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Commonwealth Contemplations

Commonwealth Contemplations

October 10, 2010

Now that the CWG is a moderate success, India will go back to self-congratulatory mode.

A spectacular opening, 2nd on the medals front, no more cats leaping out of the bag when it comes to hygiene issues in the CWG village and no roofs crumbling to debris – the commonwealth games, notwithstanding the empty stadia, would still be termed a moderate success by the admission of even its staunchest critics. The same set of social commentators and studio journalists–turned–boors lambasting the general lackadaisical attitude of Indians, will now be seen showering praises on how despite the initial hiccups, India always proves herself (despite being a democracy sir, China did all that purely by deploying force).

Editors will give blushing Kalmadi boy a friendly nudge, business honchos will say ‘all izz well’ on the investment side, money is still flowing in ($20 billion FII inflows in the stock markets this year), and our good reputation on the world stage remains undamaged! Yet it will soon be business as usual, with even the hounding media brigade moving on to another scandal (uff…finally!). CWG will be the past…forgotten and buried by the snap of a new headline on the soaring Sensex or Delhi’s glittering new skyline.

What a sad demise – all that outrage, anger, disbelief, turning into one mute ‘ok let’s move on please’ whimper! If even an iota of the vehemence demonstrated by the media and the usually hopelessly apathetic, now suddenly condescending urban middle classes was genuine, we should have seen at least some of it being channelled towards questioning what the CWG really is a broader reflection of – deep rooted corruption, crony capitalism, and a large state that hasn’t been held accountable.

But I guess we’ve missed the point for far too long, blinded by fascinating GDP projections, steered by weekend shopping trips to expensive malls and conditioned by the affluence of the cityscape to realize that every nook and corner of India is plagued by bigger or smaller versions of the CWG every living day. Ones ignored by the media, ignored by us as we ‘chill’ in the air-conditioned comfort of our ivory towers.

So who cares about 40% of India not having access to electricity, or 27 states being under Maoist infiltration, or for that matter the highest number of malnourished children in the world living in India – these are motherhood issues we care a hoot about. Of course when the roads of Mumbai develop potholes in the monsoons we complain for a bit, light candles when terrorists strike 5 star hotels – but the larger thrust is on moving on with one’s own life. As long as things don’t get too uncomfortable, we won’t loosen our grip on the couch.

The CWG fiasco made for fabulous dinner table debate and the media had a field day. But unfortunately television trials don’t change ground realities. Perhaps a bit of effort by those who complain the most, to get back in sync with the ‘real’ India, that lies beyond shopping malls and whirlwind stock market profits will help.

To start with…let’s vote, please!


  • booing
    27.10.10 07:59 PM
    A prime example is the booing of Kalmadi at the CWG. No doubt he needs to be dealt with if he is responsible for the corruption and delays etc with the games. However, deal with him internally - get together as Indians and make sure he pays for his transgressions. That goes for all the problem politicians in India.

    But to boo your own country's Games organiser at your games in your country is just wrong. All it does is make your country, India, look bad to the world. No other country in the world would do that to their own countryman. If you thought that by booing him it might get someone external to help, then that is wrong on two counts. Firstly, you should not be looking externally for help to solve your problems, these are things which should be handled internally by Indians. India just needs the courage and interest to do it. Secondly, other countries don't care - the US or the UK will not save you - they couldn't care less. They have enough problems of their own. Are they going to take Kalmadi to task? No, they are simply going to point and laugh at how stupid, corrupt and inefficient the Indians are.

    The key here is to look within and have the confidence to solve India's problems internally. It can be done, it is just a matter of people taking an interest, having some pride and self-respect and getting on with it.

    Don't look to anyone else to save you - they can't and they won't.
  • Well actually
    Well actually
    25.10.10 05:53 PM

    Well, who will be the cheerleader for your country then, if not Indians themselves? Nobody else will do it for you - if anything, they will be more than happy to put you down.

    When representing India on a global stage, Indians should not fall into the trap of putting India down all the time. If there are successes, they should be celebrated and given their due respect.

    Internally (ie within India), feel free to vent all your frustrations about the inept, corrupt government or whatever else you feel strongly about.

    You may notice that no other country puts itself or its people down on the global stage.

    Indians need to shape up, gain some pride and stick up for themselves.
  • Harpreet
    25.10.10 04:07 PM
    Chor Uchhka Chaudhary Gundi Rann pradhan. Jab tak Congress & aur yeh Nehru key Khandaani Kuttey Hindutan main hain. Hindustan ka bhalaa nahin ho sakta.
    Harami 100000 crore Hazam kar gaye.
    Sonia Gandhi aur Yeh Commnusht Communist kabhi bi Hindustan ka bhalaa nahin kar sakta
  • Anisha
    15.10.10 01:15 PM
    The closing ceremony was a damp squib...playing 'Desi Girl' at such an important event?!?! Geezz
  • Nikhil Inamdar
    Nikhil Inamdar
    12.10.10 11:47 PM
    TRP = Television Rating Point - it is a measure of gauging how many people are watching your channel. More the TRP, sweeter the ad spots :-)
  • Nikhil Inamdar
    Nikhil Inamdar
    12.10.10 11:45 PM
    @Success - It's not a question of putting ourselves down...just because I am Indian, I don't need to be a cheerleader for the country. It is important to be critical of a very corrupt and inefficient government - something that most of us are not, simply because we are too lazy to find out what's going wrong in the first place and how we can fix it!
  • flawsophy
    12.10.10 11:03 PM
    Very frankly written ... politicians rely on the alzheimer's disease of the public.

    @ success : celebrating is something essential. But it's also important at what we did it - We did a last-minute botch up much to the embarrassment of the entire country !!! Nothing wrong in admitting that.
  • success
    12.10.10 12:55 PM
    Well, more negativity from an Indian himself. Why do you need the rest of the world to put you down when Indians do it to themselves so well?

    Yes, there is a lot wrong with India and things need to be changed. But there is no harm in celebrating successes as well, especially to the outside world. National pride on a global stage is a valuable thing to have, and the fact that these games have been successful should be a point of pride for Indians.

    Yet all I see is Indians putting themselves down. I can't understand this mentality. The whole world is already putting you down and then you do it to yourself as well? No other country in the world does that. Where is your self-respect?

    Obviously, things need to change in India, there is no doubt about that. But you should celebrate the successes too, for that builds pride and self-respect. And the lack of those may be the biggest problem India has.
  • TRP
    12.10.10 12:49 PM
    What is TRP?
  • Lakshmi Rajan
    Lakshmi Rajan
    10.10.10 10:20 PM
    Indian media just wants BREAKING NEWS for TRP. The news is TRP driven and ONLY the TRP driven news are covered, highlighted and creates a hysteria. Once the TRP value dip, time to move one. And our public well we are "Chalta hai bhai" we have a short term memory. After all "we are like this only"

  • zephyr
    10.10.10 08:19 PM
    That was very well written. The media, especially the visual media is all drama and nothing else. the same guys and gals who were lambasting the corruption are singing a different tune. india doesn't need sports to showcase its culture (the inaugural ceremony) but festivals of India as those started by Rajiv Gandhi back in the 80s. If we cared about sports, the stands won't be empty. Who is going to use the fantastic sports facilities? Maybe be Delhi govt will hire them out for marriage functions!

    You are right. we have to begin voting in earnest to throw out the trash.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    10.10.10 04:34 PM
    Very well said!

    The 8.5% growth or whatever they call it is just bullshit. The top 50 people in India control over 31% of the GDP and they are definitely doing well!

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