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The Audacity Of Pride: Your Commonwealth Games

The Audacity Of Pride: Your Commonwealth Games

September 21, 2010

If you just shout negatives about the Delhi Commonwealth Games, you're only conning yourself.



You don't have to look far into the horizon of the mass media or the blogosphere to understand the size and darkness of the cloud hanging over next month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Over here, a Reuters reporter asks how Delhi's poor will benefit from the Games and finds no good answers; there, an IBNLive staffer suggests that the big winner will be corruption. Indeed, my colleague Vivek Dehejia has roundly denounced the CWG and gone as far as to say that he hopes that they fail. In the midst of all this bad press, there must be something good to say, somewhere, about something. Right?

However, attempting to find a positive point of view to get behind is a potential minefield, with hundreds of gatekeepers of Correctness on the Internet ready to pounce if you dare to suggest one. Perhaps this is why the opinion pieces that search for pros rather than cons tend to find them only in a negative, post-Games way. For example: the legacy of the disaster will inevitably force a number of positive changes in Delhi, and residents are for once united... in their outrage against the great con about to descend upon their city.

I must come clean and say that I, too, have been in disbelief ever since the first announcement was made. The Commonwealth Games are coming to Delhi? That Delhi? I wrote them off, and the city by extension, immediately and then avoided all CWG-related reports – until just recently. The sheer volume of impotently angry and frustrated reports was overwhelming, and even as a foreigner with no ties to India other than I live here, I couldn't help but feel another shock.  This tide of criticism and negativity may just have become bigger than the Games themselves. The inherent danger in negative momentum on a grand scale is that it risks dwarfing the very thing that gave rise to it in the first place, and crushing it in its wake.

This isn't to say that wrongdoing and mismanagement should go unreported. Such dealings are all too frequent, and it is heartening to see so many people become willing to raise their critical voices. Yes, the people in charge are corrupt. Yes, the entire operation has been a disorganised wreck from the outset. Yes, the officials do indeed appear to be failing the people, as they have so many times before... but if you consider these statements to be the be-all and end-all of the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, and you live in India (especially Delhi), then I have a couple of questions for you:

What are you doing to help?

Is it not possible that you are contributing to the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I see this negative tide as a collective self-absolution of the whole affair. All the blame can be placed at the doors of officials, so you wash your hands of any responsbility, sit back and wait for the catastrophe to unfold. Shaking your head and tsking and tutting. Never actually lifting a finger in response, other than to keep bashing away at the keyboard.

One must remember that the Commonwealth Games do not merely show the capacity of Indian politicians and officials to handle a major international event. It is the entire city of Delhi that is on show, and all of the people contained within its walls. I'm not suggesting that poorer classes should spring into action; they have their own problems and probably care little about the Games. What I would like to see is a change of attitude from those more critical journalists and bloggers; to instead focus on what they, or the people they know, can do to make a difference.

After all, ask any tourist what they remember from visiting India. The politicians? The bureaucracy? The lack of infrastructure? No – for those who make it past that first heavily culture-shocked week, it's the people. If I were coming to India for the first time to these Games, I would come prepared for an undeveloped country, just as I would at any other time. Upon returning home, I would likely tell my friends, “yes, it was a bureaucratic nightmare, everything was a complete mess, the city felt like it wasn't even ready for a dress rehearsal... but I met this really friendly chai-wallah near Pahar Ganj and ended up going there most days I could.  And I'd love to go back.Even in as desperate a situation as Delhi might find itself come October 3rd, the attitude of its people can rise above their leaders' failings – and even create an overall positive impression.

Whether this attitude could seep over into matters apart from the Commonwealth Games and contribute to a more positive direction for the city, or the country, is impossible to know. But there's only one way to find out.


43 Comments

  • tannu
    By
    tannu
    12.11.10 04:20 PM
    I wonder of the western media might be a touch biased in their portrayal of the Indian Games – I wonder why?
  • maybe
    By
    maybe
    26.10.10 05:31 PM
    Loknath,

    "The world must know that India is home to rascals of unimaginable greed."
    "Secondly why are you so desperate for foreign media coverage and their well-balanced view?"

    Surely these two statements are incompatible? Why does the world need to know that India is home to rascals of unimaginable greed? If the world was interested in helping, I might understand, but all they want is to laugh and look down on India - this just gives them more fuel to do so. These things should be handled in India by Indians - don't look to anyone else to help you because they won't - they have their own problems or they just don't care.

