Aug 8, 2010

Corrupt Way to Go(CWG 2010)

I just read Shobhaa De's take on the CWG controversy. I have to say, she can put things in the correct perspective in the most succinct and satirical manner.

The sheer scale of corruption is mind boggling. Lalu Yadav and Babu Lal Marandi must be green with envy, to see Mr Kalmadi and gang laughing all the way to the bank. And what's more, shamelessly on every other news channel, refusing to take moral responsibility and stepping down. They are probably looking at hosting the Asiad next, to fill up the coffers of those other distant relatives who got left out this time.

But what are Manmohan and Sonia doing? Looking the other way, or have they got cotton in their ears? Or have they, like Mr Mani Shankar Iyer, after stirring up the hornet's nest, decided to go the Gandhian way, "Bura mat dekho, Bura mat suno............?"

With cases of corruption, the likes of which have never been dreamt of, tumbling out of the woodwork every other day, it seems we are trying to showcase not our economic progress but our progress in promoting corruption in the most ingenuous of ways. Our phlegmatic Prime Minister is however, not weathered by ordinary storms. Despite a 'Leaky CWG stadia, Scourge of Naxalism, double digit inflation, Natural calamity in Leh, Kashmir valley on edge.......' our PM is invisible. Like they say in Hindi, "unke kaanon me joon tak nahi reng rahi." He is only seen in foreign capitals, meeting heads of other states or in Parliament, where his sleepy gaze is visible but his sing song, barely audible, hardly comprehensible voice is conspicuous by its absence.

Wake up Mr PM get a hold of things, lest History should blame you for showcasing our incompetence to the world.

Aug 1, 2010

Let the Games Begin

With only two months left for the commencement of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, preparations as reported by the media seem to suggest that we might be headed for a major embarrassment. News channels are replete with reports of poor venue preparations, sub standard work and most of all, corruption. And to our great horror, a senior political leader from the ruling party came out with a shocking statement recently, almost wishing for the games to go awry. Of course, the statement was a little tongue in cheek which the TV anchors conveniently chose to ignore.

Should it not be the bounden duty of all Indians to do their bit, for the success of the games? The way some of these news channels, 'Times Now' in particular, are going hell for leather after the Games Organising Committee, seems outrageous. Is this the right moment for such journalism, with only a few weeks left for the games to begin? I am all for accountability, rooting out corruption, transparency.............. But going after anyone and everyone who has got anything to do with CWG Delhi, at a time when the opening ceremony is just round the corner may not be such a great idea. By all means media is well within its rights to expose corruption, fraud, malpractice........................ but at times, for a change, 'discretion ought to be the better part of valour'.

News channels going berserk reporting a minor injury to a young diver in SP Mukherjee Aquatics stadium seemed weird. Oh come on guys, it was just a bruise. And the current war of words between Mr Kalmadi and the Indian High Commission in UK makes us the laughing stock for the world. At the end of the day, thanks to the media onslaught, an event that should have been a matter of pride for us, ........................, even if successful might inevitably leave us with a bad taste in the mouth.

So there is corruption, money laundering, sub standard work, leaky stadia................... etc. What was one to expect anyway? Corruption in India is all pervasive. So what does one do? Outsource preparations to China? Indian contractors have probably never seen quality. Forced to race against time due to political, procedural and bureaucratic delays all around, it is a wonder, that venues are nearing completion in the first place. Money laundering............... If media was to be believed, there was near credible evidence of money laundering against the likes of Rajiv Gandhi, a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth. So what can be expected out of lesser mortals?

A look at the time line of the preparations for the CWG makes one thing clear. The organisers did not seem to have the slightest idea of how to go about it. Nor did they have a sense of urgency. To that extent, one would have to agree with Mani Shankar Iyer, "Hosting these games is a huge mistake". But the clock cannot be turned back now. And we must put our best foot forward.