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India must learn valuable lessons

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John Beattie | 13:45 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

Sorry, but the level of organisation at these Games has not been acceptable, and somebody has to say it.

I've said all along that India has the right to host the Commonwealth Games. I've been really positive about the Indian people and their openness, and negative about the west's squeamishness around heat, poverty and the third world element of a country they once ruled.

Athletes who are here were right to come to India and most have. No doubt their lives have been enriched in the process, as mine has.

Those who stayed away missed out on the must culturally diverse sporting event I have ever attended.

But India is learning a lesson here. It has to do better than this if it wants to put on international competitions.

I've heard a lot about new India being let down by old India, and I think that's right. India needs to harness its business brains to get out of this logistical, bureaucratic, tangled mess.

Delhi is the host city for the 19th Commonwealth Games

Delhi's hosting of the Commonwealth Games has generated controversy

India would be making a big mistake to think that it might host the Olympics on the back of this. And I hate writing that line. I really want India to show what it can do.

You and I know that some Indian corporations own British businesses because, frankly, they make money and we don't. Why haven't these games reflected that?

Here is what I have seen with my own eyes: bird droppings on the swimming starting blocks when I went poolside after the first day's competition. Journalists shouting in frustration at officialdom while trying to get to the person in charge as the person they talked to promises action and a report "tomorrow".

There are endless delays getting in and out of venues though things are getting better.

As I write this, most seats at most venues are empty as the spectator contribution to this major competition wasn't planned, and the track was still dirty after the opening ceremony.

Jonathan Edwards, a member of the London 2012 board, raised serious concerns describing it as "beyond anything that I imagined", and our radio broadcast lines and then power went down as some finals took place in the pool.

It's a political point and not a sporting one but, in my opinion, it's unacceptable to have policemen with big, leather-handled sticks patrolling a peaceful crowd at an opening ceremony.

Add to that these things: Allegations of corruption, the most senior official saying that Lady Di had attended the opening ceremony, the athletes' accommodation not being ready and country officials having to clean them, the scales not working at boxing, the scoreboard falling down at rugby, a bridge falling down outside the main stadium, broadcasters not knowing if they are getting their helicopters up in the air to cover the marathon, athletes calling home to find out if they qualified from races, and diving board heights being queried.

Listen; these games were seven years in the planning!

Frankly, despite all this, there is an over-riding desire by the international media to be positive and to be seen to be behind the Games.

To all of you who are proud Indians and think I am being negative, let me say two things: I have friends in Glasgow who are businessmen of Indian descent and they are efficiency personified, and many of the Indian journalists feel very, very let down.

And, trust me, if just one of the things which went wrong here in Delhi happen in London in 2012, or Glasgow in 2014, there will be a major government investigation.

It is, actually, a structural problem rooted in the old, rigid, slow moving, bureaucratic systems that India put in place since independence 60 years ago.

Despite all this I am positive and uplifted by the people and see that when inspirational men and women are involved then these problems aren't reflective of India.
It's time for new India to take over as a nation learns a big lesson.

Perhaps, just perhaps, these Games will be one of the best things ever to have happened in this extraordinary part of the world.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Gravity defying ancient structure and worth going to Pulitzer. But what’s the point of including this picture in the sports section? Are any of athletes, official or journalist participated in commonwealth game are living there or may be some tournaments are held at this venue?

    I think the whole west media first tried to show all kind of issues with commonwealth games and now when they kind find any, they started digging into the social issues.

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with you on most points. The organization of the whole event up till now has left a lot to be desired. There have been a lot of positives but some of the shortcomings deserve criticism and just can't be ignored.

    The main talking point about the games has been of what it does for the people of India. Personally, I think now that so much money has already been spent on these games it is pointless to dwell on what the same funds could have done for the poor of the country. The focus should now be on how these stadium's can be best utilized after the games. If they can be used as a stepping stone to future Olympic success and development of sporting culture, then it will be money well spent. However, I have major doubts regarding this, because of how the bureaucratic system works in the country. Unfortunately, despite of economic progress, the bureaucracy still hasn't shed its old corrupt and inefficient ways. This is evident by the complaints that have come to light. The Organizing Committee claims venues are sold-out, yet venues are empty. There were construction delays, the village was in such a bad condition just one week before the opening ceremony. In my opinion, the organizers should have been a lot more proactive in advertising the games. This is the biggest event the country has hosted but there isn't that much enthusiasm among the people. Look at the IPL and how well it is sold to the public and how popular it is.