    There is nothing wrong with expecting a fair and balanced view from the media - isn't that what they are supposed to do? The problem also is that the Indian media is never derogatory about the West yet India itself gets alot of negative coverage from the West. At the very least, if you believe that the media should be biased against foreign countries, then India should be critical of other countries in their media. Trust me, there is plenty to criticize about the West.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    26.10.10 02:30 PM
    Free_Verse

    "Whether this is good or bad should not matter to the Games discussion. It is how Indians (in the government) work and it’s their problem"

    First of all spending 70000 crores is not a problem that we can excuse for sake of CWG being a decent event. It is a crime of order of magnitude punishable by death..only by DEATH or at least 10 sentences of 100 years each. I wish our probing committees and judiciary set a precedent that has never been set before. This time to the whole world. The world must know that India is home to rascals of unimaginable greed.

    Secondly why are you so desperate for foreign media coverage and their well-balanced view? It is none of their job to air eulogies about India and the quality of the stadia and facilities that in any case is assumed to be good unless quoted or noted otherwise. Their audience is only interested in the actual sport and the medals tally. Indian media has done a fantastic job of indicting the shameless bastards and compelled our Lords to act.

    "Nobody hates our politicians the way we do."
    Rightly so. Nowhere else in comparable nations, politicians take home public wealth as their bounty and assume his subjects are still the same clueless retards that nehru left them. I would rate Idi Amin a more human individual than suresh kalamdai or antonia maino
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    26.10.10 12:25 PM
    Hi, thanks very much for taking so much energy into commenting. This piece was written and published before the Games began, and the main purpose behind it was to rally people in India - especially those who were openly critical of the Games before they started - into showing some positivity and making the event their own, rather than just distancing themselves from it as another governmental cockup.

    Unfortunately I can't really comment on foreign media reports as I live in India and pay little attention to mainstream media reports. I don't even follow the big Indian news organisations! That's why I haven't written anything since the Games started, finished and were a success. I agree with you, though, that the media should at least try to take a balanced approach - of course each organisation has to keep the interests of their particular audience foremost in my mind, but good reporting is generally balanced reporting. You mention only the BBC specifically in your comment - were they the biggest naysayers?
  • Free_verse
    By
    Free_verse
    26.10.10 12:25 AM
    The western media has been biased to the extent of appalling in its coverage of the CWG.

    If I could, I would pose the following questions to the western journalists:

    1) Why has the international media not made a DISTINCTION between the preiod of last week of September (pre-Games) and the period after the opening Ceremony. This is a fair distinction that should have been drawn if the Games reporting is to be perceived as fair and balanced. The Indian media, along with the international media, made a virulent attack against the organising committee immediately prior to the Games. However, Indian media toned down it's negative reporting considerably given that (i) the Opening Ceremony was fabulous and served as a salvaging factor for the OC (ii) the pictures of the Games Village revealed that it was in fact a beautiful venue, with great facilities for recreation, training, entertainment, dining and interaction. A salon, disc, amphitheatre, shops, gym were some of the features of the Village (iii) lest pictures proved to be misleading, there were statements by athletes and the officials accompanying them, confirming the above and reiterating that their stay was comfortable and 'everything was fantastic' (to quote an English official) (iv) there were unforseeable problems like condoms clogging drains, players getting a bad stomach due to spicey food (and not the swimming pool, as reports have unequivocally confirmed) and these were duly reported but never blown out of proportion so as to dampen everybody's spirits.

    Why has the media here not bothered to interview their athletes more often to get their actual feedback on the village and the facilities and report the ground realities. If there were pictures of the Village BEFORE the commencement of the event, shouldn't there be a segment shocasing the pictures of the Village (and yes, the rooms and toilets) AFTER the athletes moved in. When you don't do that, don't you risk MISLEADING your readers and leaving a false impression in their minds? Especially so, when the former pictures were made headlines, catching attention of one and all.

    2) Why does every analysis of the Games, including this interview, highlight certain mishaps in the run up to the Games, WITHOUT making as much as a reference to the PRESENT conditions (which by far, are more relevant to report), mentioning how the shortcomings have been remedied within time. Eg: reports continue mention that the athletics track was damamged despite precautions taken, but fail to point out that NOBODY faced any problems because of that because it was repaired overnight.

    3) Why doesn't it dawn on people that perhaps the manner of EXECUTION of projects may differ from country to country. The run up to public projects in India, especially by the GOVERNMENT, are marked by chaos and mayhem. Whether this is good or bad should not matter to the Games discussion. It is how Indians (in the government) work and it's their problem. As long as the work is done in time, why should it matter whether it was done over many months, or few months PROVIDED the safety standards are met (which were, in the present case). The Chinese took one year to prepare for their opening ceremony, and it took less than one-tenth of the time here. So when the officials from other countries arrived in September, they had a reason to worry, but the Indians pulled up their sockes and got everything ready in time.

