Commonwealth Games 2010 – Indian Pride and Some Home Truths

So, CWG begins today, right now as I write it.

Today we welcome it with optimism and jubilant spirit with hope it is successful. We had to bridge sea waves of emotions of outrage, disappointment and anger to arrive at this placid, equable point of view.

What were we angry at? Because the games WERE mismanaged by the organisers, hated not only at home, but also worldwide. This made some of the most ‘patriot’ of us to quickly to run and defend it. After all, how can we let our country put down by others. Mind you, we are an emerging Superpower, just like China that was praised for wonderful organisation.

But, I hate to break it to you, supporting CWG now that games have begun is one thing but nothing could have been more misguided than to rake in patriotism to jump to defend it few days back. For a millisecond forget what media, essentially foreign media, says. Let’s take a hard look at facts at home – consider this a sum up of all that you read past few days.

First we bribe to get the CWG contract. Apparently, we weren’t alone and Canada (Hamilton) also offered it – it is called competitive bidding. After paying such hefty bribes, we do not even execute it properly.

Then, the cost blows up – 70, 000 crores. CWG federation was begging for money from BCCI et al. Then came the delays. Incomplete stadiums even as D-day was close, the security weren’t handed over the venues even a month back! How could then security drills happen as stadiums were still swarming with labourers who were working? Tell me is it not our responsibility to go an extra mile for security when world over is already wary of rampant terrorism on our land. We have more reasons to go out way to prove them wrong then be complacent.

Here’s something that has been less talked about – as per law, no substations can be built in the basement of any construction. Remember it was the transformer in basement of Uphaar theatre that had caused fire that killed 59 people in 1997. Read the lame story of how the corrupt officials worked to skirt the rule. That they are willing to take risks with our safety and the safety of visiting athletes is NOT a joke – certainly not forgivable.

What do we have to show for 70k crores that we spent – Toilet papers that were bought for 4k each?, foot bridge that fell injuring at least 27, ceilings that caved, an Indian boxer’s bed that broke, a not-so-great theme song that cost 5 crores and snakes that showed up hither and thither. Those pictures of shame – animal foot prints on beds, filth et al have been seen by everyone – I am not posting them here again. You have it dozen times by now.

Fact is all the above bad things were truth. They deserved to be booed. We, at home, booed. Why blame media and foreigners. Instead I would say it was our moment of shame when we forced our talented Badminton player Saina Nehwal to apologise for speaking the truth about CWG.

So, putting up few albums of few nicely done up stadiums and accommodations are not enough to redeem. Even this infrastructure didn’t exist, we had no right to hold the games in the first place. I am not going out of way to play the outraged patriot by singing CWG praises. BECAUSE IT IS JUST NOT ENOUGH. The Games must go well now – and I think we CAN. Scratch the layer of unscrupulous politicians and bureaucrats, we have amazing countrymen and athletes and other unsung foot soldiers. We have to be hospitable and live upto our ‘Athithi Devo Bhav’ principles.

So, have our questions about where did the 70k crores go, have died? Should we bury them? No, we deserve to know the answers. But later, after the games. And just so we don’t forget, I will list them all here for once:

  1. What took Mani Shankar Aiyar so long to wake up? We had seven long years. Why didn’t he take charge of it rather than having his candid chuckles at Kalmadi’s expense? Sour grapes, was it, Mr. Aiyar? Also, what about, Mrs. Dixit?
  2. I am told repeatedly that it was Rajiv Gandhi who took charge of Asian games and that infrastructure still exists. (Which is we can barely say for certain for CWG ones.) Why didn’t Rahul Gandhi and his party of youth step up? If Riding the Elephant blog is to be believed, when Rahul wasn’t carrying out his antics in UP, he was vacationing abroad.
  3. Most ridiculed man of the times, Suresh Kalmadi, has repeatedly won elections from Pune. That just goes to show our intelligence and integrity. Mr Kalmadi has been heading the athletics federation and the Indian Olympic association for 20 years and 14 years respectively. Do you wonder why state of sports has been like this? Can we expect some action from government and public alike now that things are out in open?
  4. Why blame only Kalmadi – loads of others have licked the pie. They all need to be brought to book. I fear we just might forget once games are over.
  5. India is not an emerging power only because of government. Private sector has lot to contribute to it. Like million others, I work in private sector. I can tell you, the expectation is to deliver a Zero D, that zero defect deliverable each time. And we do. 99.99 per cent times. If I have made many glaring errors or missed deadlines, no one cares to remember that I had actually done something good on the project. Zero Defect Deliverable. That concept was just lost to CWG organisers. They did tarnish our image – and are accountable to us for just the same
  6. What’s worse – how our shamelessly leaders reacted? M. S. Gill – It’s like a wedding. Everything will fall in place in the end. Lalit Bhanot – Western standards of cleanliness is better than ours. Kalmadi – the man’s optimism knows no bounds.
  7. That army can build a footbridge in 4 days flat also shows how negligent we have been. A task doable in 4 days wasn’t carried out well even in 7 years!

