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Delhi delights - now for the hard bit

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Tom Fordyce | 17:59 UK time, Sunday, 3 October 2010

Commonwealth Games, Delhi.

As celebrations go, the atmosphere was delightful, verging on delirious. Over almost three humid hours in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium a Commonwealth Games that at several points over the past two years had looked perilously close to being stillborn finally sprang to kicking, caterwauling life.

There was pomp, there was partying, there was national pride by the bucketful. Flags fluttered. Horns were honked, tablas tapped. A 100m-high tree sprouted into the sky. The infield filled with thousands of sweaty, strangely-suited athletes from Ghana to Guernsey, Scotland to Samoa.

If you wanted to be dazzled dizzy by it all, it was all there for you. Bollywood film directors hundreds of miles to the south-west would have watched this spectacular, looked at their own forthcoming epics and suddenly felt rather overshadowed.

And if you wanted to look past the frenzied fun and fireworks? On the night that was supposed to see giddy celebration replace shoddy preparation, only occasionally did the troubled build-up to these games come creeping through the cracks.

Central to Sunday's ceremony was an enormous aerostat or helium balloon, a vast inflatable backdrop to all the light and noise and supposedly the largest of its kind anywhere in the world.

Entertainers perform underneath a giant aerostat at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Entertainers perform underneath a giant aerostat at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Photo : Getty Images

On a night rich with symbolism, both in the tangible shape of the giant Indian flags created on the stadium floor by hundreds of dancers and in the sense that the eyes of much of the world were on the country's capital, the looming presence of the balloon was impossible to ignore.

The hosts are duty-bound to produce something spectacular at an opening ceremony. Failure to shock and awe, to set a few world records off the track as well as on it, gives the impression of a country struggling to pay its way at the top table.

Throughout the festivities the aerostat looked amazing, a mesmerising bauble glittering in the sticky night sky. At the same time, spending almost £10m on a giant balloon in a country when so many try to live on less than a pound a day could only kick up uncomfortable moral questions.

Seated high in the stands it was easy to be swept away with the boisterous nationalism, the sense that all the nightmares of the build-up had been worth it.

In the Bangali Sweet House, a mile or so from upmarket Connaught Place, the mood was similarly upbeat, even as few bothered watching the pictures on the television set in the corner.

"I'm so excited," shopkeeper Girish Aggarwal told a BBC colleague. "It's a special thing, we will prove ourselves to the world. "It's not Delhi, it's the whole of India. Everyone is feeling proud."

Chirayo Acharya agreed with him. "Many people were feeling let down by the negative news but now it's started, let's get on with it. It shows the world that Delhi is a global city and can deliver the Games."

Further afield, though, the mood was noticeably different. Two hours away from the stadium is a rough shanty-town suburb called Bawana, where some of the estimated 140,000 families forcibly evicted to make room for the athletes' village were re-settled.

To say it is a world away from the glitz and glamour of the opening ceremony is something of an understatement. Muhammad Salem lives in a small shack made of wood and plastic sheeting, with an electricity supply that is intermittent at best.

"Life was better before," he said the day before the festivities. "There were hospitals and the roads were better there. There are no jobs here and crime has increased. We're happy the Games are in India, but we haven't benefited at all."

The shanty-town suburb Bawana, two hours outside Delhi

The shanty-town suburb Bawana, two hours outside Delhi

Zaki Ahmed is a doctor at a local clinic. He too was re-settled when the land for the athletes' village was requisitioned; the tiniest portion of that aerostat's cost would make an enormous difference to his life and those of the patients he treats.

'It's hard to get hold of medicines here," he said. "The Government hasn't done any spraying of mosquitoes in the area, and 80% of people here have typhoid, malaria or dengue fever."

For miles around the stadium all day long, streets were empty of the usual hassle and bustle, the only moving presence the thousands of security staff who have been the most visible sign of the Commonwealths in the last two days.

The numbers are vast - 28,378 policemen, 5,000 paramilitaries, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 300 sniffer dogs, 80 radiation meters and 15 bomb disposal squads - and if the organisers cannot be blamed for the wider political problems that require such measures, it can only be an unsettling sight at an event known as the Friendly Games.

Then there's the bums-on-seats issue. It's one thing kicking off with a rousing opening ceremony, quite another making the days that follow just as memorable. So far, only 250,000 of almost 1.7m tickets have been sold. That's a lot of ghostly venues, and a lot of anti-climactic finals.

These games as a whole will cost India somewhere between £3bn and £4bn, depending on which estimate you prefer, a staggering 60 times the original budget.

Should those vast sums, added to the stories of ordinary Delhites like Muhammad and Zaki, detract from the extraordinary atmosphere inside the stadium when Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra led the Indian team out?