    4) There is no way corruption in the Games is going to be condoned, despite the Games being a succeess. Nothing portrays the disgust at the corruption scene better than the crowds jeering at Kalmadi at the Opening ceremony. So, it is not right to say (as many comments have said here) that Indians do not take criticism well and live in denial. If BBC reports on the menace of corruption in public life in India with reference to the Games, no Indian will contest that. Nobody hates our politicians the way we do. But there is no question of receiving undue criticism where it is not due.
  • really?
    By
    really?
    12.10.10 09:28 PM
    Not only has India won a few medals, they are second in the medals table right now to Australia only! They are ahead of England too! Don't say it so meekly - India should be very proud of that!

    There is no reason for India to be criticized so much except for the desire for the West to look down on the East. They always have done - why do you think they went around trying to colonize the "natives"? They believed and still believe they are superior.

    What really bugs me is that Indian still seem to respect and think the West is great, when all the West does is disrespect and put them down. My question is - what does it make you if you continue to respect and like someone who thinks you are beneath them and acts like that too?

    Simple question, simple answer.
  • Daisy
    By
    Daisy
    12.10.10 07:48 PM
    Well, though it's quite wrong and racist to make fun of someone because she is from a particular country, it doesn't match the Saudi govt (wrongly) translating the name of a well-qualified Pakistani Diplomat into Arabic and rejecting his posting in the Saudi Arabia because they thought the Arabic translation of his name sounded vulgar - without realising that they had wrongly translated his name and without bothering to check what his beautiful name really meant in Urdu.

    At least this journalist has resigned and his govt has apologised to Indian govt. But in the case of Saudi Arabia, the racism and the ignorance came from the govt itself and there is no question of the Saudis apologising to anyone.

    OK, back to topic. I find Barnaby's support for the CWG quite touching. But honestly, it's a pain being in Delhi at this time. Most of the buses have been taken off the roads. The police are pulling just anyone over and checking them at their whims and fancies. I wish they never hold an event like this in Delhi again. May be in some other outlying area such as Faridabad or Gurgaon, but not in Delhi.

    But it's heartening that the Games have gone off well, without any mishaps and India has won a few golds and silvers as well!

    I's true that I have been seeing a rising criticism of India in the international forums in recent times. I wonder why the Westerners have a problem with India.

    We may not be the best country in the world, but I don't think India has caused any harm to anyone.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    12.10.10 02:18 PM
    My finding the surname funny at first (note: years before Paul Henry made fun of it on TV) has nothing to do with loyalties, though yeah, I'm sure I have some natural arrogance - I think everybody does in some form or another. You too.

    And yes, absolutely, feel free to laugh at my name - I welcome it! In fact, I'd be impressed if you came up with any jokes that I hadn't heard before.
  • really?
    By
    really?
    12.10.10 11:57 AM
    So that presenter has resigned - good riddance.

    Interesting that Barnaby thinks it's ok to make fun of her surname - I can see where your loyalties lie. You should be careful - don't let your natural arrogance show in India, someone might take you to task for it one day, just like the West has been doing to Indian immigrants for a long time.

    The difference is that Indian immigrants are mostly polite, unassuming people who just want to get on with life and be part of society. They don't walk around thinking they are better than everybody else, nor do they go out of their way to make fun of the West.

    Well, if you think it's ok to laugh at other people's names then you won't mind if I make fun of yours then? It's all just a laugh, right? We all have to be able to take a joke, no?
  • Slag
    By
    Slag
    10.10.10 04:35 AM
    Ah whoops, forgot about that part. He's an idiot. Only really explicable if he was drunk.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    08.10.10 11:54 PM
    Reckon you're spot on with everything, Slag - I laughed the first few times I saw that surname, definitely - but one thing, he did say "And it's so appropriate because she's Indian", which I'm pretty sure is racist.

    For those who haven't seen the clip and want to, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR4a3v61o9E
  • Slag
    By
    Slag
    08.10.10 10:39 PM
    To weigh in on the Paul Henry thing, people also appear to like him because "he just says what everyone else is thinking," which in this case, is probably quite true.

    However, although I'm not a supporter od censorship or political correctness or any of that, it's more that he sniggered about it like a hyperactive 12-year-old, at length.

    Fair enough, the joke's there to be made, but make it once and get over it.