    So, now I will move on to the positives. Most of the facilities built from scratch are world-class and are a step in the right direction. Now, India should make the best use of them after the games and bring athletes from all over the country to make avail of them after the games. The opening ceremony was breathtaking, no two ways about it. The performance of Indian athletes has been commendable.

    As far as the Olympic bid goes, two things need to change first:

    1. Get politicians out of sports governing bodies and instate people with administrative experience or background in their respective sports with no connections with the government. Look at how FIFA doesn't allow government interference amongst the governing bodies of its member nations.

    2. Get more competent people and not people with political connections in-charge of organizing an event which the whole world will be closely watching. It is not that India lacks people with expertise to host such an event but such last-minute hurried preparations show that the wrong people got the job. India should learn the lessons learnt while organizing this event, take criticism in its stride and make improvement. It is a matter of when rather than whether India will host Olympics in the next 20-30 years.

  • Comment number 3.

    John… I partially agree with you. The problem lies in the fact that most of the sporting federations in India are run by politicians. It is kind of a tight-knit family business. These people lack the basic management skills and forget that running a mega sporting event is a completely different ballgame. There is absolute lack of transparency or accountability and the central government has no clue what is happening in the different sporting organizations. India had everything to make CWG successful, we had the money, we had the manpower, but the right people were not involved or maybe the organizing committee did not want to involve professionals due to their own selfish reasons. This event certainly has been a learning process since India is hosting a sporting event of such magnitude for the first time . But in spite of all the initial hiccups things are all not that bad as it is being portrayed by the foreign media. Last but not least, I have say, there are people down there who want to sabotage the games for their own ulterior motives and that is what worries me (the sale of tickets another scandal in waiting).

  • Comment number 4.

    John, I have always found your blogs relevant. I agree to your comments above but there are some things I must point out

    a) Diva mentality of Old (white) commonwealth countries. I think most of the coverage dwells on negative. Channel 7's Mike Duffy of Australia takes gold with security scare coverage with BBC about village close second.

    b) Kalmadi with over the top optimism and your collegue "Tom" with "Let us find something negative" routine.

    Fair and Balanced - Hardly but what we can expect when Media itself is facing credibility crisis

  • Comment number 5.

    John,
    I totally agree. There is absolutely no excuse for all the blunders.
    At the same time, John, a developing country of teeming billions, for the first time hosting an event of such magnitude - there are bound to be hiccups which bring out glaringly all the underlying problems, and that hopefully would teach India to be better next time.
    The sports are at the right place here, where the people could do with some exposure, otherwise whats the point of the games.
    Some things are necessary like armed police patrolling, frisking because we dont want any danger to befall on you in our country. Some things we could do without like corruption, mismanagement.
    Our politicians are not very savvy, they probably have never adressed such a huge show, and they love goof-ups. Not world class..yeah but is it right in the dumps, I ask you?
    And then these games infuse India with a sense of achievment over what they can do, and a sense of regret over what they could do better.
    The athletes, journalists, tourists have every right to point out their inconveniences, but dont denounce the games.
    I read the media in west and they spice things up and dish it out to the world. (eg :- 27 ppl killed in bridge collapse )

    John, we might pleasently surprise you the next time ;) :D
    Enjoy :)

  • Comment number 6.

    I felt dismayed reading this piece. It reads like somebody trying very hard not to offend. As a concerned Indian, I'd prefer if the foreign journalists report it like it is. If that means, "this is the worst organized sporting event in history", so be it. Don't bother about the comment boards and the silly outrage, please.

  • Comment number 7.

    >>>> And, trust me, if just one of the things which went wrong here in Delhi happen in London in 2012, or Glasgow in 2014, there will be a major government investigation.

