A week ago, India's hockey legend Mohammed Shahid passed away - an icon of the sport, winner of Olympics gold in 1980, silver at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze at the same event in 1986.
The next morning, journalists who weren't lucky enough to see him in action, spoke to former players, and extracted quotes on the artistry of Shahid. Those lucky enough, like Sundeep Misra, who follow the game religiously, went back in time, put images to their memories and words to these images...
"Fans watched in disbelief. Opposition coaches gave up. Defenders wanted to quit the sport. Little kids wanted to know ‘dodge kaise karte hain’. Commentators lost their voice if Shahid didn’t have the ball. In those days, Mohammed Shahid was hockey," Misra wrote for Firstpost.
"For those of us not privileged to watch the wizard Dhyan Chand at work, Shahid was the benchmark of talent, a rare, if not unique, craftsman at a time when Indian hockey itself was sliding," senior sports journalist G Rajaraman wrote for Economic Times.
But that is all there is available to Indians on Shahid's legacy - a few pictures, some words and memories - all fragile, and not just yellowing with age, but rushing towards mortality at the speed at which the wizard went past defenders.
Television channels beamed some rare pictures, spoke to greats and compiled a live Twitter feed which said 'RIP Mohammed Shahid', including one from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The rest of Shahid's greatness is somewhere, locked away, in a room full of videotapes at Doordarshan's headquarters in Delhi, rotting, again, just like hockey as a sport was, in Shahid's days - available on application. But not even Doordarshan knows what is still available or even what they have in their archives.
So why did Hockey India not ask for this footage and produce something? Because, "they don't have any archival material."
And did the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation have any of this? "No, we have never asked or kept any archival material on Shahid," former secretary of the association Ashok Mathur told Scoopwhoop.
And what about Doordarshan? "Shahid's tapes have not been digitised, they are all (still) on videotapes," said an official who did not want to be named.
It's the same with India's first individual Olympic medallist Khashaba Jadhav. The Wrestling Federation of India has zero archival material on the man who won bronze at the Helsinki Games in 1952 to inspire the likes of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt and thousands of youngsters who dream of the same every four years.
"All we have is an image which we downloaded from the internet, printed it, and framed it," assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told Scoopwhoop.
It's a quote which puts the spotlight of shame on India's sporting bodies - meanwhile, England's top video producers have this material on 1966 FIFA World Cup winning skipper Bobby Moore. A documentary on the legend is due out soon - here's the trailer:
Forget about footage, India's hockey associations have no particular mention of the number of goals, assists or appearances Shahid made in the national side of the most popular sport of those times. In comparison, Brazil's FA has Pele's records - immortalised. If that isn't enough, then the revelation that the scorecard for the record 664-run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kamble was burnt by the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) should be.
And if you thought this happened only to sportsmen who played in 'no-name' sports, then you are wrong. DD even managed to lose footage of Sunil Gavaskar scoring his 10,000th Test run. An Indian Express report quotes multiple officials from the public broadcaster -- their answers ranging from "asking the reason is none of your business" to "not available" and "not our duty."
"I know the BBC and Australian Broadcasting Corporation archive their sporting past very well. Here they don’t have it and yes, some golden cricketing moments like Sunny’s 10,000 Test runs, my world record or the tied Test are gone," Kapil Dev is quoted as saying in the same report - the tapes of him leading Haryana to a win over Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy final (1990-91) are also dead.
There is no technological excuse for this - there are videos available online of Dhyan Chand cutting past German defences like a hot knife through butter. And Dhyan Chand's best times came about 50 years before Shahid. Khashaba Jadhav's achievement came in 1952 - after Dhyan Chand's.
The only excuse is negligence, a lack of respect and complete disdain for sporting brilliance and achievement.
India's sports federations and a public broadcaster which is still living in the 19th century are all responsible for allowing it's sporting legends to die - Dhyan Chand in a general ward in AIIMS, almost penniless, and 37 years later, Shahid - in memory, stifled in a corner of a room, on a magnetic videotape which may or may not exist, his assists and skills vanishing with every passing day.
And that is a national failure.