The feelings of many Indians seemed to be encapsulated by the reception given to Suresh Kalmadi, head of the organising committee, when he took to the rostrum just after the home team had completed their rapturous lap of the infield.

As his face appeared on the giant screens, whistles and boos rang out around the stadium, reflecting the embarrassment many had felt over the crisis-hit preparations and worldwide headlines of the past fortnight, the same mortification that had led the Tribune newspaper to refer to "a national shame" and the Deccan Chronicle to "a bunch of inept, inefficient and corrupt administrators".

When Kalmadi looked up and stated, "India is ready," that derision turned to roars of approval. When he followed that by reminding those watching that, "We have the second fastest-growing economy in the world," the cheers got even louder.

Big multi-sport events are as much about showcasing the host nation as they are about mere sport. Two summers ago in Beijing we kept hearing that the Olympics were China's coming-out party. These Commonwealths, and the Olympics that the organisers hope might follow in 2020, are meant to serve the same purpose for a similarly booming nation.

"INDIA! INDIA" yelled the thousands around the stadium in unison as Prince Charles rose to read the Queen's address. The message could not have been clearer.

This was a night for forgetting the painful gestation, for postponing any worries about the quality of the sport we might witness over the next 11 days or the importance of the Commonwealth Games in a rapidly-changing 21st century world.

All those issues are still there. Come Monday, Usain Bolt will still be in Jamaica, Jessica Ennis in Sheffield, David Rudisha in Kenya. Muhammad will still be stranded in Bawana.

What's changed is that, along with the comical tales of cobras under athletes' beds and sobering stories of corruption, collapsing bridges and missing stars, there is finally a genuine sense of excitement in the Delhi air.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Why do people insist on saying something country is perfect and we have our flaws as well...LIKE ALL COUNTRIES HAVE please just focus on the event and not come up with some other side stories...proud of what my country for an amazing opening ceremony...

  • Comment number 2.

    Try to visit hackney for once ....and ask the question why we play football ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow, you have managed to find negatives even on the evening when India showcassed arguably the best opening to any games ever. Well done!

  • Comment number 4.

    Why is this media reports only the negative thing of any other country. We should try to see more positive things about the spectacular opening ceremony amidst all the issues and concerns. Come on guys do not still think India is in poverty and woes. India has moved long way ahead, try to see the positive side of India rather than giving more focus on the negative aspects.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yesterday while watching the news saying `CWG opening ceremony tomorrow` I thought long and hard as to how would the british media report it...One thing about India is that they know how to make things colourful. I couldnt help but think `WILL IT BE A PICTURE OF A COLOURFUL OPENING CEREMONY ALONG WITH EITHER A PICTURE OF SLUM OR POOR DIRTY CHILDREN IN STREET!` you know just to balance it. Ahoy and I got it right!!! Also the comment of `Spending 70 crores on a balloon when children in the streets earn less than a pound a day` is such a cliche that it gets outright boring. Would the author `NOT HAVE A PINT OF BEER DUE TO THE WELLING UP OF SORROWFUL EMOTIONS ABOUT ALL THOSE BRITISHERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS IN RECESSION AND IS STRUGGLING TO MEET THEIR ENDS????? I doubt!!

  • Comment number 6.

    A word about Jessica Enis and David Rudisha.....I wish they had chosen to go to a country where Millions live and breath everyday I maybe poverty, searing heat, humidity..but they do live...I guess these athletes needs rosecarpets to run along, to show their `talent`. The true athletes are there...competing in India

  • Comment number 7.

    Yup true, India is poor, they shouldn't have staged this mega event. I dont think Mr PM David Cameron is aware of all this, as just recently took biggest ever delegation to India in the hope to persuade Indian business men and Indian Govt to increase trade. Looking at so many spending cuts Government is making, should they cancel Olympics plan and spend all the money education, school building, care homes etc?

  • Comment number 8.

    Atleast it was better than the handover ceremony that London organised at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics

  • Comment number 9.

    Grow up BBC! As goes a saying in India, there is no cure to balding and jealousy. This article is clearly a demonstration of the the latter. You guys clapped with joy when things were going wrong few days ago and now when India did finally put up this fantabulous act all you could do to bring her down is to bring out the negatives outside the purview of the games. Stop it guys!!!

