Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010

Indian government set itself a very high goal of getting the 2010 common wealth games in India. At the time it was said that necessary efforts would be made to ensure that the games would go smoothly. While a lot of effort has been put into placing proper infrastructure in the place including construction of places where the sports would actually be played, hotels etc for all the visitors to stay at and other such physical work; there is still a lot of ground to be covered before actually relaxing with regards to quality and quantity of the work. Admittedly Delhi has benefitted a lot from the commonwealth preparation with many flyovers and others such infrastructure developments taking place. Even DMRC is expediting their work to complete a major portion of the Delhi metro before the games. The entire NCR has been set on a beautification drive including renovation of the Victorian heritage, revamping business areas like Connaught Place etc, paving roads, street lightings, flyovers, underpasses and what not. But are these efforts enough? Will the work be done by the time games start? Repeatedly, Sheila Dixit and Suresh Kalmadi keep on assuring people that the work will be completed on time, but did they ever stop and think as to why people are needing a reassurance from them? Nobody asks DMRC about assurances.




Even amidst all the work, I feel that several softer aspects have been forgotten, or at least been put on the back burner. I have listed some of the issues that come to my mind: 


Teaching Delhi manners – With nearly six months to go before the games start in the capital of the country, I don’t see enough effort on the part of the government to inculcate a sense of Mannerisms to dilliwallahs. And I am not even talking about “Atithi Devo Bhav” or being proud about the games being held in India and all. I am talking about people learning basic manners like driving in lanes, not spitting beetle juice, not peeing in the open, charging proper fare for the ride etc. To my mind, six months is not enough time to teach something of this magnitude to so many people especially when the habits have been developed over such a long period. After all, a flyover with people peeing on the footpaths and no space to drive would be same as a pot-hole ridden drive for all it matters. 


Making Delhi safe for women – This topic has been molested so often in the media and yet the government chooses to turn blind eye towards the case. If India as to host any kind of foreign games, awareness has to be generated among the people as to the behaviour expected of them. Is it so difficult for people to look at a firang and not leer at her? I am sure that most of the people are not animals... Hence these urges can be suppressed, cant they? If the people can not get acclimitised to Indian women roaming in the streets, how will they take to the durations of foreigner women on the streets? Or perhaps the foreigner women would be better off not coming to the country at all. 


Making Delhi foreigner friendly – You see a (white?) foreigner in the middle of the street and it more than likely that you will also notice at least a dozen people gawking at them as if they are some alien life forms who have just materialised out of previously unknown dimension, creating a rift in the time-space continuum. These poor entities are then bound to be over charged and gawked upon at every nook and corner. No to mention the judgemental stares and the numerous comments in Hindi that they will have to suffer through. Imagine what impression would they then carry home. And then people grumble after looking at “Slumdog Millionaire”. 


Disaster management – when would the proper disaster management plans be made for the games? How would so many people be managed? What about policing? How would the government ensure that all the people do not fall prey to some bombing by terrorists? What would they do if the people do fall victim to it? What about the hospitalizations and development of other such medical facilities? When would all this be communicated to the country and more importantly what about the dry runs for the same?

Of course at the end of this all, an important questions that I keep on asking myself is that was it really worth all the tax payers money to host these games at this point, especially since India is comparatively lacking in resources for it daily operations. Was it worth spending crores of rupees in these games and the beautification drive of a single city especially when the money could have been put to better use by providing employment opportunities to the millions suffering from hunger each day?


PS: All this rambling because driving that I am close to 50 kilometers a day, I find the overall quality of road, driving etc not very well developed (still!) despite the fact that we are only about six months away from the commonwealth games.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous4/01/2010

    fuck you ashish. you not got balls to write good about delhi

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  2. Dear Anony

    Your comment tells me that you dont know me at all... I like Delhi to the core of my being... but there are some problems with it and I just wanted to bring it out. Dont you go to a doctor when something is wrong with your body... That doesnt mean that you hate yourself.

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  3. A nice thought-provoking post. The effect of which you can see in the first comment!

    I am currently doing my studies in China & it was a visual treat, their preparations for the Olympics. China, a nation where 90% can't communicate properly in english, they brought Beijing people to under one roof and they were taught english & how to behave to people. Now as an effect of it, each & every taxi driver knows english.

    Its not about English here, i know, its how efforts are to be made, when a event of this magnitude comes to our shores.

    Hope the Commonwealth Games goes on well & bring about some pride to the nation, as a justification to all those multi-crore scandals & spendings

    Nice post Aashish!

    A Journey to the Unknown Spaces

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  4. @nkr: First off, Thanx for your comments and you are welcome to explore more of my wandering thoughts! There is another similar post at http://aashishsood.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-games-for-commonwealth-games.html... You might appreciate that!

    Secondly, I agree that any event of this magnitude requires preparations which go way beyond just physical infrastructure... and that is something which I find to be sorely lacking in this case. China, I would not like to discuss in the same breath as India because the way the things are done over there are a lot different than from the way they are done here. But yes, I commend for the magnificent work that they have done over there and would have loved that similar kind of work done here as well...

    Thirdly, as you rightly pointed out... the first comment says a lot things because people would rather turn a blind eye instead of objectively evaluating such things.

    Thanks again for the comment!

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  5. Ashish,problem identification was good. Yes, security issues are of grave concern, with so many athletes pulling out, games may turn out to be a dampener because of this.

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  6. Well-written..yes, there are issues with the city of Delhi but I must admit I had an issue with the way you wrote the piece..It was a very bourgeois approach so the tone was a little off for me. But otherwise, yes, there is even with a few weeks left for CWG a lot to be done...and it was an unnecessary burden that the Government took up at the taxpayer's expense..

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  7. @Harimohan: Welcome to my world and feel free to explore more of my Wandering Thoughts!

    I couldn't agree with you more... though, personally speaking; I wish for India to succeed at these games; get some medals for a change and then take the culprits to trial!

    @Minstrel: Welcome to my world and feel free to explore more of my Wandering Thoughts

    Well it could be bourgeois, but then thats what an average person, living in Delhi and facing the problems of traffic and dug up roads feel; especially now after the "Blue Lane"... add to it the fact that an average Delhite has the traffic sense of a mad bull, what with the courtesy of M/S DLF having made the jat-boys in NCR region rich, without having to work for it... Result: clogged roads and busted up cars :D

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