    To make fun of someone's name beacause it sounds funny in your language is NOT racist, and I don't believe Paul Henry has behaved in a racist manner in this particular instance, just incredibly juvenile.

    The Anand Satyanand not looking like a New Zealander thing - that's another matter entirely.

    I don't race cos racism is wrong.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    07.10.10 04:56 PM
    On that Paul Henry / TVNZ / Sheila Dikshit thing, yeah, as an NZer I'm not proud of that. That presenter is seen by quite a few people in NZ as kind of a hero of being more real and funny than most infotainment people on TV, but I'm not one of them! He can be kind of funny, but tends more to go for cheap laughs by acting ignorant all the time, which I find to be a real dumb-down.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    07.10.10 03:52 PM
    Well, we will have to disagree about equalization. I think it is perfectly possible to have a world where countries trade off their natural "competitive advantages" with each other for mutual gain, with respect and cooperation. In fact, if you study Economics, that is what the whole theory of international trade is based upon. Your view of the world, I believe, is unduly pessimistic.

    Your view on Sheila Dikshit is unbelievably ridiculous. You think that it is OK to ridicule somebody in a blatantly racist fashion on a national TV station in a supposedly developed country? I'm sorry but that is just silly. How can that possibly be acceptable? If you are even an Indian, that shows that you have no self respect at all. If you are not an Indian, that just shows that you are racist.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    07.10.10 02:21 PM
    Jeet,

    "Equalization" is tantamount to utopia of vedic age. Equalization is neither achievable nor desirable. I can explain with an analogy from a manufacturing system. You can't maximize your throughput if every resource in the network (men, machines, transportation) is of equal capacity. The maximization of usable output comes from sub-ordinating a lower capacity resource to make it "slightly" and not "drastically" more efficient and productive. This is a fundamental and irrefutable principle of any natural system, economic or industrial system.
    So when we talk of our desires to see India as super (economic) power then conditions aka leadership, competence, vision and good intent must exist to elevate it bit every day. No rocket science here. Strictly speaking if you are steadfast on this even for just 15 years India can rival any central European country and another 10 years.. You can surpass United States by measures of per capita incomes, healthcare, education and other such parameters. This is very much possible even with our current resources.

    As regards Sheila Dikshit being an object of fun, well I can say she was making unwelcome, unqualified and unwarranted rants on news channels every day. She didn’t exhibit any kind of leadership to salvage the situation. At the first opportunity she blamed it on rains and floods. If she was so concerned, why is Yamuna river is without any embankments till now? It’s a still a river where cattle and slum dweller bathe in. Where vegetable vendors wash they wares after coloring it in green and red, where entire scum of Delhi is mercilessly finds it way. It is in fact not a river for most part of the year. Rivers are in every major city, Some 5 times deeper than Yamuna. They have protected and channelized the river water. They use it for transportation all the time. This lady makes an excuse out of it. She thinks a crack in the wall and leak in the roof is a "normal" thing in everyone’s home. She talks things that a town planner, an architect, a civil engineer and project managers should talk. She was trying to show her patriotic fervor as if she is the only one whose reputation is at stake. When in deep shit.. You better keep your mouth shut, else such names are nothing more worth than mockery
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    06.10.10 11:02 PM
    Heres is what new Zealand thinks of Indians :
    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/nz-television-host-does-it-again-this-time-ridiculing-dikshit-20101006-16753.html

    My question to you negativity-spewing Indians is : If the rest of the world is already taking the pi** out of you and has no respect for you, why would you help them in that regard?

    Think about it - it'll come to you.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    06.10.10 12:42 PM
    Also, I would like to point out here that all I would ultimately hope for is an equalization of economic condtions across all countries, where free trade is encouraged and there is an atmosphere of mutual respect and good feeling. Since the East is behind in these terms (right now), it needs to catch up. It can only do that through developing self-respect and self-reliance.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    06.10.10 12:39 PM
    Their "wrath" will mean nothing shortly. Asia is on its way to becoming a self-sustaining economic area. Soon, the East will be like the West is today, except it won't need the west for anything. Then we sill see whose "wrath" becomes important.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    06.10.10 12:27 PM
    "Indian media should highlight the stupidities of the West also"

    Agree 100%

    but we will be inviting their wrath. You dont want to (afford to) loose rich man's blessings in disguise...would you.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    06.10.10 12:03 PM
    With all due respect - India needs some jingoism. Every other country in the world, particularly the western world, trumpets the good things about their countries and their successes, often at the expense of other countries. There is no reason why India should not do the same. Look at how the CWG were presented in the UK? The West has no problem in putting down the East - so why should the East always be acting like everything in the West is so great? In order to redress the balance, the Indian media should highlight the stupidities of the West also. Then people will start to understand that there is nothing special about the west. Just by a few twists of luck and violence and aggression have they come to be where they are.

