. He attended the World Football Congress twice as the Indian delegate, was manager of the Indian football team to Russia.[3] and of the Indian cricket team visiting England in 1946 and 1952, and Australia in 1947–48. He toured Australia, New Zealand, and many countries of Europe and America with the Indian hockey team.[3]

Link with Dhyan Chand[edit]

Gupta was the first coach of the legendary Dhyan Chand. The latter's actual name was Dhyan Singh. Gupta gave him the title of "Chand" or moon, and predicted that one day he would shine like a moon.[citation needed] So close were the two that when Jhansi Heroes went to Kolkata to participate in Beighton Cup all the players put up in hotel, but Dhyan Chand stayed with Gupta.[4] Dhyan Chand has narrated many stories about Gupta. Here is one about their drive through the Dutch countryside, "Pankaj Gupta took us for a drive through a small narrow village which lay on our way to Doorn. We saw Dutch women lining up the streets peddling fresh fish caught from the dykes. The Bengali that he was, Pankaj Gupta remarked that the sight reminded him very much of the villages in Bengal. These Dutch women in their colourful costumes and wooden shoes presented a typical rural Dutch scene."[5]

In the 1936 Olympic Games at Berlin, there was panic in the Indian team after a shock defeat by Germany in the trial matches. On the final day, when India met Germany again, Dhyan Chand recalls, "all of us were wondering as to what would be the result of the day. Never before had we ever doubted the issue of a game. Suddenly Pankaj Gupta produced a Congress Tricolour. Reverently we saluted and prayed and marched onto the field."[6] A crowd of 40,000, which included the Maharaja of Baroda, the Princess of Bhopal and a large number of Indians who had travelled from all over Europe, was present there to witness the final match. The vast crowd cheered as both teams entered the field. In contrast to the despondency of the Indians, the Germans appeared to have the feeling that they were up against an inferior side.[6] Dhyan Chand, who was not feeling well, was not playing. He was sitting on the sideline. At half-time interval, India led by a solitary goal. Dhyan Chand could not sit idle any more. He removed his shoes and took to the field. Bare-foot, he tore the German defence apart as India went on to score seven more goals in the second half. The final scoreline: India 8, Germany 1.[7]

Sports administration[edit]

Gupta was the Secretary of the Bengal Hockey Association for more than a decade continuously from 1936.[8] He held official positions in Indian Football Association and was active in founding the All India Football Federation. He was Honorary Treasurer of the organisation in its year of inception and was president subsequently.[9] He was instrumental in the founding of the National Cricket Club and the construction of the stadium at Eden Gardens. In the 1944 New Year Honours list, the British government appointed him a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his contribution to sports administration.[3][1]


  1. ^ a b "No. 36309". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1943. p. 24.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Barry. "All hail hockey on history high". The Telegraph. Eye on Calcutta. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), 1976/1998, Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) Vol I, (in Bengali), p. 279, ISBN 81-85626-65-0.
  4. ^ "The Beighton Cup". Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  5. ^ "Autobiography of Hockey Wizard – Dhyan Chand". Olympic Champions. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Olympic Hockey Final". Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand. bharatiyahockey. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  7. ^ "India Hockey". Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  8. ^ "Bengal Hockey Association". Catchcal. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  9. ^ "All India Football Federation". AIFF History. All India Football Federation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2007.