Gurdip Singh Kullar

Gurdip Singh Kullar who represented J & K in nationals and also played for S.R.C., Meerut is now leading retired life in Sansarpur after completing his tenure in military. The following interview was conducted at his residence in Sansarpur.

The researcher’s first question to Gurdip Singh Kullar was: Gurdip Singh Kullar, you belong to a family which has produced hockey players of distinction over the generations. Could you tell us something about the unbreakable bond your family has with the hockey and your early life.

Gurdip Singh Kullar smiled on listening the above words and said that the researcher is very correct in describing the strong relationship between his family and hockey. He told the researcher that his uncle Thakur Singh Kullar is one of the pioneers of hockey in Sansarpur. It is well known that he was the member of first Indian hockey team which visited any country. In fact he went to New Zealand and Australia with Indian army XI in 1926. He told the researcher that his other uncle Mehar Singh Kullar was also an outstanding hockey player who was famous for his game skills and speed then in his generation his elder brother Gurdev Singh Kullar achieved the highest honour of leading the country in 1962 Asian Games and was a member of Indian Olympic team in 1956. Gurdip Singh Kullar said that Gurdev Singh Kullar has mastery over taping and sending through passes. It was so easy to play alongside him that even a player of lesser ability could easily score on his passes. He always played for the team, was a schemer of highest order and many a times made moves for others to score the goal. Now the younger generation is also carrying the flag as his two sons Rajinder Singh Kullar and Balwant Singh Kullar who are presently with BSF and Punjab Police respectively are still playing hockey. Rajinder Singh Kullar has played for Punjab ( Seniors ) and BSF where as Balwant Singh Kullar is still playing for Punjab and has represented Indian Universities in national championship and Nehru Hockey Tournament, told Gurdip Singh Kullar.

When researcher asked him, while mentioning other members of his family, he has not said anything about himself, Gurdip Singh Kullar said that being born in such a family and having seen hockey greats of his era, he does not consider his own contribution worth mentioning. The remark was made with all sincerity and is clearly an indicative of his calm, modest nature.

Now, researcher asked him, to name the person from the family who were source of inspiration for him, Gurdip Singh Kullar cited the names of Thakur Singh Kullar and Gurdev Singh Kullar.
Researcher’s next query was about the village life during his early days. Gurdip Singh Kullar said that enthusiasm for hockey in natives of Sansarpur was something to be seen to believe. He told that village hockey tournaments of those days were the most important events for Sansarpuri’s. He narrated the following two episodes to elaborate his point.

First incident relates to the 1953 Jaswant Singh Kullar Memorial Hockey Tournament which was annually organised by Sansarpur Hockey Association in memory of Jaswant Singh Kullar father of first Sansarpur Olympian Gurmit Singh Kullar. Final of the tournament was being played between Sansarpur and Punjab Police. Match score was 0-0 till the last five minutes of the game. Then Ajit Singh Kullar ( Billa ), who later served Indian Air Lines with distinction as a pilot, scored a goal for Sansarpur. The whole village, which had come to the field to witness the game, erupted in joy and started beating used buckets of Persian Wheels, which they had brought with them, so hard that it could be heard even in the adjoining village.

Another incident relates to a game in the same tournament which was played against Sansarpur arch rivals Khusropur. Hockey rivalry between the two teams was so great that a loss against Khusropur was considered almost a calamity by Sansarpuri’s. In this game, a player of Khusropur’s team. Deliberately hit a stick on Sansarpuri’s centre forward Das Singh Kullar’s head. Blood started from Das Singh Kullar’s head bandaged head. But he did not leave the field and took the position of the goal-keeper. Khusropur earned a penalty bully in the dying moments of the game. Das Singh Kullar challenged them to score the goal and when the penalty bully was taken, he successfully stopped the ball and scooped it outside the D and remarked in jest “ go and collect the ball, i have thrown it to your village”, as the game was being played in East-West direction and Khusropur’s team was on East flank which is also the direction of the village. The match ended in draw and Sansarpur won the game on III day.

With this the interview came to the end

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