    Sometimes I do feel that Indian tolerance is taken for granted by the world. If only we could enforce the stringent media laws as done by China!! But all said and done the beauty of India lies in her tolerance and humble acceptance of her richness as well and shortcomings. Hail India!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    For once can the media and the critics just see the positives? the the diversity, the wonderfully showcased Indian culture needs to be applauded!!
    I am working with demotivated,utterly obnoxious dependent on the benefits young 18-24 year Brits (with some youngsters having had even 40 convictions at this age) ..Is everything so wonderful here in the UK?
    Can you for once appreciate a good thing when u see it?I AM PROUD TO BE INDIAN
    Jai Hind!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Well the media loves stories and fortunately or unfortunately in a nation of 1.2 billion people and diversity and complexity not seen in any other part of the world...there are bound to be debacles and successes! A couple of things here.. the games were definitely ill-managed by the Indian authorities, no one can defend that!..The expenditure however is justified..there are poor people everywhere..the symbolism of the games together with the promotion of sports in a nation ( i remind again of 1.2 billion people) has been a grave cause of concern and surprise..I hope the games will cultivate a desire in the people of India to take to sports in a better way..As for the balloon I think that is unnecessary criticism ...just for the sake of creating a buzz in the piece...It will take a lot of years for India to eradicate poverty...doing so in such a diverse land is full of challenges...what one should consider though is the positive steps that India has taken in the last few decades...India is improving albeit slowly but affirmatively! If the games instills 14 days of pride in 1.2 Billion people then an expenditure of any number of billions is worth it! If it brings the nation together and unifies people then the expenditure is worth it! Lastly I personally feel that the commonwealth games as a whole is a sham concept in that its just a handful of countries who fail to do well at the Olympics in anycase...And an archaic tradition of India's bitter colonial past...Lastly India should invest in its athletes and sports and the amount of expense made in showcasing this event..I again personally feel that it would have been well spend in investing in sportsmen and sporting infrastructure across the country!

  • Comment number 12.

    Tom, have you ever read evening standards efforts to highlight stories about people living in poverty in london..people travel early at 4:00 to avoid travel charges and fighting for living wages. I am sure you wont bother to write this when you are during london 2012 or well there could be a magic and everyone in london will become millionaires.. Warm up mate..and have a nice time and enjoy indian hospitality for a while..

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Yes, India has poverty. Yes, games are expensive. Yes, corruption is there. But India is on the move. Growing faster than most of the developed world. 4th largest economy despite low per capita income (not so low on a PPP basis). UK gets more investment from India than vice versa. These events bring about investments in infrastructure and benefits fo many years beyond the games.

    As an Indian I am proud of the fact that for a change people are getting jealous and will not leave the ageold paradigm of showing India as a country of snake charmers.

    The best way to deal with it - just ignore and move forward. Jai Ho.

  • Comment number 15.

    India has shown a very good dispaly. BBC please know who is President Of India. All BBC negative media hmmmmmmmmm.

  • Comment number 16.

    Absolutely pathetic article. Did not expect BBC to get down at this level to intentionally pick up negative points especially which has nothing to do with games. This is the sports section, and i would have liked the article to focus on sports rather than hospitals,economy, etc.
    This time the game is hosting the max no. of atheletes ever in CWG - 6700. It was undoubtly the best opening ceromony and was India's answer to world media for most of the rumours it spread and exxagerated about the village not 'livable'. For once simply accept that we have put a good show!

  • Comment number 17.

    You are just impossible to please, aren't you?
    What do you mean by uncomfortable moral questions regarding the helium baloon? surely, the money spent on it has lead to job creation either within india or wherever that baloon is manufactured, and to my mind that is a good thing! Or would you rather that the opening ceremony was simple welcome message and a prayer taking india's poverty problem into account?

    Also, whilst we are on the subject are you going to suggest to the world via your blog that London should not host the 2012 olympics in the face of the spending cuts that Cameron & Clegg are having to make? Otherwise there might be some "uncomfortable moral questions" that you might struggle with later on. To me it's only fair that you do so, now that you have taken this view on the cwg.

  • Comment number 18.

    So typical of western world to keep criticising! Can I sense intimidation? They still think of themselves as kings when the kingdom has gone. And for the answer to the question why spend money when millions are starving - Do you not understand that these games can improve the economy of the city, better infrastructure and facilities to millions of citizens.

  • Comment number 19.

    The media including BBC should hang their head in shame reporting negative stuffs about India. The opening ceremoney was truly spectacular. Unfortnately, Britain can not organise an even like this, partly they lack enthusiasm, passion and energy. Need to wakeup the reality of 21st centrury and accept India/China are emerging super power while country like Britain are slow decays.

  • Comment number 20.

    Stumped at this article appearing on a BBC site.

    Anyone who covers India routinely knows - or should know - that parallel realities exist in this country.

    Perhaps that comes of there being a billion and a quarter of us.

    Some of us are poor, others not. Some of us are literate, others not. Some of us care about the games, others not.

    India's parallel realities mean there will always be poverty to rival extravagance; showmanship to rival neglect; achievement to rival inadequacy.

