CommonWealth Games in the Indian Context
The Commonwealth games open in New Delhi, India on 03 October. The run up publicity to these games has been anything but complimentary to the Indians. The amount of negative press that the organising committee has been getting is not even funny. Mr Suresh Kalmadi has been defensive, offensive, confusing, obdurate, obstinate and mostly unapologetic for the chaos that have surrounded the games preparations. Its easy to see why; the number of agencies involved in the preparations is not even funny i.e. MCD, CWG OC, DDA, NDMC and many others. For a complete list and responsibilities visit http://frontierindia.net/xix-commonwealth-games-2010-know-your-agencies-behind-the-preparedness for the complete details.
Collapsing bridges, Flooded basements, Falling roofs, Leaking stadiums, hyper expensive equipment....the list is endless. It seems that everyone was out to make a fast buck as the accusations go, without sparing a thought to how this rapacious attitude would affect the Image of India over the world. These accusations and the revelations thereof by the media have confirmed the worst fears of investors abroad that India is a corrupt country and to get anything done, pockets have to be lined. Its such a sad fact those indulging in corruption have no love lost for India's Image. In spite of charging the moon for various projects, the suppliers didnt have the decency to even ensure that the work they undertake was top class and lasting. Corruption exists in all nations but atleast the common man does not suffer its effects. They ensure that the work done is top class and take pride in it. Unlike us Indians. Be corrupt, make money on the side and yet dont deliver. Now that is unacceptable. To get a perspective on the various goof ups visit http://2010commonwealthgamesindia.blogspot.com/.
Though one can argue that preparations for mega events like the Commonwealth games are always fraught with uncertainities and there are bound to be slip ups but if these slip up's are exceptions then it is understandable, however, if slip up's are the norm then there is something seriously wrong with us. After all, the suppliers executing the works are from among us. Many of us may even know some of them and may also be related to them. I agree, the lure of lucre is so much that it has the power to suppress all morals and values, but who pays the price? We all do. For the actions of a few, the entire population of India is branded as corrupt. Now is that acceptable to us? No, not at all. But the question is what do we do about it.? Will a large Indian Medal Tally take away the stigma or make Indians more accepting of the corruption that marked their preparation. I hope not and the guilty should be brought to the book.
Commonwealth games- India 2010 - A glimpseClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Way Ahead
Above, there are some photographs of various stadia constructed for the Commonwealth games. It looks impressive. It seems like a lot of work has been done and executed quite well. The infrastructure looks top class and Delhi looks transformed. So should we focus on the negaitive aspects or should we continue to harp on the negative. Well, I guess, we need to focus on the positive and get the games going and ensure they are conducted flawlessly. This shall restore India's reputation to some extent as a country that can fulfil its promises and deserves the tag of an emerging superpower. It is what we do after the games that shall make a difference.
Corrupt people know that once an event completes successfully, the heat is off them. Whether the stadia, the other infrastructure raised for the games survives the test of time, is of no consequence to them. That is the sad part. They know that the "feel good factor" created by the successful conduct of the games (the opening ceremony, the events etc), will mitigate the ill will that has been built up against them. They know that there are other people will pride to clean up the mess created by them. They bank on that fact. We indians are forgiving. After the games are over, it shall be business as usual. No TV channel shall show how the infrastructure is being used. Are our buddling athletes being given access to the facilities. Are we producing winners in all sports?Where is that accountability? How does the common man know that his hardearned tax money is being used to deliver what was promised by the leaders they have elected.
This time, we need to act differently. We need to focus on the positives and ensure that the games are conducted successfully. We need to encourage the thousands of people who have worked diligently and recognise their efforts. After all, its not so bad. How ever, Its what we do after the games to book the guilty that shall define us. The media now needs to continue its onslaught against the organisers and the various suppliers involved in the games constructions. All penalties that can be imposed on them should be ensured. The proposed utilisation of games infrastruture like the Village, the stadia need to be made available to the budding sports stars of our country. We need to ensure that these facilities do not get converted to high end clubs and places for events for high society. We need to ensure that our elected representatives deliver on what they promised - The hosting of Commonwealth games shall go a long way in improving the sporting infrastructure and ethos of our country by ensuring that the common man has access to these facilities that his taxes enabled to be built.
A word of advice to all Indians- Get after the guilty after the successful conduct of the games. Dont spare them if they are found guilty. Dont let our forgiving Indian Nature cloud our judgement and spare them. Media, are you listening? keep up the onslaught after the games to ensure that the facilities are used as promised and not subverted. So till the games finish --Best of Luck to all Indians.
The opening ceremony was a grand spectacle... some everlasting images from http://sports.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/oct/03/slide-show-1-cwg-2010-india-images-india-shining-at-commonwealth-games-opening.htm and http://cwg.ndtv.com/commonwealth/article/id/spoen20100155192/type/latest/Colours-of-India-come-alive-a-dazzling-CWG-opening-ceremony-56682.html