Guru Dutt Sondhi
|Prof. Guru Dutt Sondhi|
10 December 1890|
in Lahore (now in Pakistan)
|Died||November 20, 1966|
|Alma mater||Government College, Lahore
Trinity College, Cambridge
|Occupation||Principal and Sports Administrator|
Guru Dutt Sondhi (10 December 1890 – 20 November 1966) was a sports administrator in India, manager of the Indian Olympic team at three Olympics, founder of the Western Asiatic Games (New Delhi and Patiala, 1934) and the founder of the Asian Games Federation (AGF; New Delhi 1951).
Guru Dutt Sondhi was born on 10 December 1890 in Lahore (now in Pakistan) to a Punjabi Khatri family. His father was a barrister in Jalandhar, Punjab. He attended Government College, Lahore from 1905 to 1911 and then Trinity College, Cambridge, England from 1911 to 1914. He was interested in sports. During his study year in the Government College he was the half-mile and cross-country sports champion of University of the Punjab in 1911. He was also the member of Trinity College's hockey team.
He then became the first Indian Principal of Government College, Lahore from 1939 to 1945. After partition of India, he joined Panjab University, Chandigarh and served at various positions as a sports administrator. He believed that sound body is necessary for a sound mind.
Sports and University Administrator
Guru Dutt Sondhi served in several positions:
- Manager for the Indian Olympic team at the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics.
- First Indian secretary of the Indian Olympic Association since 1927
- Chairman of the Punjab Olympic Association since 1924.
- Professor at Punjab University - Lahore
- Principal of Government College University - Lahore, 1939–45; when his term ended in 1945, became sports advisor to the government of India.
- The first President of the Athletics Federation of India (1946–50) and Vice-President of the International Hockey Federation in 1946.
- Founder of the 1951 Asian Games.
- International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, 1932 until death.
The First Asian Games
The idea for Asian sports, going back to the Western Asiatic Games (1934) and the Far Eastern Championship Games (1913-1934), was reborn shortly before the end of the Second World War and discussed during the Asian Relations Conference held under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru shortly before India's Independence in 1947. The idea was translated into reality during the 1948 London Olympic Games when India’s Prof. Guru Dutt Sondhi, Jorge B. Vargas (from the Philippines), and others called a meeting to form the Asian Games Federation (AGF). East Asian and Southeast Asian delegates, contemplating about recreating the Far Eastern Championship Games, eventually decided to join the meeting and to host the First Asian Games in Shanghai. This could not be realized due to the Chinese Civil War, meaning that Sondhi later agreed to host the event in India. Following this, the AGF was formalised at Delhi’s Patiala House on February 12–13, 1949, and delegates drafted and accepted a constitution. The charter members forming the federation were Afghanistan, Burma, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand, while the Iranian nominee could not attend.
The delegates also decided to hold the Asian Games after every four years, midway between the Olympic Games; at a later meeting, during the First Asian Games, they agreed on the simple motto which was designed and proposed by Guru Dutt Sondhi: "Ever Onward". The official flag, inspired by the flag Sondhi had designed for the Western Asiatic Games, shows a red sun that represents the ever glimmering and warm spirit of the Asian people.
- The Olympic Movement in Mourning, 1966
- Stefan Huebner, Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913-1974. Singapore: NUS Press, 2016, chapter 3 (on the First Asian Games); Stefan Huebner, “Guru Dutt Sondhi (1890-1966): Indian IOC Member and Visionary of Asian Integration through Sport.” In: Education about Asia 21,2 (2016), 29-34.
- Fan Hong, "Sport, Nationalism and Orientalism: The Asian Games"
- Stefan Huebner, Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913-1974. Singapore: NUS Press, 2016, chapter 3 (on the First Asian Games).
- Members of the IOC do, in theory, not represent countries but are ambassadors from the IOC to the sports associations of their countries