    India needs to develop strong national pride and identity. You don't get that by looking outwards all the time.

    Anyway, the tide is turning and soon all these points will be moot. India is becoming a superpower and it will be very difficult to stop it now.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    06.10.10 12:11 AM
    Jeet, this is what I call jumping in jingoistic pyjamas. If someone is good, call him good...whether he is a black, a hispanic, a jew or Indian. I didnt criticize or stereotype anyone here. By half of job snatchers being Indians, I meant the probablity of job going to an Briton Vs Indian,,the odds are in favour of an Indian as the latter do have the merit to be desirous of that job. Go check it out for yourself.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    05.10.10 08:34 PM
    If you continue to respect people in the west more than your own people then that is your problem. Indians must learn to look inwards for answers not outside.

    Scandinavians may be aware of India and that is great for them but they still don't want you coming to their doorstep : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11367622

    Half of the UK is not Indian - what are you talking about? Indians - job snatchers and taking all the school places? That also is rubbish. You might as well call Mr Morris a job snatcher then!

    Great job of stereotyping all the world races in one paragraph - well done.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    05.10.10 07:32 PM
    Thanks Barnaby, Jeet for the re-assurance.

    I didn’t do much of an opinion gathering on this but largely it seems true that western media has its own agenda and even global new channels like BBC don’t care a damn about happenings of India. It would been nice if it were; to at least polarize some long nurtured beliefs and opinions about India and Indian people and its leaders that until now is more or less in bad taste.

    I respect a large section of people in the west esp. the erudite who expose and analyze the India phenomenon very well. I happened to read Hans Rosling of Karolinska Institute, trained doctor who analyses poverty trends in the world much better than our planning commission and that’s his almost full time job and he is particularly very hopeful of India being a superpower by 2070 with one of the highest living standards!! There are several such people in the United States, UK, Germany and elsewhere who understand India threadbare and did significant research on India centric issues and get popular local press esp. from the well educated ones.

    Most Scandinavians for example know a lot about India and share the concerns. I met many people on the streets of Denmark and Sweden who were all too aware of where and what India is. They make qualified comments and stay educated. One of them, a Danish student even knew that nehru was a rot and he should have stepped down in 50's. He was a freshman from university of copenhagen and I happened to pay for his beer. I mean he was just about anyone who you might dash into and he knew India well.

    Everybody in UK is keen on knowing what’s happening in India and they do know but they would pretend otherwise and usually keep quiet unless asked for. They of course will, with more than half their population esp. the "job snatchers" being Indians and the local schools running out of places for native Britons. For Americans the whole world outside America is fantasia land meant for tourism and terrorism. Australia and NZ not sure what they think in general other than the fact that lot of Indians make Taxi Drivers and waiters in Indian restaurants that outnumber local ones. I assume a totally different set of priorities occupy their mind. The “orient” are a happy lot with their food and culture though an American visa is something they will strive for. For the Sheikhs of Middle-East India is land of cheap construction workers, barbers, nurses and maid servants. For them an educated Indian is more or less a myth but a white-man whether qualified or not for a job can find a 6 figure dollar job in one of their oil corporations as an Expat executive. I just saw a few such adverts the other day. They openly despise Indians even if they know they are competent. When they mention “expat” in their job advertisement they mean only someone form the UK, Europe or United States are invited though 9 out of 10 applicants will from India will go for re-cycling without a look. Africans have their own set of basic problems to overcome and most are living in dark. They make news only to their colonial masters- French, Dutch, British and share a warm relationship even now.

    The sensationalization thing by Indian television channels is not all that bad thing either. I don’t particularly subscribe to it but yes the underlying news is not a lie. Its the presentation that appeals to a certain section of people and rightly so. With a state run channel like doordarshan that kept the people of India and also the world at large in dark for 50 non-stop years, these kind of news channels are a welcome relief. It pampers your ego, you are alert, you are warned, you feel cheated, you moan, you crib, you censure the wrong people, you know who is stealing your money, who is a bigot, you know what’s good and bad around you. The poor and illiterate wont much appreciate NDTV 24 X 7 which is slightly sort of "up market" and all English. The largely ignorant rural India at least now have some opinion, as opposed to none unlike in the days of the nehru, indira and rajiv when all opinions of Indian public only tantamount to deifying congress as only savior of the country.. Some sort of godfathers, employment givers, care takers. Now we are blessed and that’s why we are boldly talking of these issues. Remember doing such a thing in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Some congi sycophant would have goaled you for this "crime" and thats what Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi did. They butchered people who went against them.

