Bhubaneswar: Expressing his surprise that hockey has not been notified as the national game, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has made an emotion appeal to the prime minister Narendra Modi to make it official. declare hockey as the Game of India.

Patnaik Wednesday shot off a letter to the prime minister Narendra Modi urging the later to declare hockey as the Game of India.

“Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our national game”, Patnaik has written adding, “This will be a fitting tribute to the great hockey players who have made our country proud.” It will also inspire our future generations,” he  wrote.

For any country winning an Olympic gold medal is a proud moment. What makes it more glorious is to hear the national anthem being played on the global stage, while the country’s flag goes up, he said.

“In 1948 as a new born nation, India witnessed this glory in London when the National hockey team won the Olympic gold medal. A nation of 33 crores rejoiced the gold was won in London by defeating Great Britain. In fact, prior to 1947, Great Britain avoided playing against India for many years fearing embarrassment to lose against its colony. It was perhaps poetic justice that young and aspirational India won against its former colonizer in London.”

Till the 1980s India’s presence in the international sports arena was marked by its brilliance in hockey. Crores of Indians rejoiced every time our hockey team became victorious and our national anthem was played. Hockey became part of the Indian psyche, Patnaik wrote to the PM.

Cutting across different strata of society and regions, cutting across the rural urban divide, Hockey is hugely popular. In the tribal areas of Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Hockey is a way of life. In fact, in a first of its kind, the state of Odisha is sponsoring the National Hockey Teams for the next five years, he wrote.

Earlier in August 2012, the Ministry of Youth Affairs in a reply to an RTI query from a ten-year-old girl Aishwarya Parashar had revealed that the country does not have a national game as no game has been notified as such.