The CWG games have suddenly become an example of India's execution ability and efficiency and everyone is going all out to demonstrate what a great job we have done? Wow, what happened??
Being patriotic is one matter, being willful another. All the celebrities, politicians, and regular citizens calling upon us to 'demonstrate the love for our country' by being positive about the games are perhaps forgetting two things –
1) Being in denial is almost always a strategy for failure
2) Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat their mistakes
By simply hoping that the CWG is a bright example of India's capabilities we cannot wish away the corruption, arrogance, sheer disdain, and lack of basic human values and ethics of some of our politicians and bureaucrats. Rather than live another lie for the next several decades, we need to use the CWG as an opportunity to learn and mold our laws, systems, and governance towards a better future.
Sure, right now we need to focus and complete the job at hand – whatever it takes. But by no means should we stifle public debate because we do not wish to embarrass ourselves in front of the world; by no means should we silence voices because we wish to show the world a positive image; by no means should media be ‘managed’ through politicians. An independent media, discourse and debate are the hallmarks of a healthy democracy and in the end nations and people are judged by what they stood for and not merely the show they put up.
Our face to the world needs to reflect trust, resilience, strength, commitment & integrity not delusion, disdain & corruption. If we truly wish to build a lasting nation we first need to build a lasting idea – an idea of unified values and ethics around which a nation can then be built. But a lasting idea requires conviction, commitment and courage.
Being the eternal optimist though, I am hoping that our government will take action as soon as the games are over. From my limited view, here is a 4-point plan that can change the perception of the CWG fiasco from ‘the result of an incurable corrupt nation’ to that of a ‘blip in the journey towards becoming a developed country’ –
1) Form an autonomous body comprising of the top intelligence officials in the country reporting directly to the Prime Minister's Office with the mandate to complete the investigation into the CWG Mismanagement within 60 days.
2) Take the culprits to task without delay. Whether it is Sheila Dixit, Suresh Kalmadi, Gill, Reddy or all of them, they need to be punished and made an example of. We cannot continue to tell our kids that ineptitude and corruption are acceptable.
3) Kick-off the process of separating Sports and Politics with an aggressive timeline. Sports is a great unifying catalyst, especially in a country characterized by youth and a multitude of castes, communities, and religions. All our major issues – communal disharmony, social & economic inequality, crime, lack of education – can be addressed to some degree through a far-sighted sports development plan. If visionaries like Mandela can try and propel an inter-racial country coming out of apartheid on the back of sports, surely a nation which has been free for over 60 years now can be galvanized around the same. Well, Mr. PM, the buck stops with you and if you don't see the power of sports find somebody who does, and empower him just like you did for Aadhaar, India's Unique Identity Program under Nandan Nilekani.
4) Put in place a body of young sports professionals who can contribute to a framework that sets out .guidelines on bidding for global events and subsequently managing them. Charge this body with responsibility and accountability to administer the same and create a single window clearance system under them for managing large sporting events which are in the national interest.
Of course, the above is simply a starting point and not a comprehensive plan. I make no claim to having all the answers, but like the rest of us, I can tell when something stinks.
Make no mistake, I love my country and nothing would give me more happiness than to see us come out of the current mess with our heads held high. However, simply manufacturing the perception that ‘all is well’ is not something my spirit can accept. Spare me the hyperbole, deceit and lies and let’s focus instead on our ability, commitment and passion to be the best in the world.
P:S – Also, let's please stop with the conspiracy theories immediately. If it isn's Pakistan, it is the western imperialists, western media and the CIA that have conspired to bring down the games?? Incredible as it sounds this is what Kalmadi alluded to.
I have spent 10 years of my life in the west and I can emphaitically say that westerners love the idea of India, especially a progressive India.
5 thoughts on “CWG – Another Lost Lesson?”
Very thoughtful assessment of our predicament, but is the media the right flagbearer for the evolution of our republic? and is the price of change, being forced to wash our dirty laundry in full public view.
50 years ago it was the collective consciousness of our Indian people that drove change, and media was used to spread the message. Today the media has become the custodian of the message. It’s a slippery slope … since their allegiance is unquestionably to India, but success is driven by TRPs.
Very well written. All the Indians have this on their minds but you have penned it down, Anupam.
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