    I am hearing lots of these things

    Ok Trace this one and let us know

    London Olympic Park: businesses fight for compensation

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/london_2012/article4053975.ece

    Finers Stephens Innocent are still acting for more than 80 businesses. “These businesses have been given a hard time,” Mark Stephens said. “Ken Livingstone [mayor when the Olympic bid was won] didn't make proper financial provision for this. It is clear that both he and the Government made a blunder of billion-pound proportions. And the small businesses Livingstone chose to ignore. He used fairly heavy-handed tactics to get rid of them.”

  • Comment number 8.

    Its a matter of how you look at anything - glass half empty or half full.

    A lot of stuff should have been better and a lot can be learnt. The Indians which foreign countries deals with are all part of the private sector, this was organised by the Indian public sector and as we have seen, most of them are muppets.

    One can only hope that the criticisms will create some pressure on the govt & public sector to maintain & use these venues for future sporting successes.

    I dont think its been so bad for UK, Aus, Can, SA - the countries who are crying the most - thier athletes are winning so many medals in a dumbed down competition. I have noticed that complains are mostly coming from countries who have a white majority....why so.

    Regarding London 2012, its too early to judge what is good and what is not. And regarding corruption, pl remember that UK MP's broke all records with their expenses scandal - so the UK does not have the moral high ground. Corruption exists in all countries in varying degrees - politicians who have power and control public money will always have a tendency to divert public funds to their secret & offshore bank accounts.

  • Comment number 9.

    Constructive criticism is important and goes a long way in the process of improving a system, people or a place. However, hearing negative things day in and day out does nothing but turns people against those who do it.

    The way western media has gone overboard with the issues at CWG has frankly made most of Indians extremely angry and suspecting of the their motives.

    Its important to be a good host when you are inviting so many people, however, its equally important to be a good guest.

    If the preparations at CWG have left lot to be desired for, then frankly, so has been the behaviour and attitude of some of the guest nations, specially Australia, Britain and Canada. These countries have built a lot of negative emotions among Indians, and frankly, Indians will return it with interest when time comes.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi John,
    Whilst I have friends out in Delhi who agree that issues at the games can become a little shambolic over the tiniest thing, on the whole these things get done; just not to our (1st world) timetable. If it takes a day, then it takes a day, just because we could do it in an hour does not necessarily make it wrong.
    Before we go throwing stones in glass houses, there is the issue of how OUR games (2012 / 2014) are presently being organised. We will have, for example, shooting sports at both 2012 and 2014 that will have no legacy at all. Build it, use it, and bulldoze it! At a combined cost of approaching £50 million down the drain this is not good organisation. Delhi upgraded an existing facility and will be able to use it for years to come. Perhaps we should shout louder about our own issues rather than those in India?
    Speaking of shooting, since it isn't noted anywhere else, congratulations to all the Scottish Shooters for their medals to date and best of luck to the OT shooters on Sat / Sun! It is a pity that we get hours and hours of athletics and swimming, but so little coverage of others.


  • Comment number 11.

    Hi John!

    After taking the lethal wet marble floor in your stride, what on earth could make your patience snap?

    Privatising the organization of the games to “New India” a skilled independent corporation specially nominated and empowered for the purpose is a great idea, but politicians here will not let go a free lunch. Not now, not ever!

    Will appreciate if you share how it’s being done in London for 2012. Better examples should not offend Indian sentiments.

    As an Indian I am happy to see a international multi-sport, international event in this country but what bothers me most is the cost of the games; An escalation from the estimated of $ 100 million to $10 or $17 billion is inexcusable given our per-capita income.

    Do agree with what your photo silently implies, India should not think of Olympics for the next 20 years - fun and games at such cost, and corruption is vain.

  • Comment number 12.