I agree sometimes the propaganda against CWG has been undeserved. Some of the other countries were snob and there was an evident colonial hangover. But, that also is not new. Past CWG hosts have also faced the flak, though none reported situations as bad as ours. But we also need to stop behaving like victims every time a foreigner – Danny Boyle, Alex Perry, Joel Stein – pokes at us, deservedly or undeservedly. We need to show our excellence and resilience through actions. We need to do good work to prove them wrong.

Some of us have been complaining our own media doesn’t show the good side; well, there weren’t too many sometime back. But, here’s what media has reported – some foreign delegates were happy and some were so supportive that said they would happily clean a toilet, if required.

That said, games are happening, from what I hear now on Twitter about the ongoing opening ceremony, people are proud of the opening. Indians are proud. Amen!

I hope rest of the Games go well too and everyone is safe and happy. For next 12 days, when talking of CWG, I will only talk about sports and athletes who are taking part. So far we only talked of athletes who pulled out and whose rooms were bad. Just recently we have graduated to important pieces as why athletes would abstain from sex to give their best to the games.

But now we stop canoodling and focus on athletes, their performances. We focus on sports. Sportsmanship. Hospitality. Delhi has spirit, it is a lovely city that is so unnecessarily maligned even by its countrymen. I am sure it will be a generous host.

Here’s a quiet toast for CWG.

And Shera, please keep the torch high – citius, altius, fortius.

P.S: 12 days later, do NOT forget to ask our questions to our leaders and organisers. We can’t be lallu enough to let them get away with it again.

38 Responses to “Commonwealth Games 2010 – Indian Pride and Some Home Truths”

  1. 1 Ron Sanyal October 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Nice article! Multitasking? Why no Cricket @CWG event? VIVA INDIA!

  2. 4 Soan October 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Here’s my problem. CWG, essentially, represent Queen’s world. Why on earth we are even part of it?
    Then, when we don’t balk at paying bribe to nearest cop, why blame Kalmadi. He’s doing what’s expected of him. Take bribes and ya, do the job.
    In a country, where majority of people cannot afford basic amenities like food, clothes and education, we went ahead and spent 70 crores on decorating a city.. Priorities of a super power..
    And no, I don’t feel any pride of watching these games or that damned baton. I’m thinking of my money and I want it back.

    • 5 Poonam Sharma October 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Yes, that very question I asked the commentator above – why we have CWG in first place.

      I agree each work – I am just holding it back for 12 days. And yes we all steal – we bribe for small favours, we steal on taxes, some of us are not even beneath stealing glasses from bars and cutlery from restaurants. #truestory So, no wonder out politicians, our representatives are also chors. But they do it in full view at mammoth scale and we let them get away – again and again. I do not want this to happen this time. Just 12 days of quiet. i remembered writing about it 3 years back, but no one cared then. At least we should.

  3. 6 Dr roshan October 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Glad to see a really good indepth article focussing on the ills of what constituted the CWG.. as I write, the opening ceremony has gone on splendidly and soon ppl will start the reverse – saying we were simply bashing the OC and Kalmadi et al… all these ‘sins’ documented here will slowly fade into the background.. be it the odd snake, the occasional broken bed and the pocket money of 70000 crores…

    • 7 Poonam Sharma October 4, 2010 at 12:22 am

      Thanks, Roshan. Glad we concur. I fervently hope we are not forgetful this time. I missed watching opening ceremony, from the looks of it, apparently it was awesome. Great. May we use actions as these to show our pride rather than act as victims of outrage.

