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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.