    Thanks Barnaby for sharing the link. I will go through it. I am personally a great fan of Wikipedia and read analyses of some good bloggers...who call bat a bat and rat a rat.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    05.10.10 07:01 PM
    Well, the difference with the Indian media is that it lacks the blatant cynicism and superiority complex that the western media clearly displays. It may sensationalize everything but it does it equally, in fact it may even be more derogatory about India and Indians themselves (stupidly enough!).

    I would rather sensationalism than blatant negativity driven by arrogance and quite frankly, racism.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    05.10.10 05:48 PM
    Yeah, the Western media definitely lacks a well-balanced view, especially in the United States. I would actually say that India's mainstream media is worse - they sensationalise everything.

    The best way to protest poor or sensationalist reporting is to not pay any heed to it, and get your current events knowledge elsewhere. This is precisely why I don't own a TV! I highly recommend a site called http://globalvoicesonline.org/" rel="nofollow">Global Voices, which collects reports from volunteers all over the world.
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    05.10.10 04:53 PM
    I am not sure if it is religious or not but one thing is clear - the western media has their own agenda and in general, it is to paint the East in a poor light. There is still an element of a superiority complex there. I never saw one report on how good the metro is or the new airport terminal or the stadiums or footage of the busy developed business districts in Delhi. All you see is pictures of slums and dirt and poverty because this is what they want to show.

    My contention however is, that India should stop caring too much about the western media and focus inwards on how best to handle the fact that it is going to be a massive world power in a couple of decades. The kowtowing to the west needs to stop.

    India must nurture and develop its own self respect. It needs to see itself as not just as good as the west but better than the west. Then, and only then, once India has earned its own self respect, will it earn the respect of others.

    What I find interesting is that in India, everybody keeps up to date on what Hollywood is doing and what is happening in the UK or the US as well as what is happening domestically. Somehow if something happened in the west it must be something special. However, the reverse is not the case - you don't find westerners giving a hoot about what is happening in the East or trying to keep up with the latest Bollywood news. There is an asymmetry there which propounds the superiority complex of the west. But Indians take part in it so must take some of the blame for that.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    05.10.10 04:02 PM
    I don’t find it much surprising if BBC just makes “causal” mention of games village being not all that bad. That’s how the uber-rich like to acknowledge the achievements of noveau-rich or poor and that happens in any society even at a micro level

    However when it comes to India, it is intriguing to note that international media is pretty cold and sometimes portray a completely contrary picture to the west. In fact BBC or CNN aren’t all too concerned to report causalities and calamities that costs lives of the order of ‘000s in recent floods in Bihar but ethnic strifes in East Timor, Darfur, Basque, Croatia, Belgium and chechenya and the Hurricane Katrina took more air time than say our deadly issue of Kashmir or even Punjab earlier where some 10’s of 000’s of lives are lost in gunfire and other forms of brutality. The riots of Mumbai, the flash floods of Bihar and Leh, Train derailments, Pak sponsored terrorism; Chinese incursions etc. don’t even find a mention in BBC at all or may be in some corner of main page or a news ticker that is not worth the attention of the primary audience. Even if they report something, it would in a manner that just translates to India being the malefactor becasue countires around them are still poorer.

    Is this the larger religion thing? May be Christians are a bit closer to Muslims than Hindus or they just don’t want to even appreciate the issue at the first place?
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    05.10.10 02:59 PM
    Well, up until the games started they had been fairly negative, particularly about the athletes village and how it was dirty etc.

    Funny thing about that though is this report - the village doesn't look that bad does it? In fact, one might even dare to say it looks pretty damn good.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/matthewpinsent/2010/10/welcome_to_the_village.html
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    04.10.10 10:11 PM
    Yes! Reports from all quarters are positive so far. It's great to see.

    How are the Western media portraying the Games? I don't have a TV, so it's hard for me to keep up (though I kind of like it that way).
  • Jeet
    By
    Jeet
    04.10.10 09:58 PM
    Well, since nobody else has done it yet, let me be the first to congratulate India in its excellent opening ceremony. One of the most vibrant, dynamic and well designed ceremonies I have ever seen.

    Also interesting to note how positive and complimentary all the athletes have been about the village.

