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Sikh News Principles Fuel The Namdharis


Sep 16, 2004
[Publication: Times of India Mumbai; Date: Sep 1, 2007; Section: Times Sport; Page: 31


Mumbai: He was the first to break the mould. Didar Singh, who represented the country in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, was among the first Namdharis to wear shorts, or sport anything apart from white on his body.

The Namdharis, who are competing in the Mumbai Hockey league, have a simple philosophy to life. They follow the principles of truth, purity, simplicity, peace and unity.

They don’t wear any other colour apart from white and only sport a kutcha for shorts. They eat only vegetarian food and they even keep eggs at an arm’s length. They cook food themselves and only drink water that is drawn from a well or collected from rain. The Namdharis indulge only in sweets.

How they have adopted to the game is interesting. Didar, the first Namdhari to play for India, says: “The guardians of the Namdharis were convinced by the hockey authorities (IHF) and that’s how I got to play for the country,’’ says Didar. Before Didar, Namdharis played only for their own team, not even for Punjab. But Didar’s inclusion did not mean he fell for temptations. “I follow the principles every moment,’’ says Didar.

“After me, many boys from our academy are playing in other teams. We feel bad when some of the boys score against us. But we have realised that it is good for the game and the country,’’ said Didar. “We also make an effort to keep the assembly line going. We now believe that if we lose one boy, we need to have four others ready,’’ says Didar.

For a sport that has had many violent clashes, Namdhari are an exception. “Some of our boys do get angry and question umpiring decision. But we quickly calm them down. Hockey is losing spectators to other sport and if we indulge in abuse and violence, how will women and children watch it,’’ says Didar.

The Namdharis have their astro turf at Sri Bhaini Sahib, in Ludhiana district. “We have the only private astroturf in the whole of Asia,’’ says Didar. The academy boys are taken care of by the sect. Their education and kitting expenses are borne by the Academy. Even the families of the boys are taken care of in case of an emergency.

The Namdhari team is a young side and Didar says they realise the importance of education. “A teacher has come along with the boys so that they do not miss out on education,’’ says Didar. The Namdharis are indeed an education to some of the other teams who indulge in a rough hockey culture.



FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The Namdhari team only eats the food prepared by their cook

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