    Both are our realities - and neither is less real than the other.

    Tonight - despite what we don't do, or don't have, as a country, we're proud of what we CAN do, and DO have.

    Indians were the first to blast the Games Organizing Committee when we felt they fouled up. We're not blind to what went wrong.

    Just as we're not blind to something going right.

    And if the layered reality that is India is outside the comprehension of those who report on it, it's a sad reflection on what the BBC DOES have by way of impartial reporters.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think its becoming fashion for people to go and find pictures of some indian slums to make their blogs more visible - wish they could take efforts thinking wisely about the quality of contents. It only goes to show the author couldnt find a flaw in the ceremony and came up with the picture and the indian poverty rubbish. Just goes on to show the westerners are feeling a bit in-secured about india's progress.

  • Comment number 22.

    There really isn't any point in repeatedly pointing out the inconvenient facts about how spending money on such things actually stimulates the economy and infrastructure, creates jobs and ultimately works towards chipping away at poverty. They will simply go in one ear and out the other while these cliched and ill-conceived criticisms are endlessly regurgitated in perpetuity. Reality, perspective and even just plain facts to the contrary are an irritation for such people and to be summarily ignored.

    Better to save your energies by remembering the sad truth that these people couldn't give a flying fig about the "poor" in India, whom they view with about as much contempt as the well-off. It is simply a convenient stick with which to beat "third-worlders" and the Indians in particular and, for as long as possible, keep alive that laughably delusional but fast-dwindling sense of racial and cultural superiority they still feverishly grip to like a tatty old comfort blanket.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ever since the commonwealth games have started the news correspondence from the bbc have made it a point to make my country look small. From the over hype of the athletes accommodation to roads in Delhi. The bbc news correspondence have made no effort to praise where Delhi is and how things have progressed.
    Today is a very joyous day for every Indian not only in India but also worldwide. This very cynical article which I presume is meant to cover the opening games has once again highlighted what your correspondent feels and thinks. Below the picture you have had the audacity to place a the picture of a slum. These are 2 different issues all together. Why don't you also place pictures of all the issues India faces alongside like traffic and overcrowding.
    The bottom line is India has delivered and has shocked the world. The grandness of our ceremony has left your correspondent star-struck. The satisfaction of each facility has been confirmed by all the atheletes interviewed from the commonwealth.
    I think you need to regulated what you say about my city and country. Poverty and CWG are not the same issues. One is a new facet of India and the latter will be an old way of life in due course as India continues to develop, educate its populous and emerge as a superpower. India rocks and Delhi has delivered (Certainly to your correspondences shock !, which is very apparent from the tone of his article which of course represents his views. I'm also confused as to whether the BBC regulates what gets published on your website. But you know what, we Indian's don't give a toss about your biased opinions)

  • Comment number 24.

    Tom! Grow up and be matured enough!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    lol at you tom, like many of the people above me i think india has put one of the best shows this year, but you are really doing your best to bring it down. the show was done by normal people from all over india and it was better that way than having big bollywood stars. i'm soo proud of all the people who made this possible with limited time.indians are aware of our problems and we are trying to solve them, slowly but surely. why don't you appreciate something for once.
    BUT GUYS LETS NOT BLAME THE BBC, their coverage of the opening ceremony was great, especially the commentators like Huw Edwards. BBC is one of the best sports websites in the world, respect to the guys who put in soo much time to make this works.

    p:s anyway i have read some of you blogs about rugby, and to be honest i probably have alot more knowledge about the subject than you have, and you should give up your job mate.

  • Comment number 26.

    Tom may I ask are you political reporter or you trying to do reporting on commonwealth. By showing and telling that most Indians live on a pound a day ..what are you trying to say..That India shouldn't have organized the Games. Its completely day Media says that game village is not up to the mark..India should be ashamed..Second day say They spent so much money on Grand Opening Cermony ..they should be ashamed..God you guys are hypocrite...Are you planning to show roads of some parts of Liverpool, Bradford, or peckham..when the Olympics come to show the world class facilities..guess not..

  • Comment number 27.

    It is extremely disappointing to note the 'efforts' put in by the author to find a 'neagtive' in an article intended to describe the opening ceremony. To read about his 'moral questions' is extremely frustrating. Authros like these seem to preserve their 'morals' for developing countries and apply them as per their whims and fancies. It is an attitude which is abundant in the Western media, especially the British and the American media. It appears that many in Britain still consider India to be a "third world country","with potholes, dengue, poverty" and nothign else. The earlier these people start looking at the positives associated, the better will be their understanding of India.

  • Comment number 28.