    Hmm, I wonder of the western media might be a touch biased in their portrayal of the Indian Games - I wonder why?
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    04.10.10 09:45 AM
    Loknath, I understand your frustrations. It's great to see someone show their dissatisfaction with a government they believe is doing a poor job. And please don't think my questions to you were anything other than hypothetical - I don't doubt that you've displayed charity in the past.

    On the issue of what to do with these Commonwealth Games, and what exactly they represent, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree... but of course I appreciate your taking the time and energy to comment.
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    03.10.10 09:22 PM
    Barnaby,

    While I admire your lectures on the importance of positive thinking and the "what have I done for my country" thing, let me tell you that I (and such) am not compulsively obsessed on such indulgence from the comforts of my my airconditioned desk. I also don’t think it is important to boast my "contributions" to the civil society, civic sense and being a nice host to the "tourists" that is almost a second nature to me. I clean shit on the roads almost every day in some way or other. I indulge in futile lecturing and bashing up people who violate traffic discipline. I have been a volunteer host to several people in one way or the other all my life. I bring dozen nuisances to the attention of my local municipal corporation almost every day. Need you know more, you are welcome. The biggest and the most thankless favor I do to this nation is to pay taxes that fund their elections to power despite absolutely zero social security of any kind. As regards NRI’s I think they are doing more than what this nation deserves in return for the atrocities being done on them. NRI’s repatriate their hard earned money to this nation and it contributes to nations treasury though no questions are expected on how and where is the money spent. I sincerely wish this inflow of money stops. Atleast that will put India to where it actually belongs.... bottom of the list in almost all rankings of living standards. Corruption in India is not about 10% cuts, it is 90% cuts, rest 10% being just an “unavoidable” expense that the Govt. must do to show something tangible to tourists like you.

    Coming to the point, we are not talking of "problems" of CWG here. We are talking of a disease, a malignant cancer that India has been a victim of..courtesy the chief architects of poverty and misrule aka jawaharlal and such nehrus who continue to behave like demigods and think they can get away with just about anything. The CWG episode was just the right platform to bring forth the international attention that we so badly sought. The minimum reaction to this bashing of CWG was a sorry face for the state of affairs from the congress scumbags but to matahiri sonia who is the proxy prime minister of this country, such everyday incidents are a reason of evil rejoice and dinner table entertainment. Instead of sacking people who were responsible, they deputed some more armchair civil servants to "look after" the progress at the nth hour. Were this CWG project been in hands of some private corporation, it would have been complete 6 months before time at less than half the cost with much superior standards. An unhygienic amount of money has been spent even by your dollar economy standards of execution. This CWG thing has cost us 6 billion dollars and that’s a big sum that a poor country like India can ill afford. This is when the basic stadiums etc existed. Were this money to be spent over 20 year period on primary education, India would have achieved 100% literacy by now long back.

    Let me repeat, no one is against the games. People are against the attitude of the lords in power..the attitude that they are above the law and that no one can dare quesiton them and that they are not obliged to answer even if asked. CWG was the right platform to vent our anger for attention of international media and I am very glad it more than succeeded in such objectives. I particularly cherished India being called a "filthy" nation, not because I am a Paki spying here but because that is do damn true. I wanted it to be an on the face matter of shame to the leadership and also to the public at large who are completely closed to the world outside India and cant even make a distinction between good and bad.

    One needs balls to admit that a serious disease exists so that proper cure can be thought of but for 60 years our leadership never admitted that there is a disease at the first place.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    03.10.10 03:08 PM
    Well, Loknath, your comment intrigues me. I am all too aware of the dynasty that has been in power for most of India's 60+ years of independence, and how it has managed to stay there. It certainly would be interesting if dissidents used the Games as an opportunity to protest the government on a mass scale, publicly.

    I completely agree that if something is obviously wrong, people should be allowed to speak out against it. However, I'd be much happier if that criticism was channelled squarely in the direction of its targets - with action to back it up. As it is, there's been a spray of negativity that has soaked everything concerning the Games, not just those responsible for the messes involved, AND most of this negativity has come from people sitting in comfortable chairs, effectively taking pot shots.

