September 17, 2010

INSTEAD OF CREATING SUCH HYPE AROUND COMMONWEALTH GAMES, INDIA SHOULD HAVE LONG AGO STOPPED PARTICIPATING IN THESE SLAVISH GAMES

I really had decided to not write about the Commonwealth Games at all – the reason is clear in the heading and I will elaborate soon enough! However, receiving too many mails and requests asking me write on the games, finally made me change my mind! But I do not plan to write about all the corruption related allegations, as too much has been said by senior journalists in the most hard hitting manner already. Also, for everything in India, we have a scam. How could one ever expect that the government will plan such a huge project without makingmoney? I will end my reference to the scam by sighting one of the many sms messages on CWG that I received a couple of days back. It stated, “What a lovely anagram (word play)... Unscramble ‘Sir, u made lakhs,’ and you get ‘Suresh Kalmadi’... !!!”

Leaving the scam behind on that note, let me tell you why I detest the very idea of the Commonwealth Games. Of course, I agree with Manishankar Iyer wholeheartedly when he says that instead of spending so much money on the games we should have developed sports people in India and made investments to create an environment conducive to world class sports in India. And I swear the money spent would have sufficed to develop world class sports facilities not just throughout India, but the perhaps the whole of the third world! I have too many times referred to the Chinese example of not participating in Olympics (and wasting money) till they became competent enough to play the games so well that they would do justice to the size of their nation. In the history of Olympics, we are the nation with the least amount of medals per capita. But that doesn’t shame our ministers ever or tempt them to do anything – the lure of corruption possibly always does!

Going away from Manishanker Iyer’s very strong and correct logic, let me let the common Indian and Delhiite know what CWG is about! Well, Commonwealth Games were not called Commonwealth Games till 1978. The games first started as the British Empire Games in 1930! That’s the origin of the CWG that India is so meaninglessly getting excited about. In 1954, the games started being called the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; and then the British Commonwealth Games in 1970! Why? Well, because it was a sporting activity to celebrate the British empire. And it brought together all the nations that Great Britain ruled, to play and feel like equals for a couple of weeks! It was officially suggested as a means to increase the goodwill and understanding of the British empire... and the first games actually took place in 1911 as the “Festival of the Empire”.

The big event before the games is called the Queen’s baton relay and is supposed to be like the Olympic torch relay! Why is it called the Queen’s baton relay? Well, what else do you call the relay around the world to begin the start of a game to celebrate the British empire? The baton carries the message from the head of Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II. Till 1994, the relay but obviously went only through England to remind the English about their past colonial powers! Now, of course, it goes through twenty plus countries where celebrities fight with each other to run with the baton to carry the message of the British empire... oops, the Commonwealth of nations! It’s unbelievable but true that only two erstwhile colonies of the British empire – Burma and Aden decided not to become members of the Commonwealth of nations post independence. Rest, all the 54 countries, barring two, are part of the old British empire!

One might wonder how did the name change to Commonwealth Games in 1978? Well, by 1978, the world had grown mature enough to be critical of colonialism and apartheid. And with changing times, it was only intelligent to change the name of the games to keep the old colonial games alive. Thus the new name! But it still remains a game of erstwhile colonies! The only two states who were not British colonies, yet who have been granted membership of the Commonwealth of nations (under the new effort to change the colonial flavour of the Commonwealth of nations) are Mozambique – a former Portuguese colony – and Rwanda, a former German colony; and their admission was considered as exceptional. But perhaps the biggest insult of being a member of the Commonwealth of nations is that originally, when the games started, it required acceptance of dominionhood a compulsory requirement; this was later modified in 1949 to dictate that members could only be made on condition that the member countries recognised the British monarch – that is, is the current Queen – as the Head of the Commonwealth! Of course, now there are so called greater values that the Commonwealth stands for, like, you guessed it right, world peace, racial equality, human rights etc!!

After reading all this, if you still want to be a part of the celebrations around these slavish games, then please go ahead. In my opinion, we have the United Nations, we have the non aligned nations. We don’t need commonwealth. Forget about celebrating the Commonwealth games; it’s time India considers withdrawing its membership from the slavish Commonwealth of nations itself. It’s a shame that instead of doing that, we are busy celebrating these games which are nothing but a celebration of the British empire – in other words, celebration of racial discrimination, colonialism, imperialism – however much the statutes may have changed in recent times.

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21 comments:

shiv sharan said...

i also keep the same thought ....

CK said...

