Much Good from a Bad Games
By M J Akbar
Why have we become defeatists just because The Times of India has done such a brilliant job of exposing this strangely gut-wrenching but simultaneously hilarious loot of our wealth in the name of Commonwealth? Why are we so depressed merely because the world media has turned India’s image into a toilet seat, thereby fulfilling V S Naipaul’s dream first sketched in “An Area of Darkness” ? Away with the frozen frown! We must be sunny and optimistic. Let us look at the positive side and list the great achievements that await us during the Commonwealth Games.
India will win 200 medals. Given the rate at which the weak-livered champions from kidneyless countries like Australia -- imagine getting scared by a mere dengue mosquito! bah! -- are dropping out, we will soon be cheering ourselves hoarse as Indians win gold after gold in what becomes a virtual domestic competition. The downside is that our ministers will feel compelled to hand out Rs 20 lakh of our money to the winners, but at least the cash will go to sports stars rather than a greasy political shrimp masquerading as a whale or dolphin.
We Indians have, regrettably, forgotten our true strength. Do we remember that we were the first nation to defeat European colonialism? The British Empire never recovered from Indian independence; it was downhill all the way for London after August 15, 1947. It is but child’s play for a nation that destroyed the mightiest empire in history, to ruin the Commonwealth. Those who think of Suresh Kalmadi and the Group of Ministers in charge of the Games as merely incompetent or greedy or both are doing them a terrible injustice. They are, in truth, liberation theologians who are putting the finishing touches to a mission that Gandhi and Nehru were unable to complete. Our founding fathers killed the Raj; their faithful heirs have neutered the child of the Raj, the Commonwealth . Our generation achieved its goal through strict non-violence . All we did was to introduce the Commonwealth to Indian standards of hygiene and the Commonwealth became a gibbering wreck. The world is amazed only because it has always underestimated India’s destructive capacity, which is second only to India’s self-destructive capacity.
Delhi will be a divine city from October 3 to 14. Not a single foreign tourist will have arrived, and every Dilliwalla with the means will have followed Mani Shankar Aiyar out of the capital. Schools will be closed. Offices will be on semi-holiday . The Delhi government has already issued restaurant alerts through radio ads, saying anyone who tries to eat out is anti-national . Ergo: no traffic. Potholes will have been bricked up, with strict instructions to implode only after October 14. The skies will have exhausted themselves. The weather will begin to drift towards winter. Can you think of a more idyllic place to enjoy a fortnight of bliss? As nothing is perfect , the only precaution will be to ensure that you do not go anywhere near the entrance to the stadiums. The stadiums were built nearly three decades ago for the Asiad under Rajiv Gandhi’s stewardship at minimal cost, without any noticeable whiff of corruption, and therefore are excellent . It is today’s approach and the embellishment , done with amoebic dysentery spending that is the problem. If you are an ordinary Indian, please do not use any new connector bridge. The government will show some remorse only if anything happens to a foreign athlete when a bridge collapses.
Clear evidence has emerged that the inmates are no longer in charge of the asylum . It may have taken a press conference by one of our honoured foreign Games officials , in which he used a few indelicate words, and pictures that turned the world’s image of ‘Risen India’ into a horror story, but the high and mighty did finally stir. Intervention at nothing less than the Prime Minister’s level was needed to get chaps with long brooms to brush the dust out and use a bit of water in the bathrooms, but admit it -- it happened! Yes, we do not know yet what will happen when the athletes finally hit the turf, and whether swimming pool leaks have been plugged or not, but this column has already warned you that the best way to enjoy the Commonwealth Games is by staying as far away from the venues as you can.
A friend pointed out that we have only now begun to notice what happened some time ago: the CIA has taken over India. The CIA provides the core inner ring which pumps blood into the heart of the current ruling class of our country. CIA is: Corrupt Incompetent Arrogant. There is only one reason China is ahead of India; because it is run by the CPC: Corrupt, Perverse but Competent.
(Times of India Column, 26th September 2010)