chapter  3
16 Pages

The Golden Years: ‘We Climb the Victory Stand’

One of the world’s oldest sports, hockey predates the ancient Olympic Games by a little more than 1,200 years. However, the modern game of field hockey (as distinct from ice hockey) evolved in the British Isles in the middle of the 19th century. The British helped spread hockey globally, promoting it in parts of the empire as part of the civilizing process, and subsequently its popularity became especially visible in the Indian subcontinent by the early 20th century. In colonial India, especially in the early decades of the 20th century, hockey was as popular as cricket and football, the country’s other passions. Even school and college magazines of the period are replete with descriptions of hockey matches, and they specifically draw attention to India’s spectacular performance in the Olympics.3