  4. 8 nikhilspoliticalblog October 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    The openening ceremony is made to entertain indians only. The rahman song isn’t upto international standards. Did they really need rahman to make a mediocre tune like that? Problem is rahman’s got a lot of money now and he isn’t as good as before. Money does that to everybody, its natural I guess.

  5. 9 Smitha October 4, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Could not agree more. Whether we need the CWG or not, is another question, but having taken up the commitment, we should have done a far, far , better job at it.

    However, as you say, lets hope that CWG 2010 is a real success, and is all about the athletes and sports and NOT about the organizers. BUT as soon as the 12 days are done, we have to ensure that everyone is pulled up and the right questions asked. I just hope that we don’t forget about the mess as soon as the games are over.

  6. 10 Indian Homemaker October 4, 2010 at 5:59 am

    I do hope we remember to question them once the games are over…
    Why we have ‘Commonwealth Games’ at all, bothers me too.

    • 11 liju philip October 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      why do we go to UK, USA, Aus etc to study, work, holiday etc?

      The commonwealth games is a celebration of all the countries that are bound by a single thread…the UK

  7. 12 liju philip October 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Ignore the naysayers. Enjoy the games.

    Kuch toh log kahenge….logon ka kaam hai kehnaa 😉

  8. 13 Xylene October 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Enjoy the games for now. But we do have ask Mr Kalmadi to explain the 70,000 Crores that was spent on the event.

  9. 14 Radha October 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Agree with you on all points.
    After watching the opening ceremony yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking, if they can execute events so perfectly, why do they try to botch them up in the first place? And like you, I fear that once the games are over, they all will bask in the appreciation and celebrate and completely forget that someone somewhere stashed up a lot of money that does not belong to him.
    I hope the games do very well. And I hope someone figures out where all our money went.

  10. 15 Hypermom October 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    You’ve documented really valid points. I too don’t understand why do we have this need to ‘showcase’ our country at such a huge expense. Leave alone hosting such events, even when it come to participating in them, we end up spending more on the bureaucrats than the sports persons and come back empty-handed. Accountability does not exist

  11. 16 B K CHOWLA October 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    There is no doubt that the games will be held and Indians will ensure it’s success.
    We are all so used to corruption that it no longer is an issue we are angered about.How many of us really believe that Kalmadi was in all this alone.?Decoits never operate alone–they have a leader and the loot is shared by them.
    Finally, Kalmadi and Dixit just might get recommended for Padma awards.

  12. 18 Sultan BHAI ! October 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I have been an optimistic sucker always … hoping the games will be incident free… I must say this though, the media always has only highlighted the negatives while preparing…

    bout corruption ?? !! Hell… frankly Poonam, which work in our country happens without corruption when the Govt is involved ?? huh ?? Seriously answer this to yourself… Does it actually even surprise us ??? We are very much at ease if this 70k crore would have been used misappropriately just that it should not have come out in the open like this… !!!

    we just washed dirty linen in public… nothing else… No one really cares… thats the state of the country… !

    Infact it happens in almost all other games staged abroad by various people, just a lot of discreetness..

    Anways… at the end, I think the games are going to be a success… the games reflected India… its confusions, chaos and finally every thing will fall in place !

    and now the money has been, well one word for it… BURP !!!

  13. 19 nikhil kapoor October 5, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Prince Charles representing the Queen of England opens the CWG well it’s a shame for us our freedom fighters bhagat singh, rajguru,subash Chandra bose , lala lajpat rai etc gave up their lives to push these britishers out from country & what are we doing? It’s not a matter of proud & reason given by govt is shameful. I Want to share something with you if you go through TRANSFER OF POWER AGREEMENT 1947 which states:-Both the Indian and Pakistan Dominions would be members of the British Commonwealth and was allowed to leave whenever they pleased.

