Darshan Singh Sethi

Seventy year old Darshan Singh Sethi is now leading a retired life in Sansarpur village. He has represented India in 1951 international tournament held at Kabul. He has played for Bengal, Services and Rajasthan in the national hockey tournaments. The interview was conducted by the researcher at his residence in Sansarpur. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

The researcher first requested him to tell something about his early life and also to explain how the word Sethi was attached to his name as he does not belong to that cast. Darshan Singh Sethi did not answer the query for a few moments and then his characteristics smile came back to his face and he said that he was born into a traditional Sansarpur family, whose passion for hockey was second to none. All family members were great hockey lovers. They were six brothers and all of them played hockey at one or the other level. So hockey was in his blood and all memories of his early days are related to the hockey. The village tournaments, hockey discussions after the games, village involvement in the game are still fresh in his memory. On being reminded of second part of the query, Darshan Singh Sethi laughed and said that when he was studying in N.D. Victor High School, Jalandhar Cantt., he had a friend who was a son of a rich land lord and was called Seth’s son. Their friendship became so famous, that people started calling him Sethi-Seth’s friend. The nick name some how got attached with his name and Sethi became his last name, though as the researcher also know he is a Kashyap Rajput and belongs to Padani sub cast.

Researcher’s next question was related to his hockey career. Researcher asked him the reason for playing in the national team for a very brief period inspite of possessing the best skills. Researcher explained his point by saying that he has heard that whenever Darshan Singh Sethi used to enter opponent’s D area, a goal was considered almost a certainly by all. His shooting ability and skillful play has won praises even from persons who themselves had been great players. In 1994, a new hockey ground was being inaugurated in Sansarpur by Lt. Gen. H.B.Kala. Researcher was also present in the ceremony. Balbir Singh Kullar ( Services ), great hockey ace, while introducing Darshan Singh Sethi at that occasion to Lt. Gen. H.B. Kala remarked that he was the best out side left of his time and possessed better credentials than R.S. Bhola who was given preference over him. Researcher requested him to comment. Darshan Singh Sethi took a deep breath and said his story is that of near misses. He was selected for Olympic camp in 1948, which was organised at Bombay to select the final team for 1948 london Olympics. He had great hopes of making to the final team as his showing in the camp was good. But somehow he was not selected. Later in 1952, he was named in eighteen selected as probable for Helsinki Olympics. But for some unknown reasons, the list was scrapped and another list of 26 probables was released which did not have his name. He still is not able to comprehend the reason for the same. May be it is the selection politics or some other reason remarked Darshan Singh Sethi. But after making the remark he added that he has no malice towards any one and cherishes the memories of the chances he got to represent the country. He had fond memories of his trip to Kabul in 1951 with the Indian team and the three test matches he played against Japan in India in the same year. He further said that looking back to his playing days he now realises that one mistake which had an adverse effect in his hockey career was his making selection of a wrong team. He joined army Grenadier hockey team, which was not a very strong team. If he were playing with a stronger team, he might have had more opportunities to improve his game.

Now, the researcher realised that he had taken more than an hour of the old man and Darshan Singh Sethi was appearing a little tired, so thanking him he asked for his permission to leave. With this the interview came to an end

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