National Sports Day and Fit India Movement

Dr. L. Santosh Singh

National Sports Day:

India celebrates its National Sports Day every year on the 29th August. The day is celebrated to honor the legendary hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand Singh, one of best sportsmen ever to have graced the game of hockey. 29th August is the birth anniversary of Dhyan Chand, who made India proud by his extraordinary sporting skills. He was the greatest hockey player, India has ever seen. He was born on 29th August 1905 in the Prayagraj formerly Allahabad. Major Dhyan Chand was the captain of the Gold medal-winning Indian hockey team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Dhyan Chand had joined the army at the early age of 16 as a soldier in 1922 and learnt the game of hockey from his coach Pankaj Gupta and soon became an expert in ball dribbling and goal scoring. He quickly became the Indian Hockey Team captain due to his excellent playing techniques and was given the nickname ‘Chand’ which means ‘Moon’. During his sports career Dhyan Chand had won three Olympic medals and till date remains the only hockey player who has received the Padma Bhushan award. He had won the Olympic Gold medal six times in a row for India in hockey.At the Berlin Olympic Games of 1936, Dhyanchand was elected the captain of the Indian Hockey team. Major Dhyanchand had scored more than 400 international goals in his career from 1926 to 1948 while scoring nearly 1,000 goals in his entire career.  So, to give real tribute to such a legendary player; the Government of India has decided to celebrate his birthday as the National Sports Day since 2012 at the national level. On this day, it is organized every year in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and it gives National Sports Awards to the respective winners who have enhanced the value of the tricolor flag all over the world. The President of India Bestows prestigious awards such as the Arjuna and Dronacharya Award, Dhyan Chand Award, etc to the sports persons who have contributed to the growth of sports all through their sports career and also after retirement.

Friends, Sports are considered very important aspects for the physical, mental and social development of humans. It is a very important activity for all which can help us to develop multiple qualities like sense of togetherness, leadership skills, skills and performance oriented, planning and strategy, patriotism and team work. National Sports Day is not only a tribute to one of the greatest in the game, it also reminds us the spirits of sportsmanship and the importance of sports in our life. So, it was the complete information on Major Dhyan Chand and the celebration of the National Sports Day on the 29th of August every year.

Fit India Movement:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Fit India Movement” on the occasion of National Sports day on the birth anniversary of Major Dhyanchand on 29th August 2019 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. The Prime Minister said, “Only a fit person, a fit family and a fit society will pave way for a great and new India”. The Fit India Movement aims to encourage Indians to include fitness activities and sports in their daily lives to pave the way for a healthy and fit lifestyle. It is a nationwide campaign to encourage people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their everyday lives. The Prime Minister during his speech on Fit India said that fitness is not just a word but a way to lead a healthy life. If a person is fit by physically, the learning capacity is increased. Physical fitness helps the mind to think broadly. Health is wealth. This fit India Movement is an excellent initiative by the government. It will help people to think about their fitness. This movement is famous among all citizens. Everyone is appreciating this step. No doubt that it will help people to make them fit and healthy.

‘Fit India Movement’ should become a national goal and its aspiration. In an effort to inspire the nation, it may have been started by the government but it is the people who have to lead it and make it a success. “Success is related to fitness, success stories of all of our icons from any field of life have a common thread- most of them are fit, have a focus on fitness and are fond of fitness”. Today lifestyle diseases are on a rise in India affecting even the young. Cases of diabetes and hypertension are on the rise and even common among children in India. But small lifestyle changes can prevent these lifestyle diseases. ‘Fit India Movement’ is an effort to bring these small lifestyle changes.

The people in any profession can make themselves efficient in their profession if they are mentally and physical fit. If physically fit, then you would be mentally fit (sound body, sound mind). Sports have a direct relation to fitness but ‘Fit India Movement’ aims to go beyond fitness. Fitness is not just a word but an essential pillar to a healthy and prosperous life. While working on the physical they also train the mind, increasing focus and coordination of physical parts. A healthy individual, a healthy family and a healthy society are the essentials to make “New India Fit India”. Today, on National Sports Day we pledge to strengthen the Fit India Movement”, the Prime Minister said. Be the part of the Fit India Movement for the future generation.

Recently, The Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju launched a nation-wide initiative of Fit India Youth Club to promote fitness among every citizen on the occasion of 75 Independence Day on 15th August 2020. The Fit India Youth Club which is a part of the Fit India Movement envisioned by the Prime Minister, endeavours to harness the power of youth to create mass awareness about the importance of fitness. The Fit India Youth Club campaign started nation-wide from 15th August 2020 to 2nd October 2020 under the theme of “Fit India Freedom Run”.          

This initiative brings together fitness and voluntarism in a unique way. The campaign is to encourage fitness and help us all to get freedom from obesity, laziness, stress, anxiety, diseases etc. This campaign is related to promoting fitness across the country. The Fit India Freedom Run is yet another endeavour to strengthen the fit Indian Movement envisaged and involve our citizens to embrace fitness as a way of life. Participants will be allowed to run at their own place and at their own pace at a time convenient to them during campaign period. The concept behind this run is that “It can be run at anytime and anywhere!”

The writer is Convenor, Fit India Campaign Committee and Fit India Club, Manipur University, Canchipur

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