    It is so very typical of English reporter, hide behind a pseudo style of balanced and fair reporting to drive through negative comments. The approach is simple, against each positive event, pull out two negative events , however unrelated ( for example the unrelated picture in this case), to balance out the impact. The effort is to water down any positive impact as much as possible and highlight the negative side aggressively, so that at end a reader , at best forms a negative and at worst a confused opinion of the state of affair. So very true of British media on India. I see it happening everytime in systematic fashion during this CWG. A recent example is Delhi belly issue, British media went mad on that, pigeon poo, contaminated pool, stale food. Did someone wonder why British/Aussi swimmers falling ill, why not swimmers from other countries? No one in British media cared to check that and instead pulled out everything mucky heard or un-heard about the issue. Following day, test result showed nothing wrong with the pool but there was no report to clarify the confusion. Therefore when the author says “Trust me, I swear, I saw it with my own eyes”, I take it with pinch of salt.
    I think UK no longer holds position of serious interest by India. The recent visit of Cameron with huge delegation is a showcase towards that. Did anyone wonder why Cameron made an avoidable yet unfriendly statement against Pakistan during that visit. Why it was made before the meeting with Indian PM and why various business deals followed then after. In the landscape of Indian growth story, UK simply does not figure (or is way down the bottom). Therefore it is hardly surprising if Kalmadi made a gaffe by mentioning lady Di (though he corrected it immediately). Now trust me, no one in India gives a damn to this correctness (as much as many in Britain does not know/care the name Indian President). No big deal!!
    On the stadium staying empty, I wonder what media wants from Indian public, go and cheer a netball match between England and Australia. Where are the spectators from these respective countries? Why are they holing up in their own country?. In recent world-cup football matches in South Africa, the British fans travelled days and stayed in most ordinary condition to get into the stadium. As England was ejected out, so were the fans from South Africa. That’s natural. Expecting Indians to cheer up irrelevant matches/games is too much a asking. I noticed that many mentioning CWG as a life-time opportunity for people in third world country to watch world class competition. Guys! get a life and wake up. Honestly, much like Londoners, Delhites do not have time and do not care! And CWG is not a big drag on its economy either. Take a look into GDP growth, IMF has revised it today to 9.7%. For many it just added infrastructure and new airport and fast-tracked the development in Delhi, that’s it. And with the attitude of western media, the left-over interest in the game is also gone now.
    In today’s world it does not help to browbeat some country for the sake of it. It leaves you look foolish and stupid at the end. There is a wise proverb in India and I translate in English, “If you spit towards the sky, it falls on your face”

  • Comment number 13.

    Here is a lesson for the whole world to LEARN:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/commonwealth-games-2010/news/Village-residents-grab-chance-for-the-healing-touch/cwgarticleshow/6716907.cms
    I BET this would have never happened in Melbourne, Manchester, and damn unlikely to happen in Galsgow!!!
    Heart warming story indeed

  • Comment number 14.

    No doubt India faces many many challenges if it wishes to successfully bid for a future Olympic Games... however I don't think that a sports bureaucrat's confusion of the name of a past consort of a British prince with the name of the prince's current consort is among them

  • Comment number 15.

