India hockey captain Sardar Singh recently expressed serious concern over the fact that there are high number of drug addicts in Punjab.
Voicing his concern, Singh said that had it not been for the game of Hockey, he might have been “one of them (addicts)”.
He also disclosed that he has over the years heard stories about young players at local hockey academies who have been drawn to drugs. He said that these youths should have instead use hockey or other sports as a tool to provide them direction.
Singh, who is also a DSP with Haryana Police, added that the impact of drugs across Punjab is very much visible. Though it had been some time since he have travelled across the state, he saw how the physique of any normal person, which “used to be great and dekhne mein maza aata tha (You felt good just looking at that)”, have now become less so.
He also felt that there was a link between the rise in use of drugs across Punjab and hockey’s decline.
He said, “Sansarpur and Shahbad were hockey hotbeds in Punjab and Haryana but the talent pool emerging from these nurseries has reduced considerably.”
Singh suggested that improvement of facilities in these regions, promoting sports and government help “the situation can be improved”.
The topic about drug abuse in Punjab first came to media forefront last week when the Indian censor board decided to cut a number of scenes from the movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which deals with the drugs menace.
One of these cuts that was demanded by the censor board was to remove the word Punjab from the movie’s title.
When asked about his opinion on this Singh refused to comment, stating that he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to comment on censor board’s decision.