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GD: Should INDIA Change Its National Game?

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Candidates should start by speaking with what is the general criteria for a sport to become a National Game.

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Points to speak in Favour of the topic

  • Hockey is not so much popular among the masses now as much it used to be earlier. Almost all other major games have attracted audience attention more than hockey.
  • Cricket has been the mainstay of Indian sports for a long time now and is the choice of the nation. Hence, cricket deserves to be the national game.
  • Sticking with hockey is only a matter of formality for India now. People dont follow the game, nobody knows the matches' schedules or the players' names. And to top it all, the game has no money, so parents don't encourage their children to play.
  • Inspite of sponsorships and even an IPL like makeover (Indian Hockey League), Indian hockey hasn't been able to create any following. The game itself is very weak and has no support from the government or private sponsors.

Points Against the topic

  • At the end of the day, games are played for fun. If watched closely, a hockey match can be as much, if not more, exciting as a cricket game.
  • Cricket is worshiped in India, more than any other game. That doesnt mean that other games should stop existing! 
  • Cricket is popular because Indian Team is among the best in the world. If our hockey team starts to match global standards, people would automatically start following the game.
  • Everyone know that our past hockey team was a force to reckon with. India has won Olympic golds in hockey and produced arguably the best hockey player the world has ever seen - Major Dhyanchand. India still holds the record for being the only team to have won 8 Olympic Gold medals with 6 in a row!
  • If hockey begins to get the encouragement from government and proper facilities are setup, players would themselves feel motivated to win. And once they start winning, the money would automatically start flowing in.
  • Indian hockey is not popular among the masses because of the media. While cricket has always got the preferential treatment of first page coverage, hockey always used to get the last one. But this is changing of late. Media recently has covered major players like Saina Nehwal in Badminton, Rohan Boppana, Leander Pace in Tennis extensively. But for media attention, our hockey team need to win more matches. 
  • Instead of changing the national game, India should work to make it more popular. One step in this regard could be to take aid from BCCI. With huge coffers of money, BCCI has the capacity to help the Hockey Federation and make the sport popular in India.
  • India Pakistan encounters are still followed with great enthusiasm in India. We surely have the talent, we just dont have player motivation. And so media and general public have to start doing their bit. Like other countries Indian media needs to give equal coverage to all sports alike. 
  • Money is a big factor in any sport. All our cricketers are millionaires. If players are paid well, they would perform better. Big Business houses (like Sahara did) need to step in and support the sport.

Conclusion

  • The national game might not have to change if the general attitude towards the game changes. The game needs governments support to revive.
  • The public has a responsibility to make the game of Hockey popular. They should go to watch matches and watch them on TV as well. This would increase sponsorships, bring in support for the game and make it popular, and boost player confidence as well. The national game then would truly become national.

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