For the past months now I have been writing about the terrible human tragedy that has been the result of the Commonwealth Games: loss of lives, loss of homes, loss of livelihood and these continue by the minute. I have tried to keep a distance from all other issues such as corruption, national pride and more. Not that these did not affect me, far from that, but because many have taken up the cudgels on these issues. But a news item that appeared yesterday changed all that.
I refer to an interview given by the CEO of the CWG where the gentleman resorted to attack as the best form of defense. It may be said here that this gentleman has been in India for three years, supposedly supervising the preparations of the show. Among other things, the gentleman blamed India's population for the traffic snarls! Needless to say he was promptly rebutted by a: can we just make half the population vanish or keep people indoors! Another case of off with their heads!
Somehow this comment stung me and touched many raw nerves. How dare anyone make such a remark! I always felt that the whole Commonwealth concept was passe and outdated, a vestige of colonialism that we could well do without and this more than validated my stand. How could I forget my own existence. Was I not the child born in free India that a woman way back in the 1930s decided to bring to life. My mother who reached a marriageable age in the mid thirties refused to be wedded as she did not want to bring a slave child into this world. She waited till India became independent to marry and thus I was born a free Indian. Yet for the past days all I have heard are outrageous remarks about my land and that for not fault of its proud people but because of a handful of incompetent, corrupt and unscrupulous people who were handed over the responsibility of staging an international event. What riles me is that today a whole nation is being abused and considered inept and incapable. Offensive expletives are being used to define us: dirty, filthy, unlivable, unhygienic and more. Unacceptable reasons are being given for not coming to our land: safety, health, security and more. Inadmissible demands are being thrust upon us and we as a nation feel let down, helpless and angry.
And to make matters worse, the incompetent, corrupt, unscrupulous people are trying to appeal to our patriotism and national pride in the hope that we may forget the rest and after the show is over some scapegoat will be branded and the rest will escape free and ready to exploit us again. I wonder what people like my mother would have made of all this. Perhaps simply whispered that we did not deserve and treasure the freedom they so valiantly fought for.
An opposition leader stated yesterday on national television that he felt like hanging is head in shame. So do I as we have a let down not only those who gave us the precious gift of freedom but the multitude of proud Indians who do not deserve what is being foiled upon them.