    As you said Tom you cover varity of sports but i can't really understand what makes you think you can brag about it anyhow ? There are more people in Train/Bus and travelling on road than All UK population. Grow-up man, things are much more positive than what you can ever think off, I love to see you reaction on your blog post sometime, if you have any guts.

  • Comment number 29.

    Morality? I simply cannot understand how hypocritical can you get? After looting half of the world for 2 centuries, taking away what was never yours & building the foundation of your "civilized" society on ruthless imperialism its funny you even mention the word. India has its problems and they are being taken care of. Corrupt administrators are a part of them. But atleast we are a democracy where people still have a voice. Its not like the West where people follow "consumerism" as a religion and pity the 3rd world while having beer. Lastly, your problems are worse than ours. Crime for e.g. takes place in India out of poverty & desperation unlike Britain where its the favourite "cool" pastime of overfed sloths living off government support.

  • Comment number 30.

    who says Britain is a 1st world country? Are you kidding? Go to hackney and peckahm and see poverty there? Besides, the road in Britainan are so narrow even two cars can ot go at a time. You call this world class infrastructure?? Britain has never managed a single even successfully. Any one who knows Heathrow T5 fiascos knows about the reality in Britain. Utterly Dull country.

  • Comment number 31.

    What double standards by the BBC? First you had to come out with something like " Is the games going to happen at all". Now that it has happened well, you just couldn't help bring out "the poverty in India". It is not as if the country has been made poor by these events. Thanks to our erstwhile rulers, the British, who plundered the nation and then left us to rot when you could not afford rebuild ur nation after the worl war, u ust have some ethics to talk about all these.. By the way, where were you guys when the common man in Britain was losing his home and his job while your politicians were busy giving themselves raise after raise! Go figure that out first before you even bother about being the moral police! If you are that bothered, what has BBC ever done to alleviate this poverty in India? Put your money where your mouth is first!

  • Comment number 32.

    'At the same time, spending almost £10m on a giant balloon in a country when so many try to live on less than a pound a day could only kick up uncomfortable moral questions'
    Interesting. Was just wondering if Tom still remembers the 'wobbly' millennium bridge, the while elephant millennium dome, and the panic over future of Olympic Village !!! Like we say, what you say will come back to you.

  • Comment number 33.

    India's investments in Britan is GBP 11 bn. Do you know about Tatas and Birlas who are partially supporting British economy? Dont talk rubbish about India. Britain is a socialist country and dont try to impose socialism n other countries. What haas Britain achieved ? 1/3 rd population lives on doles. Time to change attitude and appreciate positive things in the world. The spin is not gonna work.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lets wait and see if Tom will respond to these comments.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have seen and read Tom's reports before as well and at times he is out of depth. Why do we talk about poverty here? England is also hosting olympics, they are undergoing through recession, job loses and unemployment, why dont they pull out of that?

    It is a pathetic post but BBC as a whole have been supportive of India. I watched the ceremony on BBC and commentators were full of praise.

  • Comment number 36.

    Although it is true that India faces a lot of challenges but that does not mean that we can not celebrate our culture, history, and future.India was perhaps the least affected country from the worldwide Recession. Our stocks are one again touching new peaks everyday. Our government policies are perhaps the most inclusive in the world for a non communist country.Not to mention the political freedom we have that allows even the weakest sections of our society to express themselves.We have a media which is highly non-partisan even if a bit over the top.That's not to say that we are a perfect country but if you will look to the history of our world, you will recognize the patterns which signal that we are the super-power elect of the world. Our country will rise and with it so will our people.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well done India on a fabulous opening show!
    Will there be any Indians on the podium though?

  • Comment number 38.

    Shame on you BBC! I have decided never to read any of your articles again. Will block your website on my browser.

  • Comment number 39.

    Well, Selling stories is one thing and telling the truth is other... The modern media is doing the first, not only here in UK but actually all over the world, including India.

    Poverty (in relative terms), debt and different financial levels exist all over the world including rich countries and poor. In reality, Governments are fighting to square these in Europe, Asia, Africa and in America specially in the UK. It doesn't mean than Organising Olympics and CW is useless expenditure.

    Accepted, there were delays and issues with the game, honestly those things shouldn't have happened. I support media to expose those issues. But the Opening what India put today was awesome. I am not comparing this with any other ceremony but this was unique and spectacular. Well this is not some news which many media would like to sell as it is, the reason is there no spice involved in this. So the comparison of two pictures may potentially attract reader. (Like myself)

    Well I waiting now to see once the game finishes successfully what new story would be built to sell the news... Poor media,,, Grow up.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    Shame Shame on you BBC!!! You comment on how India will have spend by the end of it.No where did you mention the returns from the games and after. It was a magnicent opening ceremony. All you have done so far were the conditions of the toilets and work not finished!. Now eat your words and apologise.