    English official abuses Indian archery coach -- how come such events are not reported in the foreign media.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh would you (and by you I mean the Western media in general) PLEASE stop with the constant nitpicking?
    It's one thing to genuinely and constructively criticise an event of this size and offer your insightful suggestions but another to constantly hunt like a hound dog for excuses to pronounce the Games a failure.
    While India might not have been the perfect hosts and there have been minor glitches here and there, India sure has been the most GRACIOUS and GENEROUS host. I am not sure I can say the same about guest athletes from certain countries. It's not in BBC's nature to make this a part of prime time CWG news but - Roland Schoeman from SA openly abused a fan in the swimming arena for excessive hooting, a British team official told the Indian archery coach to ‘**** off’ when the latter put his hand out for a shake, a New Zealand prime time reporter repeatedly made derogatory remarks about the Delhi Chief Minister.
    Reporters in Britain, New Zealand, Australia have been shockingly insensitive and negative in their reporting of the CWG from the word go. They have gleefully reported the various ‘mishaps’ and ‘glitches’ but have not bothered to correct themselves or put out follow-up reports about the same. ‘Delhi Belly’ has become a new synonym for disaster among these dailies. Perhaps the reporters would do better to inquire as to what it really means. The term is used to indicate a bad stomach caused by consumption of spicy food, the kind that westerners are unaccustomed to. Perhaps the athletes should have opted to play it safe and stick to their bland fish and chips and not experimented too much. News items continue to blame the ‘unsafe’ swimming pools despite safety clearances granted when inquiries were conducted. Has anybody bothered to ask why Asian and African athletes have not shown these symptoms? It is almost funny how your paper has yet to get over the ‘collapsed bridge’ syndrome. Are you telling me there has never been any such mishap in any of your countries before an important event? And just for the record, 27 people were injured and not killed.
    As for the poverty rider in any ‘positive’ story regarding the Games, I have only this much to say – The West may have developed a sudden affliction for slum dwellers post-Slumdog Millionaire, but the omnipresent slums are not a (desired) way of life for citizens of Delhi. If in an effort to ‘beautify’ the city before the Games, the government has cleared up vast slums and other illegally inhabited areas and relocated its people, I don’t see the cause for complaint. Beggars ousted from the city are another pet cause of foreign journalists. The same tourists who earlier complained of the beggar menace on Delhi roads now questioning the government’s move to tackle the same. If at all, in run up to the games, any injustice has been caused to a section of the society, I can assure all those mighty concerned people, that the Indian courts are perfectly capable of remedying that. (I cannot say the same for similarly situated people in China before the Olympics, whose cause the Western journalists didn’t dare take up to a great degree)
    I have personally attended some CWG and have been glued to the TV for the rest, and for the most part, things have been moving smoothly. On TV, I have always noticed a considerable crowd gathered for the events. Of course, many reporters have tended to put up pictures of the most vacant portion of the 60,000 capacity JLN stadium to make out a case for lukewarm response of Indians to the games. Today, on Saturday, the occupancy of that stadium was 35,000. Name one Commonwealth event that has had so many spectators for an athletics event.
    I see some reporters and athletes complain about the strict/excessive security. And this when so many of them were ready to withdraw from the games over security reasons! How hypocritical.
    I wish the journalists covering these games would learn to appreciate – the efforts of the government, the officials, volunteers and the sentiments of the citizens. No doubt, report about alleged corruption and delays where you have to, but please give credit where it is due and don’t over hype your misgivings to the extent that balanced and impartial reporting becomes a farce. I have not seen a single report on the heaps of praises showered by the athletes on the facilities and recreation in the Games Village. The atmosphere there is festive – with daily cultural events, traditional crafts on display, a disc, a bar and much more. BBC, Telegraph and others are still hung upon those infamous pictures of dirty toilets released over a month ago. Talk about obsessive. All we ever hear about the Village on your website is the number of cobras supposedly spotted.
    The Games have done a lot for India and the developing countries as a whole. It may not have all been perfect, but let us stop acting like it has been a disaster when that is clearly not the case. It’s better to enrich oneself with the new experiences that the country has to offer rather than cry hoarse about what was seemingly absent and missing.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    @Jack123

    Why, may I ask, have you plagiarised my comment and posted it all over the website?

  • Comment number 21.

    Being a proud Indian, living in the Western world, I do agree with many comments made by John, however I wish he could have chosen a different photo (a child can tell the motive!).
    Indians living in the western world are one of the most successful communities (like the new emerging corporate India) - only because of ambition and believing in self improvement. Whole world now recognises the potential of the emerging India as there are plenty statistical evidences.
    However we should accept criticism and should not be complacent. It is true that CWG reporting by the western media was very biased (nothing new) but we also made horrible mistakes and gave them the opportunity.

    We must accept that we (English Speaking Middle Class Indians) can not deny our responsibility for a fair distribution of wealth in this country; otherwise these kinds of photographs will always humiliate all of us! Maybe we are so indifferent to this level of poverty, corruption and incompetence that when outsiders start crying we get into self-denial mode like other failed nations.

    I agree we must learn from our mistakes for our good but I also believe BBC should also learn that by being biased it damaged two of the few remaining British legacy – ‘CWG’ (by scaring away top athletes and damaging the CWG brand ) and the great ‘BBC’ ( as a large number of English speaking Indians will now seriously question its journalism standard!).

  • Comment number 22.