    After freedom why havn’t we excercised it yet?in India, since the entry of globalisation, the average per capita consumption of food grain has actually gone down from 177 kg per person to 155 kg per person: which is the same as the hunger levels seen during famine in times of the British Raj. And Studies have shown a long-term tendency towards declining per capita calorie consumption, especially in rural India -– that is, Indians are growing hungrier year after year. Deaths by hunger are an all-too common phenomenon which Indian rulers are united in denying.

    And these millions owe their hunger directly to the rural job losses, income decline, land grab, slashed government expenditure on rural development, slashed PDS and increased grain exports -– all of which are policies aggressively promoted by the US-backed IMF-World Bank, and faithfully forced on Indian people by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his predecessors.

    Over 16,600 farmers commit suicides in 2007 more than half of those who committed suicides were between 20 & 45.

    Land acquisition on a massive scale is taking so that more & more SEZs can be set up in country. it is taking place mainly in agricultural lands & the central & state governments are acquiring the lands from farmer. Across india the total amount of land , which will be acquired , is around 1,50,000 hectares and this land is capable of producing around 1 million tons of agricultural produce. it is estimated more than 10,00,000 people who are dependent upon these lands will be evicted from their lands it is estimated that farming families will have to face loss of around RS 212 crores each year in total income.


    The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 is a legal Act in India which allows the Government of India to acquire any land in the country. Regulation of the land acquisition act was first enacted by the British government in the year 1824. Section 17 of the Act confers special powers with the concerned authority wherein passing of award may be dispensed with and yet permits to take possession of the land notified for acquisition. Further holding of enquiry can also be waived, as envisaged under section 5 A of the Act.

    Those blood sucking britishers made this law so that they acquire any land they want & we Indians can do nothing about it . does that rings a bell? Yes you guessed it right this law still exist in india & now instead of goras our own politicians are using this against us.

    The vision of our freedom fighters was to abolish all these laws & system which exploits indian( rest of the laws I will discuss later & yes each and every law laid by brits still exist & Indian govt follows it).

    • 20 poonam gupta October 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      thanks nikhil–thumbs up for exercising your freedom of speech. at least u are usingthat is allowed to all of us ,who are basking in the glory of these games and watching the medal come up with other such crap laws that still exist.

    • 21 nikhil kapoor October 14, 2010 at 12:54 am

      thanks poonam gupta for your appreciation it is sad that even after reading articles my country men donot give a positive response even worse they Criticise it.Even after 63 years of independance the constitution of Free India contains 35,734 Acts which were enacted in the British rule for exploitation of Indians

  14. 22 Pooja Gupta October 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Amazing article.Very well written.
    Completely agree with your viewpoint.
    I live in Delhi and can easily view the not so great work which CWG OC has put up.

  15. 23 Renu October 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I fear we just might forget once games are over…agree…

    I am not able to feel the euphoria at all as I cant forget the corruption, just hope that guilty are punished.

  16. 24 Kiran October 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Agreed with all your concerns Poonam. Let’s hope that the Govt would take actions by conducting an investigation after the CWG. I doubt there would be any, but it doesn’t hurt to have great hopes for the country we love 🙂 Corruption is the biggest problem and nothing fruitful or concrete has been done to suppress this issue. Why Rahman was even paid hefty for the crappiest theme song is beyond my understanding!!!! So outrageous!!!! If you are a noble citizen, do it for free at least.

  17. 26 praneshachar October 10, 2010 at 7:58 am

    very detailed analysis of the problems related to CWG. In fact no media has done this in my opinion. they only go on foucssing dogs falls dirt repeatedly and wants their TRP to go up. but why so much mess created why cant we do this efficiently dont we have people who can do this? we have got but our system does not want them, because they do their work in right way earnestly and this is not tolerable. when army completed the bridge in 4 days with such perfect precision same Q as you have raised passed thro my mind why we take such risks. one is image of country other is risk of athlets, officials, people at large. In such cases govt should have been more concerned and take care to do it right
    very good post poonam hats off and three cheers to you

  18. 27 poonam gupta October 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    thumbs up for exercising your freedom of speech. at least u are usingthat is allowed to all of us ,who are basking in the glory of these games and watching the medal come up with other such crap laws that still exist.