    Wait and see 2012 games. A budgeted figure of 3Billions stg has now balooned into 10Billion. Who wants to bet it will not ende up at 13billion?
    I for one would not be sorry if England mess up the 2012 games. They have all the bad qulities to achive that Jai Hind

  • Comment number 42.

    Let me ask you one thing, If the world is very much concerned about poverty, then why we are spending billions of dollars every year to buy nuclear arms?

    I really don't know why people are overacting when a country like India doing something fantastic...pity on you guys

  • Comment number 43.

    i just wana say "GROWWWW UPPP BBC" and "TOM" and other people like this TOM SHOM

  • Comment number 44.

    love all post above sticking up for india. come on tom, respond to these posts and show that you have guts.

  • Comment number 45.

    How about giving Prince Charles and his troop a Bed & Breakfast accommodation so that the money saved from their expensive stay be used in a more useful way, perhaps to buy mosquito nets for Bawana residents?

    I'm sure Tom would have got an ego boost after publishing the article. It really hurts when a Third world country does get a bot of attention, doesn't it?

  • Comment number 46.

    i'm adding this article to my bookmarks, to remind myself there are actually people like you in the world

  • Comment number 47.

    Enough of these cliched pictures and comments about India. It is time to move on and focus on positives. You are looking at the glass half empty. It's a pity BBC has journalist like you.

  • Comment number 48.

    A pathetic article from BBC. A perfect example of bogus journalism..

  • Comment number 49.

    commmonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn india

  • Comment number 50.

    THEBIGFOOT :- ~(y)

    How about giving Prince Charles and his troop a Bed & Breakfast accommodation so that the money saved from their expensive stay be used in a more useful way, perhaps to buy mosquito nets for Bawana residents?

  • Comment number 51.

    Perhaps the only way we can force the British media to give up its wearisomely predictable cynicism is to just have nothing to report on. So let's cancel all future major sporting events, please. Let's also cancel the London Olympics, because I am sure some negative angle will be found on the day of the opening ceremony (or do different rules apply when the event is held in an 'oh so important' developed country, like the "condescendingly superior" UK?)

    For goodness sake, is it really just not possible to celebrate with India on the day it showcases its culture and vibrancy to the world?

    It's a very sad fact that at a time when other countries are developing a more positive view of themselves, my country (the UK) is slipping backwards into an insipid culture of cynicism and cultural blandness. I heard one of our commentators say towards the end of the ceremony (it may have been Steve Cram) that the 'real business' of the games begins tomorrow. What an incredibly patronising thing to say to the Indian hosts!

    The real business of the games has begun today. Anyone who can't see that, just doesn't 'get' it, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 52.

    Dear all, we should complain to the BBC for hurting nationalistic sentiments and stop this propaganda about other countries. Who is with me?

  • Comment number 53.

    Grow up BBC & Tom!
    always we do was magnicent opening ceremony...would like to visit India..good work!

  • Comment number 54.

    Did you really need to cover the negative aspects in this particular post? We have had negatives for 2-3 weeks now, and after this spectacular ceremony, I think you were duty bound to give India a break. Frankly, all of you guys are reiterating the same negatives over ad over again. For example, you BBC guys keep mentioning the creaks and cracks of the accommodation even this morning and yet every interview I have heard or read from the athletes themselves, have usually been positive and appreciative.

  • Comment number 55.

    I AM WITH YOU "darth_vader_74"

  • Comment number 56.

    Dear Tom,
    Yes India has poverty.
    Yes India has corroption.
    Because India does not invade other countries for their resource as Great Britain does. You are rich because most of your wealth is stolen from countries like India and Africa using brutal force.

    Your country was using force 200 years ago, and it is still using now in Iraq for oil.

    So please come of your moral high ground and look within.

    India is improving and will lead.

  • Comment number 57.

    Thank you Tom ... you made my day. Now stand in queue behind your penny begging PM Cameron

  • Comment number 58.

    this really hurts every national of india. whatever it may be, thanking you for your effective coverage

  • Comment number 59.

    After watching the whole ceremony live and then reading this article, I think I have "uncomfortable moral questions" about BBC!

    Here's one for "darth_vader_74"

  • Comment number 60.

    I can see the 'complain about this comment' link. Is there a 'complain about this blog' link?

  • Comment number 61.

    In India 1 pound is enough to have great breakfast, lunch and dinner. We produce all types of food items on our own.

    One more thing, India has never invaded another country in its thoudands of years of history and whatever we have now are made on our own with our own resources.

  • Comment number 62.