    So, protest and criticise if you must - and I agree that you must - but it is possible at the same time to contribute to a positive couple of weeks in Delhi. Let's say the Games village got shut down, and you were asked to house an athlete: would you accept, or you would you turn them away for being a manifestation of a corrupt and inefficient government? Same for what you say about the facilities stagnating after the Games - if you were a champion swimmer, and had an opportunity to use a world-class pool, would you turn that opportunity down?
  • Loknath
    By
    Loknath
    03.10.10 10:31 AM
    Barnaby,

    I respect your point of view but let me take this opportunity to tell you that 9 out of 10 Indians dont have any opinion of their own on almost about anything except about how to wipe their own ass and in some cases not even that. The negative press that you experience about CWG is not coming from everyone but from the remaining 1 person and its not without any reason or history. The gentlemen class in India, who salvaged whatever they could to make India that you see now have never liked the ruling political party aka congress for myriad reasons. So we derive a great sense of joy to see such failures on Govt's part and the consequent bad press within and outside the country. We feel even more happy if people like you read it and get to know India a little more.. Not just about the nice people on the street but people in power too. You would realize how blessed you folks are in being able to elect great leaders who completely transformed your erstwhile economies worse off than India then. In India the self-imposed leadership since independence has engineered one disaster after another and this is with full cognizance of the consequences that are in their interest.

    We dont despise the idea of Games but the fact that an absolutely corrupt dynastic govt. is trying to stage it and is willing to let go all charges of corruption. Let me also assure you post the games, all charges of corruption and governance would be conveniently forgotten. I can assure you within a month after the participants go back to their homes, the place will be strewn with cattle and human faeces again. Some new sponsored slums will crop up nearby who would vote congress to power again. Imagine buffalos wallowing in the swimming pool they built. I won’t be surprised..a little exaggeration but I am sure the water in the pool would be unfit within a week for any purpose because no one would bother to maintain it.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    02.10.10 12:29 PM
    Thanks everyone for the comments - it appears as though most folks view the Commonwealth Games as primarily a political endeavour, and thus judge its success on the political effect it has both in India and around the world. I personally am interested in an altogether different kind of success, more person-to-person and the overall impression given.

    Of course, faeces-strewn accommodation and collapsing footbridges inevitably draw a lot of attention to infrastructure/society and the powers that direct it, but there are other aspects of society which are NOT in the hands of officials that can leave a mark as well.

    I most definitely don't think India ever needed the CWG - for any reason, let alone giving foreigners warm fuzziesn. But it's here, it's happening, so... let's make the most of it, you know?
  • Adite
    By
    Adite
    29.09.10 07:28 PM
    Yes, even the negativity would have served a purpose if it helps bring in accountability and transparency in the way public money is utilized. Don't forget all the ranting by the media had a political impact - be it the Jessica Lal murder or the Ruchika Batra molestation.

    And you're right the day Delhi-wallas stop bribing the cop that 500 bucks when they jump a traffic light, that would be a step (no, change that, leap) in changing the way Delhi operates.

    As for tourists going back with a warm, fuzzy feeling about India, do we need the CWG games (at the cost of Rs 60,000 crores) for that?
  • Rajlakshmi
    By
    Rajlakshmi
    25.09.10 02:21 PM
    even after day robbery of tax payers money bu Kalmadi and likes ... and the constant falling roofs ... I do hope that CWG is a succes... just for the sake of India and its pride.
  • Sassy Fork
    By
    Sassy Fork
    25.09.10 12:25 PM
    Glad to see your point of view and learn from it.
    Yes,we all need to do our bit to show the world the wonderful things India has.
    India has some corrupt politicians as do other countries and corruption should be curbed at all costs.This event has underlined just that.
    This is not what our freedom fighters laid down their lives for.We also need to create an India that has progressed over all, not just in the corporate sector.
    Secondly,by educating people at the grassroot level,people's concepts of hygiene can and should be improved.
  • Soaham
    By
    Soaham
    25.09.10 12:08 PM
    I agree with your post and coincidentally, even I and my co-writer on my blog talked on similar grounds in a latest post ..

    http://cueforchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/five-random-thoughts-about-cwg.html
  • Nalini Hebbar
    By
    Nalini Hebbar
    25.09.10 07:38 AM
    fingers and toes crossed!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    22.09.10 05:49 PM
    In the west, a false ceiling is an architectural term to describe a structure that conceals the underside of the floor above.

    Clearly, in India it has a different meaning!
  • Vivek Dehejia
    By
    Vivek Dehejia
    22.09.10 05:32 PM
    Barnaby:

    I do hope that my pessimism is proved wrong, and the Games are a rip-roaring success in every sense. But at this point it's hard to be that optimistic.

    I liked your take on the issue, though, and I think you've given the best possible case for being in support.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    22.09.10 04:41 PM
    Hey Barnaby, As a person belonging to the other camp which wants to CWG to fail, I find this to be a very good take on the issue.

    P.S: As I type this, I just got a news alert pop up that some false ceiling collapsed somewhere in the wrestling arena! I just can't help but be pessimistic!

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