With Delhi all set to declare the Commonwealth Games (CWG) open, I think I should stop the India bashing and wish the country well. My love for India is intact, but it does not mean I have to condone its evils. I sincerely wish that the Games unfolding tomorrow shows India in fine light, diminishing all the negative publicity it has received thus far.
Good luck guys, though the likes of Suresh Kalmadi, Sheila Dikshit and Lalit Bhanot can never ever be forgiven for messing up with the country’s reputation despite spending more than US$17 billion on CWG (China is said to have spent three times more for the 2008 Olympics). I will also not forgive the country for letting the India-Australia cricket Test series start not very far from Delhi three days before the CWG inaugural. Knowing Indians’ obsession with cricket, this can be too distracting for the CWG and even put needless extra pressure on the country’s security forces.
Cisco’s win at CWG: Had I not quit Cisco Systems in July, the Delhi CWG will have given me room for some cheer.
The shabby way in which it is being organized (here I go again!!) has already dented any pride arising out of my Indian roots. Whatever joy I can get through the Games is from the fact that I helped deliver a winning proposal for Cisco for networking gear and more. I managed the extremely complex bid and wrote the executive summary for Cisco.
There was hardly any player in the industry who could have competed effectively with Cisco. The win was never in doubt given Cisco’s rich experience providing solutions for all major sporting events for the past several decades – including the Beijing and Sydney Olympics and having already been chosen as the network provider of choice for London 2012 as well.
In fact, the contract for the 2012 Olympics had been awarded to Cisco even before the CWG Organising Committee had floated the final tender for the 2010 Games. That should demonstrate how poor India was in planning for the Games. What is more annoying than all the bungling is India’s continued insistence that the facilities are better than the ones offered at earlier Games marked by a silly refusal to wholeheartedly admit their follies.
Why These Silly Comparisons? All through Indians were saying ad nauseum that the Games will be better than the Beijing Olympics. This is something the world should say, not the hosts themselves! The world has long acknowledged that the Beijing Games was the best ever and hard to beat. India suffers from a serious inferiority complex, losing to China in virtually every sphere of activity, barring corruption and inefficiency.
Even today’s newspapers here quoted some officials as saying that the Games Village boasts facilities that are better than what was available at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and the recent Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore.
First, this kind of comparison is abhorrent. Why can’t India just deliver and let the rest of the world decide which is better? Second, this is hardly true given that Singapore has won wholesome praise across the board for the organizational ability shown in delivering an event for the world to remember. Importantly, this was the inaugural Youth Olympics and Singapore is seen as having set a fine example for future hosts.
Singapore was also the host for the inaugural WTO ministerial conference in 1995. I attended it as a journalist then and was amazed by the smooth execution despite the fact that 4000 heads of government/top ministers participated in it.
All that said, here’s wishing India the very best with the Games! Leave the negatives behind and put on a fantastic show that will restore our pride and more than make up for all the damage that has already been done to the country’s international image!
–G Joslin Vethakumar