I am a regular reader of your blogs and i like your blogs and views, but i would like to contradict you on the above mentioned statement which is too strong and one sided...Sports is always considered as a glue which unites nations and not which seperates...Yes there is some history of colonialism associated with the CWG, but rather than having a fixed mindset and whining about the past it is better to have a growth mindset and look for a better and collaborative future...Thinking in the above manner indicates that we ourselves want to remain in past and not think about present and future...

ravi said...

Nice information on 2010 Delhi CWG. View more appropriate and accurate info of CWG 2010 opening ceremony, stadiums, closing ceremony, venues, queens baton relay, history, schedule, jobs, events, sports, medals table, participating countries and so much more in Altiusdirectory.
Commonwealth Games 2010

shubho1308 said...

sir, u have done a good research on the cwg.. however i would like you to focus on commonwealth 'games' and not just the word commonwealth. the history of the event might not be very charming to us. but today we should see the spirit and motive behind the games and not its past record. cwg is a big international event and is reunion of many countries for sports and not for the usual peace and war and other ongoing global issues... sports is very helpful in building bonds among people and helps improve relations with other nations. moreover we are also getting a chance to show the world our culture and hospitality that we have been proud of for so many years.. i feel that hosting the cwg is a good opportunity for India..

Dimple Suhanda said...

Well, there are a lot of pros and cons of India playing the host to the commonwealth games. Many ministers would have bought new houses, new cars and new stocks, this money belongs to WE - the people of India but the situation is inevitable. However, looking at the positive sides, it will change the perception of the word "India" and "Indian" to a great extent if only everything goes well. It will definitely boost the tourism industry attracting more Foreign Currency. Now, the question here - Is proving our greatness and unmatchable hospitality worth at such high costs to the common man by way of corruption. This trade-off is quiet critical. Talking about a Layman who really does not care about the Brand Equity of India suffers at the End.

Hersh Bhardwaj said...

I dn't want to patronize you by agreeing with your ultimate argument of not supporting the 'commonwealth' cause including the games.
You seem to mis-interpret and blow the objectives of Commonwealth partnership, which is -
"The Commonwealth has long been distinctive as an international forum where highly developed economies (such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand) and many of the world's poorer countries seek to reach agreement by consensus."

Please donot include references to colonialism as its rather naive to mix the two. If you think CWG is a British colonial legacy then so is cricket! You would also like us to stop playing cricket then!

Technology Journal said...

Sir,

I think that surely it will create an economic stimulus in India.

People may learn that India is worth a tourist place and may stimulate tourism.

India comes on the global news channel and various places come on the world map.

No controversy will create notoriety which will not benefit India, as you said in one of your editorials.

Surely the infrastructure created for the Commonwealth games will improve the Quality of Life of Delhites.

Today India and UK is filled with Indians and they have benevolently agreed to give them rights by regularizing illegal immigrants. The world is getting more and more bi polarized between the Humane global cosmopolitan citizens and the savage nationalists.

Rajeev Vashisht

monisha mehta said...

hey , nice blog , like it ,
won't be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
& post some suggestion

paul said...

Sir, I politely disagree. A call for ignoring common wealth just for the fact that it was earlier a part of the imperialist British Empire is not justified. Culture and many aspects related to the British have become a part of our lives in India. Indian army was earlier a part of the British Empire. We give more importance their language ' English' than our’s, It has become almost impossible to get a good job without the knowledge of the language. So many places in India were constructed by the British and even we have a good relation with them today. We can’t go on ignoring or disassociate ourselves from anything and everything that is British. What the cruel, imperialist British empire did to their colonies before the world wars is not justified and not acceptable, the leadership of the then British empire was so cruel and barbaric and was driven by materialistic greed. Today we live in a Global world and we cannot be simply sentimental about such things which happened in the past. Today countries in the Global world can only thrive by having good relations with other countries by forgetting the past hatred and injustice done to each other.

The real issue is the budget that was allocated for the games, a staggering 70 crore rupees. Had our mindless policy makers listened to Mr. Mani Shankar iyer, we could have developed some world class sports clubs and facilities for our sports men by now. The issue is the corruption that led to the collapse of the preparation of games and the lack of co-ordination among the government, various bodies and the concerned bureaucrats, and that gentle man Mr.Kalmadi and our inabilities to arrange such a big event.

Pulkit::Jain said...

Also, Sir, I had received an SMS, which I think, is the biggest "Satire" on the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Delhi. It is as follows:

"Suresh Kalmadi tried to hang himself, but the ceiling collapsed!"

आदित्य Dandekar said...