    I completely agree with much that has been written above in the comments. As long as the article itself is concerned i don't agree with everything in it. Especially the spirit of it seems dodgy ( the image is a shame to the article ). What about questioning the presence of foreign spectators? Attitude of the english coach who got upset due to the crowd?

    @donottelllies: your certainly right in mentioning the apathy amongst the educated and the well to do.

    There is a culture to turn a blind eye; 'not my problem attitude' by many. But deep within us there is an urge to change things. These games have only highlighted the importance for us all to come together and do what i'm afraid a generation of indians have not done by shying away from their responsibilities. Certainly constructive criticism is much required for our culture. We need to learn and move forward. And ignore the negative attitude in the article and even the western media on the whole but take only positives to build upon.

  • Comment number 23.

    In discussions about the many organisational failings of the Games, a number of people have rather indignantly mentioned the success of various Indian businesspeople, and the fact that they now own a number of British businesses. However, this very fact underlines the sad truth - the reason that so many talented and efficient Indian organisers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople CHOOSE to ply their trade in the UK, the US or wherever, is because they know that trying to get anything dynamic, adventurous or bold accomplished in India, is like wading through the Commonwealth Pool.

    The whole system is hogtied with bureaucracy, inefficiency, an utter lack of urgency, and - how can I put this - the need to make it "worth the while" of a number of people there to get anything done at all.

    India has many, many virtues which quite leave the West in the shade . However efficiency, organisation and punctuality - all of them absolute necessities for running a major sporting event - are not among them.

  • Comment number 24.

    The apologists for this farcical event need to STOP playing the race card. What has happened with these games WOULD NOT and SHOULD NOT be accepted no matter where they took place.

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes, the games have not been perfect, but this is the first major event India has been hosting, and I would say that apart from a few hiccups, the games have so far been just fine. Of course India will learn valuable lessons from these games, both from the organizational point of view, as well as pulling greater number of crowds to sporting arenas (other than netball and lawnball, both of which I wouldn't go to watch even if I was paid for it), although the crowds would have been better if a few fans from participating nations also came. As an Indian, I hope we do not bid for the Olympics just yet.

  • Comment number 26.

    And John, how is this picture relevant to the article? I agree with the general sentiment of your article, if not entirely with it, but this picture makes it seem less genuine.

  • Comment number 27.

    I cannot understand why you guys had to wait till the eve of the games to splash all the photos depicting the negative side of a country. Am sure the photojournalists will have ample time to stay back in India and take those award winning photos of India's poverty and underbelly. For all we know your journals might just turn out to be an inspiration for Danny Boyel's next Oscar-winning movie or the Olympics opening ceremony (Since Danny Boyle is to direct 2012 Olympics opening ceremony)

  • Comment number 28.

    Indians are often not aware, unless they've spent significant time abroad, that India is an unhygienic place. Not only is uncollected waste and untreated sewage allowed to fester in the open, but the drinking water delivered to residents is also astronomically high in microbes. Many Indians, consequently, have endemic amoebic dysentery, which in turn exacerbates the malnutrition problem in India by not allowing nutrients to be properly absorbed. Moreover, outdoor defecation has been prevalent in India for so long, that the country has the highest concentration among all countries of fecal coliform bacteria in its subsoil water.

    If the news of the Australian and English swimmers falling sick with tummy trouble does nothing other than generating some awareness that India needs to filter its drinking water more rigorously, to treat its sewage, to build toilets for its citizens, and to urge its citizens to use them--it will have done a signal service. Unfortunately, however, India is also equally likely to relapse into a nationalistic fetal position and point the finger back at the bearers of bad news.

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 Yes, these games and the English contingent's appetite for spicy food will finally open India's eyes towards the level of hygiene in the country, never mind the countless schemes the government is running for the very purpose you specified. While I agree with you that India is a very unhygienic country in many parts, but using these games to take cheap shots at India is starting to irritate me. What it only goes to show is your lack of awareness about the way of life in the developing world, and the development schemes that are in store.

  • Comment number 30.

    #29 >> India is very unhygienic in many parts

    No. It is unhygienic in every part except possibly the Himalayas.

    PS Like I said, nationalistic fetal position.

  • Comment number 31.

    "... India had everything to make CWG successful, we had the money, we had the manpower, but the right people were not involved or maybe the organizing committee did not want to involve professionals due to their own selfish reasons. ..."

    I heard and read comments like this for the last several weeks, here in Delhi. They all essentially suggest that politicians are at fault. No, unfortunately, that is not the case. This is an institutional problem, i.e., this country as a whole has a problem, and I take an example.

    Let's say that you need business cards. You go see a printer and ask him to make 500 cards for you ASAP. The printer will tell you, "Oh, I'll get them done and deliver them to you tomorrow." "Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow ..." You know that you'll not have these cards by tomorrow, not in Delhi.

    So, you say, generally speaking, printers in India are uneducated people. Ok, that's kind of true, but you know what? Everyone speaks like this. You go to a bank (like the premier bank ICICI) and try to open a bank account. Even the branch manager tells you, "Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow ..." (This actually happened to me.) You will not have your bank account tomorrow, and you know it.

    Kalmadi is one of the most hated persons in India now, but you know what? He actually speaks just like the rest of the Indians. He actually keeps saying, "Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow ..."

    To be fair, this is not a matter of culture. This is only a reflection of the given socioeconomic environment, and I'd risk saying that all major industrial nations went through this stage. But in India, this is still present, not past.

  • Comment number 32.

    Indians are often not aware, unless they've spent significant time abroad, that India is an unhygienic place.

    >> I have never been outside of India and I am totally aware of it, as is every body I know. So you started of wrongly

    Not only is uncollected waste and untreated sewage allowed to fester in the open, but the drinking water delivered to residents is also astronomically high in microbes.

    >> Nothing much wrong there, except for the fact that there are certain things which we call as water purifiers, unless you start to question the quality of those machines too.

    Many Indians, consequently, have endemic amoebic dysentery, which in turn exacerbates the malnutrition problem in India by not allowing nutrients to be properly absorbed.

    >> "Many", that's a convenient term to use, isn't it? How much exactly is "many".

    Moreover, outdoor defecation has been prevalent in India for so long, that the country has the highest concentration among all countries of fecal coliform bacteria in its subsoil water.

    >> While I agree with what you say, but why are you saying it here. In what way is the E.coli related to these games.

    If the news of the Australian and English swimmers falling sick with tummy trouble does nothing other than generating some awareness that India needs to filter its drinking water more rigorously, to treat its sewage, to build toilets for its citizens, and to urge its citizens to use them--it will have done a signal service.

    >> I laughed out loud after reading this, and a few of my friends are laughing too at you and the British people in general who have no idea what it's like to be in India. How you cleverly ignored the point I made in my previous post.

    Unfortunately, however, India is also equally likely to relapse into a nationalistic fetal position and point the finger back at the bearers of bad news.

    >> Never once am I saying that India is setting the examples of hygiene, whereas I agree that many places are borderline gross, but what I don't agree for once that this is something that these games have taught us. We are far too aware of the situation in our country, and slowly the steps are being taken to rectify these problems. The facts you pointed out were correct, but the points you made were rather comical or plain stupid.


    No. It is unhygienic in every part except possibly the Himalayas.

    >> Clearly you know more about my country than I do. Thanks for pointing that out. Again this does nothing but shows the lack of knowledge you have.


    PS Like I said, nationalistic fetal position.

    >> Well, I had to write something after your post bordering on the idiotic.

  • Comment number 33.

    Michael Selby10 wrote:

    Your comment just gets to show your lack of knowledge about other countries. Hygiene might be a new mantra for the west but it has been part of our lives for centuries. I agree there are issues regarding public hygiene, but that is because of the lackluster attitude of the political and bureaucratic system in India. Make sure you are fully aware of the history of a country and its people before you make judgements of such nature.


  • Comment number 34.