  19. 28 Sahil M Parsekar October 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    don’ u thnk its a bit much!!!!
    CWG was given to india to host as per a voting system. if u think u cud hav done much better than u cud stand up and without blamin any1 else do better dan dese guys. A gov. is a system in which the citizens are also a part of.
    may b i’m a 9th standard student ,so i may not b knowing much; but i’m sure its to blame all india for it.
    well the CWG opening ceremony hav put foreign media to shut their mouth. n i think even yours…..if not den please do it

  20. 29 SS October 16, 2010 at 3:31 am

    India should have gracefully accepted the criticisms from our “atithis”. But at the same time, we should have made it clear that we are the ones in charge here, not they. India is the only world power in the Commonwealth now and we should have used the games to make it clear. India should have refused to give any special importance to the British at the ceremony and showcased India as the true head and arbiter of the Commonwealth.

    We should be nice hosts, but if the guests are not polite, they can get lost in whatever backward village in England or Australia or NZ they have come from.

  21. 30 Mukta October 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Wow.. am so glad to find some company… I found it difficult to believe when most of us wanted a good name for India in the international media… but couldn’t and wouldn’t ask tough Qs to the Govt and the OC… Also, we are an emotional people who feel going against CWG would amount to being non patriotic and shameful… this logic just beats me! Rather, as Indians who are bothered about poverty, hunger, illiteracy.. we must demand an enquiry into the colossal corruption and punishment for the guilty.

    My thoughts on the CWG here:

    • 31 Poonam Sharma October 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Mukta.

      Apologies for delay in response.I visited your blogpost same day and also revisited Damini. I had intended to tweet your link and write to you – and suddenly I forgot the existence of my blog. 😦 I am glad that there are more people who think about the issue when CWG is fast becoming an obsolete and boring subject for most. I guess a follow-up post is due, what say?

  22. 32 praneshachar October 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    why no post on closing ceremony and also on the war of words going on between Sheila Dixit and Kalmadi
    all the same no difference when it comes to vitamin M Money

  23. 33 praneshachar October 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    see the link
    ponder over the this and comment is why CWG??

    • 34 Poonam Sharma October 25, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks for the heads up, Praneshachar. I do not have TV – did not watch closing ceremony. But I consciously disagree with he thoughts expressed in the link. Consciously because I do acknowledge that there is a point to question CWG but I love them because of the opportunity they provide to our athlete. Any encourage to non-cricket sports is utmost welcome. Our athletes work hard to debut in these games, and just for that, I am thankful to have these games.

  24. 35 Gauri Gharpure October 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Poonam,

    very nicely written.. the fancy budget was the first thing to stump me.

    Glad to find your blog… am blogrolling you…

    • 36 Poonam Sharma October 25, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks, Gauri, for blogrolling. I have just recently found your blog – good to learn about all things gujrati and cooking and more. I will update my blogroll as well, have been lazy. 😦

  25. 37 praneshachar October 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Poonam I agree with you about getting chances for our sports persons to ehibit their talents, yes for them this forums are only places to win medals. unlike china which is taking leaps and bounds in sports and win lots and lots in Olyimpcs. BUt look at the way our sports authorities and officials politicians behave they all worried about their own visits how to take their kith and kin who will sponsor them etc. etc., no one is really interested in sports persons, they are happy to go at govt cost njoy and come. Other avenues of sports like Asian Games, Saarch Games etc., etc., can be seen and some more not linked to queens rule may be introduced even today why we should invite prince from England always this still shows our agreeing to be the part of old days, all those who were ruled should ponder over this and do something. This is my strong personal thinking as this reminds us of our slavery to soverign queen which we should erase from our minds for ever. else generation to come will remember this. its not good in my opinion . please share your views other also can add their views. see comments of mine dt 25th oct. 2010 and reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Subscribe to Visceral Observations

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thank you, Chirag!

This header has been created by Chirag.

A Torch Against Terrorists



I also write at:

Blog Archives

Read by Category

World AIDS Day 2008

Support World AIDS Day
The Hunger Site
Creative Commons License
Visceral Observations is written by Poonam Sharma. It is licensed to her under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
Directory of General Blogs
October 2010

%d bloggers like this: