LESSONS LEARNT FROM COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2010

Hosting the Commonwealth Games was supposed to be a signal to the world that India had, to use a clichéd term, come of age. An event to demonstrate India’s rising clout and maturity; an event way less brutal that the whipping that some African tribals follow to signify coming-of-age. Well, in some ways, this coming-of-age ritual has brought similar injuries to India’s self-esteem and pride. The rampant corruption highlighted rather gleefully by western media has brought Indian dreams crashing down to earth and has disappointed its myriad citizens. Its citizens hoped for a show equaling in grandeur the Beijing Olympics and perhaps drew several parallels between the two sporting events held in the two rising countries. The Beijing Olympics was however a shining success, with the only blotch being the war between Russia and Georgia taking away some of the attention from it. However, the Commonwealth Games did not attain that measure of success; though it was not a failure by any means. There is an old Latin proverb. “Exita acta probat”. Its English translation means, “The end determines the act”. In that way, the Commonwealth Games was quite successful in anyone’s eyes.

A slew of accusations and allegations of corruption directed at the head of the CWG Organizing Committee Chairman, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, amongst others, have caused many eyebrows to go up. Eyebrows are not the only facial hair to go up. Hairraising stories of corruption are being unraveled even as we speak. The ghost of CWG corruption scams will haunt the dreams of those involved; or so it is hoped. However, that can and probably will be quite tricky. The ‘scamsters’ are probably adept in hiding their tracks. And have done so with much aplomb in the intervening time. However, they may still be caught by vigilant officials.

A wise man once said, “Prevention is better than cure”. Well, it’s not for nothing that the aforementioned man was called wise. This quote has a lot of merit, even though most do not seem to follow it, or even think about it. So instead of finding ourselves in all

that muck, we should have done every thing we could to avoid falling into it. One of the sad, unavoidable, regrettable truths of Indian polity is the heavy magnitude of corruption that literally haunts and dogs our lives. Corruption has only one cure. Only one. Fatal diseases usually are tough to cure, you see. Well, this cure is a twelve–letter word. Transparency. A transparent organization will never become corrupt. Every movement will be scrutinized by the public and in a country like India, with so many people calling themselves as India’s public, any discrepancy or incongruity will surely and swiftly be noticed and eliminated. Sheer numbers you see.

We have to realize that we have to make all organizations especially pertaining to the government, transparency will have to be present, otherwise our ‘netas’ and ‘babus’ will invariably go astray. Greed is quite a powerful deterrent you see. A commission will also have to be set up in order to oversee whether corruption is taking place in each organization. Perhaps, a branch of that organization itself will be ideal. Also, steps will have to be taken to ensure that this branch itself does not become corrupt with time; otherwise we just will have added another organization that can become corrupt! Rotten apples will have to be somewhat ruthlessly cut and thrown away. We all know that one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel. In this age of many rotten apples, we should take care that the good ones do not get spoilt too. Sounds like the new Mission Impossible film, right?

One of the major questions that remain unanswered is why India opted to host the Commonwealth Games when there a plethora of people all over the country who lack for even the basic necessities of food, water, clothing and housing. It should be the foremost priority of the Indian Government to cater to the needs of these people rather than try to increase India’s pride by hosting such large events. That can come later, because it is not a necessity. In the end India should look more for the welfare of its people.

One very noticeable thing in the organization of the Commonwealth Games 2010 was that the organizers kept every thing to the end. Just fifty days before the starting

ceremony of the games, the Games village and other infrastructure was in tatters. The media was wondering aloud, justifiably, whether the Games would be held at all. It was a close-run thing, but in the end, the Commonwealth Games, apart from the corruption allegations was a success. There were reports of roofs leaking, bridges falling and so on, but in the end, things were all right. This last-minute work should be avoided. We see it all around us, in schools and colleges students struggling to complete their projects at the last minute; and even in jobs, people struggling to complete their reports and other projects, but the Government of India is supposed to be a responsible entity, with the lives of unnamed hundreds of millions, nay billions depending on it and must finish the job quickly to avoid any last-minute hiccups. Here it is not the fact that the Games were held that is to be seen, rather, in what fashion the Games were held.

The opening the closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games highlighted to the world the organizing capabilities of Indians. In the end, the medals gained by Indians pointed to the emergence of India as a sporting nation to be reckoned with. Our sportsmen and sportswomen made our country proud. Finishing second, ahead of Britain in the Commonwealth Games is quite a remarkable achievement indeed. Winning over a hundred medals, including thirty-eight gold ones is no mean feat. However, one thing that we have to take note of is this. Australia, with a population of around twenty million, won one hundred and seventy seven medals. Seventy four of them were gold. On the other hand, India with a population of more than a billion, in fact more than a billion more than Australia’s population, won much less. For this to change, the Indian Government will have to find proactive methods to improve sporting infrastructure in India, thus giving its children more chances to shine. Talent is already present. India has proved it time and again in the past. We only have to convert that into results; and that is where the Indian Government must step in. China has managed to do so and thus was able to finish at the top of the standings in the medals tally in the Beijing Olympics. Lessons have to be learnt here.
PRATHEEK PRAVEEN KUMAR

prytheek@yahoo.com

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