    Ravi: If the preparations at CWG have left lot to be desired for, then frankly, so has been the behaviour and attitude of some of the guest nations, specially Australia, Britain and Canada. These countries have built a lot of negative emotions among Indians, and frankly, Indians will return it with interest when time comes.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Loved the last sentence!!! The western media is mostly biased but I do accept some of the negative criticism positively. Can the brits or the Ozees still manage to stop their jobs coming over to India???...hahahahaha ..never ..not by winning golds or not even by negatively portraying India!! Thats the whole agenda of the Western Media....i.e. blow things out of Proportion...ask the westerners who come and live in the shoddiest part of Delhi like Pahar Ganj in Delhi???? why do they do that?? And then you expect 7 star treatment for your athletese for free??? The facilities provided to them are indeed 5 star if not 7. Its the biggest political propaganda not being played sportingly by the western countries. There are issiues with every big event and esp when you're doing it for the first time. I agree, we seriously need to sort out few things about our politicians and the incompetent guys that were made responsible for the games. the bridge that collapsed was made by a british company..c'mon dont u have bridges falling??? I remember I was in UK and there was news all over about the NI bridge that collapsed in the sea???

    Bullsh*t...mentality! think big...dont be foolish.

  • Comment number 35.

    raghuram - "Your comment just gets to show your lack of knowledge about other countries. Hygiene might be a new mantra for the west but it has been part of our lives for centuries. I agree there are issues regarding public hygiene, but that is because of the lackluster attitude of the political and bureaucratic system in India. Make sure you are fully aware of the history of a country and its people before you make judgements of such nature."

    West, west, west. Somehow, it's perfectly ok to categorize all European countries, US, Canada, Australia and the rest into 'West,' yet when the rest of the world talks about India as one country, which it is, Indians yell and scream that India has a great diversity and what have you ...

    Let me ask you this. Have you been inside the kitchen in a hotel in Delhi? I have. Tell me, do they wash their hands using soap? Can you find soap there? You cannot find soap, and not surprisingly, they do not wash their hands using soap. They don't use dish soap to wash dishes, either.

    History??? Culture??? This is not a matter of history or culture. This is absolutely unhygenic. It's filthy. This, quite literally, spreads variety of diseases.

  • Comment number 36.

    Varun - "... And then you expect 7 star treatment for your athletese for free??? The facilities provided to them are indeed 5 star if not 7. ..."

    Have you ever been to the place where Games Village is located? I have, many times. And do you know if there is a 5 hotel there? Or 3 star hotel? None whatsoever. A decent apartment nearby? No. Behind the levee, yes, but not inside. Why? Because this is a horrible place to build a residential complex. Have you been there recently? Even today, the surrounding area is flooded; the water has not receded.

    Games Village is a poor accommodation just from the location standpoint.

  • Comment number 37.

    raghuram - "... I cannot understand why you guys had to wait till the eve of the games to splash all the photos depicting the negative side of a country. ..."

    If you don't understand it, I'll tell you why. Have you seen banners put up all over the city (in Delhi NCR)? And I'm asking if you saw them with your own eyes; I'm not talking about photos posted on blogs. Quite clearly, a substantial number of Indians are ashamed of the reality of their country. Vast vast slums, horrendous infrastructure, etc., etc., etc. Now, slums do exist in many, many countries. India is not the only country that faces this problem. However, Indians, especially, the upper class (i.e., those who post comments here) are incapable of acknowledging it. They keep denying it. They essentially say it does not exist. Banners are a symbol. They do whatever they can to hide it, to ignore it, to pretend that it does not exist. This is why what-you-call the western media is obliged to talk about it. Get it?

  • Comment number 38.

    Roll on the 2012 London olympics

    TRADERS are demanding compensation to help them survive during the 2012 roadworks blitz in Weymouth and Portland.

    http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/8442391.Weymouth_traffic_chaos__Traders_demand_compensation/

    Quangos are at loggerheads over legacy of the Games

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23883965-quangos-are-at-loggerheads-over-legacy-of-the-games.do

    London Olympic Park: businesses fight for compensation

    Three years since the capital won the right to stage the 2012 Olympic Games, dozens of businesses that had to make way for the Olympic Park in East London are still fighting for compensation.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/olympics/london_2012/article4053975.ece

    Thats all about Olympics for now and Lets see how well the Glasgow games are going to be organised.

 

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