    Superb ,thoughtful and inventive opening ceremony showcasing the ideals,heritage and contribution India has made to the world.Beijing may have been technically superior but India showed the warmth,the joy ,the heart which on the whole typifies the country.All Indians will be proud with the show and will ignore the typical small and narrow-mindedness of the reporter's blog.

  • Comment number 63.

    BBC, people here want answers !

  • Comment number 64.

    on bbc news, "prince charles opens the commonwealth games", no he did it with president patil as well, pure bias

  • Comment number 65.

    Disappointed to see my TV License go in blogs like these.

  • Comment number 66.

    we are waiting for a reply tom, or are you chicken?

  • Comment number 67.

    Come on Mr. Tom Fordyce.... You should feel the feelings of Indians (from all these comments). We have started to hate you.

  • Comment number 68.

    My genuinely questioning comment was referred for moderation. Probably because I demanded a complaint to BBC. I am not a person to use rude words and never have and will. I feel this is entirely unneccessary especially when the primary article was printed by BBC. Maybe Tom has someting to do with it. In anycase I will request the moderator to release my comment and Iam sending BBC a complaint letter.

  • Comment number 69.

    db-notts (@ 62) -

    "Superb, thoughtful and inventive opening ceremony showcasing the ideals, heritage and contribution India has made to the world. Beijing may have been technically superior but India showed the warmth, the joy, the heart which on the whole typifies the country. All Indians will be proud with the show and will ignore the typical small and narrow-mindedness of the reporter's blog."

    I totally agree with everything you have written.

    I am English, by the way, and I wish my tax funded media would also take a more positive view. It's not a lot to ask.

  • Comment number 70.

    Does Tom Fordyce raise the real issues as a sports reporter? Or is trying to be journalist to show he has grasp of the big issues?
    Clearly he fails at both in this case.

  • Comment number 71.

    Answer up Tom ? I guess he's at the afterparty and enjoying my city's hospitality.

  • Comment number 72.

    Pathetic article. Typical BBC style - whenever any developing nations do something, they are quick to pounce on their back; typical examples - should india be in space/nuclear programmes, host costly games etc.

    Grow up and get a life! Lets see how you guys cover the London Olympics. Lets see if we see two pics - one of opening ceremony and one with a jobless irish/scot/brit in the same article...

  • Comment number 73.

    71 people aren't happy and counting

  • Comment number 74.

    Let us forget about the centre piece of the national sport of the UK, good old Wembley stadium, please remind me how late that was? also remind me how much over-budget did they go?

    A rather pathetic article in attempt to trying to stir up some talk, maybe, or maybe just confused???

  • Comment number 75.

    Tom, why is it so unpalatable to your british sensibilities when a new kid on the block has the temerity to put on such a show? Perhaps because it doesn't fit with your ideas of beggars and street charmers roaming the streets of a filthy land..No one denies there is a dark underbelly of poverty, corruption and nepotism in India, but perhaps it is because (not inspite) of this that people have a right to joyous escapism once in a while, without feeling guilty all the time..
    I shall wait to see your 'unbiased' reporting in 4 years' time when i somehow doubt your headlines will be about the hundreds of thousands of glaswegians who live on state benefits..Also, does it not raise uncomfortable moral questions when you have presumably gone to india to cover a sports event on licence payers' money, live in a plush hotel suite away from the 'madding crowds of locals' and all you can write about is the poverty of those resettled? Basic journalistic etiquette should have meant you tried to get the other side of the story from the government, did you bother to corroborate any of the statements made by the displaced?
    Like it or not, there are many layers to India, you can choose to see what you want...

  • Comment number 76.

    It seems pretty clearly suggested from the comments here, that a sizeable majority of internet-using Indians do not really give a toss about the poverty in their country, and are much more interested in the gaudy international vacuity-fest that is the Commonwealth Games.

    140,000 families forcibly evicted to make way for the athletes village? Haha - who cares - they weren't our families. 80% of people at the resettlement camp have typhoid, malaria or dengue? Who gives a monkeys - here's some guy that can run three hundredths of a second faster than someone else.

    Let's look at the positives - like for eaxmple - OUR lives, rather than the lives of the poor and dispossessed, people to whom the Internet access that we enjoy is as meaningless as synchronised swimming.

    This attitude, above all else, is the saddest indictment of these pointless Games. Common wealth? You have to be kidding me.

  • Comment number 77.

    As all of you would have noticed as you signed in.. you would have to agree to some "House Rules" to be followed before you post anything here. If you don't remember then let me refresh them for you (below)

    We reserve the right to fail contributions which

    Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others
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    Describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others

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    The BBC welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our programmes and services but please make sure your comments are in line with the above House Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the public or people who work for the BBC may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and take action against those responsible.

