New Delhi: Former union minister and current Rajya Sabha MP Ram Vilas Paswan has stated that legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand should have got the prestigious Bharat Ratna award ahead of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
"Major Dhyan Chand should have been the first recipient of the Bharat Ratna when it was decided that the sportspersons will be conferred with the highest civilian honour," Paswan told PTI after attending an election rally in Madhya Pradesh.
"Had Tendulkar got the award for playing a game like hockey, we would have been happy," Paswan stated.
For Paswan, cricket is a "colonial game", which according to him is not India`s sport.
"As far as sports is concerned, kabbaddi, football, volleyball and kho-kho are essentially the Indian sports. Cricket has never been India`s sport as it is a game of the elites," he added.
The 67-year-old veteran politician further added that none of the first world countries play cricket.
"Cricket is still played in the erstwhile British colonies only. The United States does not play cricket neither does Russia, China, Japan or Germany. It was only in the British colonies that cricket was played."
"The Bharat Ratna should only be given to social workers and people who have contributed to bring about a change in the society," The former Railways minister, Paswan said.
Paswan also questioned as to how does a country get benefit from someone playing cricket.
"It`s ok that you play cricket, but what have you contributed towards the society at large while playing? Nobody plays cricket for free and how does a country get benefit from that?" he questioned.