I support & have the same thought....If someone is such a sport lover...then better promote Asian games....& other national sports like kabbadi....mal khamb....Why cant we create a hype around such games ??? we dont need the queen or prince charles to declare the games open...nor do we need a reserved lane creating more traffic problems....

Abhijeet said...

Though I may wish to differ with complete rejection of CWG by not participating in it. I must say that the whole of India must read atleast once the blog from you and decide for themselves what are the priorities of India right now. Is it spending such a huge amount just on hosting these kind of games or invest the same amount of money in developing our economy and country's infrastructure? I request all young Indians to please go through the blog and I am sure you will find correct answer.Thank you Mr Arindam Chaudhury.

Tarang said...

i dont want to sound like a troll here... here goes the disclaimer not a great fan of you...

I have heard you being a connoisseur of some of finer things in life, lets talk of cuisine, when was the last time you showed your back to Mughlai Cuisine, because after all it reeks of 500 years of occupation by a persian tribe, now it is true that British and Mughal empire may not be viewed in the same light, but 60 years after our independence, no one is fawning obsequiousness to a monarch who has been reduced to a diminutive in her own country, the games had a colonial past, so has english education in this country, it was taught by colonial masters to their servile lackeys, and now when we ride on the global crest we can thank Britain for that... about china and olympics i think we are pretty much a force to reckon in CWG, so it isn't entirely a bad idea, the fillip to infrastructure is real thanks to CWG, as happened during the 82 Asiad, while the account of CWG would be deep in red, the infra of delhi is in green, the emergence of metro is real, a worldclass sports infra is real, while the games may have blemished our reputation, largely because of our own shortcomings, articles like yours are just a futile attempt to sound different i am afraid.... hardly any value addition....

dare to think over it.....

NiRB@n....... said...

personals........but can i ask u something ....where will these sports persons show their skills? india have hosted the commonwealth games bttr thn the beijing olympics........i think u're jealous tht indian government has stood against criticism put by people like u n actually made us proud........waiting eagerly 4 ur rply.....

NiRB@n....... said...

personals........but can i ask u something ....where will these sports persons show their skills? india have hosted the commonwealth games bttr thn the beijing olympics........i think u're jealous tht indian government has stood against criticism put by people like u n actually made us proud........waiting eagerly 4 ur rply.....

NiRB@n....... said...

personals........but can i ask u something ....where will these sports persons show their skills? india have hosted the commonwealth games bttr thn the beijing olympics........i think u're jealous tht indian government has stood against criticism put by people like u n actually made us proud........waiting eagerly 4 ur rply.....

NiRB@n....... said...

personals........but can i ask u something ....where will these sports persons show their skills? india have hosted the commonwealth games bttr thn the beijing olympics........i think u're jealous tht indian government has stood against criticism put by people like u n actually made us proud........waiting eagerly 4 ur rply.....

Yogesh Jayant Khandke said...

Good article Arindam, you seem to be the only person who can think straight, we as Indian's are used to blowing our life's savings on extravaganzas but we should do so celebrating our nationhood and not for a cruel imperial power that sucked our country dry. One or two billion dollars is less that 100 rupees per head, less than the cost of 2 L of petrol or a few kg of foodgrains per head. Maculay has turned many of us into permanent slaves that is a pity and not a few kg of foodgrains per head.

Yogesh Jayant Khandke said...

"...so has english education in this country, it was taught by colonial masters to their servile lackeys, and now when we ride on the global crest we can thank Britain for that... about china and olympics i think we are pretty much a force to reckon in CWG,..."

A poster here made the above comments. India as a nation is a looser. Check any per capita parameter, per capita GDP, per capita doctors, etc. Do you think India and China can have a voice by contributing cheap labour in soft and hard skills. My answer is no. India needs to come up with new ideas, that will make it a leader, and not a few out-sourcing assignment crumbs. Even in 2050 half of India will be dependent on agriculture, which will have shrunk in size, 75 crore Indians living on the edge of survival. English will not solve their problem, new ideas will which are muffled by this English language education which marks knowledge as something foreign and alien

Yogesh Jayant Khandke said...

Why hasn't the Indian media discussed these views of Arindam?

Igniting your Inner Core said...

Way to go Ari !

You Rock !

You're one of those handful men who dare to speak out the Truth !... I've been following you since the time you wrote on how disgraceful was the whole "Slumdog Millionare - Oscar Awards" set-up.

Do keep writting... WE love you for standing out and speaking the TRUTH !

VANDE MATARAM !

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