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Ex-Olympian Aslam Sher only Indian to be felicitated in Malaysia on Oct. 21

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Former hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, who has been dabbling with politics after retirement, will be felicitated in Malaysia on October 21 for his contribution to the game of hockey.

According to Aslam Sher, who hails from Bhopal which used to be the nursery of hockey, he has received an invitation from the Asian Sports Journalists Association of Malaysia to take part in an event celebrating the seventies. He would be felicitated at that event. The two-day October 21-22 event has been christened as “Vietnam War, the Beatles and Sports highlighted the seventies”.

Aslam Sher Khan, who was a member of 1975 Hockey World Cup winning Indian team, said he felt honoured to be the only Indian sporting personality to be invited to the event. He would be leaving for Malaysia on October 20.

Talking to this Correspondent he said: “I am really happy to be felicitated for a performance that brought glory to my country and fetched the only World Cup hockey title for India way back in 1975”. He claimed that the decade of 1970 belonged to him.

“I played hockey with total dedication with a killer instinct as my brought up approach was to excel which was instilled in me by my father. My father Aslam Sher Khan was also an hockey Olympian having played the game in the company of Indian hockey wizard Major Dhyan ‘Chand’ Singh in Berlin Olympics which India won”, Aslam Sher said nostalgically.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that Aslam Sher Khan, who was born July 15, 1953, helped the Indian Hockey team to win the gold medal in the 1975 World Cup held at Kuala Lumpur by scoring the winning goal. He as a member of Indian team also participated in Munich Olympics held in the 1972. He played hockey as a full back. He authored an autobiography titled "To Hell with Hockey".

Aslam Sher's father Ahmed Sher Khan also represented India in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics. As he said in his autobiography about his grandfather's saying, "Your father had a streak of madness in him, Like you, he had a great obsession for hockey. He made your mother promise that if they had a son, she would bring him up to be a hockey player."

Ahmed Sher Khan was the Hockey coach of Aslam's school but never selected Aslam to play for the school team. When he asked his father about this thing he replied "you still have a lot to learn."

Aslam Sher in the year 1966, was called up for the All India schools hockey camp at Bhopal. But his father fell ill at that time. He did not want to join the camp but his father motivated him by saying "The more you play, and the better you play, the more I`ll know you love me."

That reverberated like an order to Aslam Sher and he went to join the camp. He was selected in the All-India schools hockey team as a forward under the famous hockey player Roop Singh, who played with his father in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Hearing this selection news, his father went on crying. At the age of 13, Ahmed Sher died. Aslam Sher Khan's ambition was to represent his own country in hockey in the Olympics like his father.

Meanwhile, Aslam Sher Khan has also been a Congress Member of Parliament and a Union Minister as well. After retirement he joined politics and was elected to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984 as an Indian National Congress from Betul constituency in Madhya Pradesh. He contested from Betul constituency again in 1989, but he lost. He was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha from the same constituency in 1991 but again lost in 1996.

In December 1997, Aslam Sher joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), but resigned from the party on January 27, 1999.

In 2004, he contested from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate but lost again. In 2009, he contested from Sagar Lok Sabha constituency as a Congress candidate but could not win.

Aslam Sher obtained bachelors degree in science from Saifia College, Bhopal. On 25 October 1981, Aslam married Rehana Sher Khan and they have two sons. The youngest son is called Akbar Sher Khan. He is a New York Attorney.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]
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