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    I wonder how many of the above "Rules" does Tom's article fail?

  • Comment number 78.

    Some people are easily impressed. Frankly, I find all these Opening Ceremonies childish as each nation tries to better another through a spectacle. I hope come the 2012 Olympics, the Opening Ceremony will be unpretentious & full of things which will go wrong in a funny way, thus highlighting Britain's strength: its eccentricity!
    Aman/Mahatma? Do you read me?

  • Comment number 79.

    _G_K lets not talk about poverty in Delhi. Lets talk about poverty in Britain. Have you been to Hackney and Peckham and see poverty there? Have you seen countless number of people who rely on doles? have you seen their miseries? In a recent article, it was highlighted that Britain has highest number of kids that live a miserable life. Have you observed seriously ill patients in the country die because the waiting time is usually longer than expected?

  • Comment number 80.

    It surprises me to see that all posts are reactively moderated but not the blogs by BBC reporters....

  • Comment number 81.

    Well done Tom. Goes to prove how low BBC in general, you in particular can stoop to. I fully agree with you when you expose the poor state of rooms in the games village, even if it meant showing the rooms, maybe a handful out of hundreds, which were in uninhabitable state.

    But on a day when India put on a spectacular display for the opening ceremony, which debt-ridden, cost-cutting "not-so Great" Britain will find hard to emulate in 2012; you chose to show the poverty levels in a slum which is TWO hours drive from Delhi. You don't have to go TWO hours away from Stratford to see poverty. Hackney, Peckham etc are not too far away.

    Tom, how highly is Britain ranked among countries with large foreign debt?

    BBC and Tom, unless you are hypocrites, I expect you to cover poverty in London during Olympics 2012.

    And moderators, if you are hypocrites too, feel free to stop this from getting published. So much for free speech and TV license fees!

  • Comment number 82.

    G_K_ (@ 76) -

    "It seems pretty clearly suggested from the comments here, that a sizeable majority of internet-using Indians do not really give a toss about the poverty in their country, and are much more interested in the gaudy international vacuity-fest that is the Commonwealth Games."

    So, G K, what are you doing about the poverty in India, then?

    It looks like you're just sitting in front of your computer like all the rest of us.

  • Comment number 83.

    As someone else has remarked, it's the opening ceremony of a sports event and surely not an excuse to fill an article with a diatribe relating to the poverty that exists in India. This is about the Commonwealth Games and not some hackneyed excuse to have a go at India's poverty, something that might be applicable in a political blog but certainly isn't here but hey, it's an easy flash target. Thousands of people were dispersed in South Africa for footballs World Cup and whilst most of us knew that, I don't recall it featuting in the comments on the opening ceremony. In Bejing I don't recall comments having a go at China's povety and appalling human rights record as part of the opening ceremony report. As a white Yorkshireman who has innumerable Indian friends and who who has had the 'Indian' experience regularly (in India) the country is indeed a perplexing, infuriating, diverse, bewildering, wonderful, awe inspiring and above all so incredibley friendly country that is obviously on it's economic way up, and as such will eventually deal with the poverty - it's just going to take time. Just cooment on the ceremoy next time pleae!

  • Comment number 84.

    Bah! I'll bet none of my fellow Indians who are so aggrieved by Tom's post actually lives in Bawana or the myriad other places like it across the country. Those who feel so wretchedly betrayed every time someone from the outside points to the glaring and difficult tensions we face as a largely poor but rapidly developing country, really need to ask why we are so prickly and insecure about the truth. We'd rather be ashamed of our poor and make them invisible to the outside, than actually see them as a mirror, and attempt to change ground realities! India is a great country... but it's really not because it is able to pull off a dazzling, sound and light gig, under a fancy balloon. It will be an even greater country when it's powerful, thriving and currently amnesiac middle-class stops glossing over the hard moral questions, and ditches its desperate bluster about a conveniently imagined nation.

  • Comment number 85.

    grow up from your silly, bordering on insanity , if you you don't like what you see stop reporting mate .... grow up from your double standards .... I can see how pathetic life must be for you to try and find / invent problems ... grow up .. india is not going to stop for people like you

  • Comment number 86.

    India is poor but is the second highest (only after US) foreign investor in Britain. Ahem, anyheard of the phrase "pulling the rug under your feet"?

  • Comment number 87.


    In that case, ask your queen to return Kohinoor.. It can help a lot of people living in poverty..

  • Comment number 88.

    people in UK don't give a toss about poverty in UK ..... and believe me me you .. there is lots of it but for the state benefits

  • Comment number 89.

    BBC always loves to pick one negative out of any positive event and magnify it.I always felt bbc particularly targets India and magnify negativities.They worked hard to have a spectacular event and here comes the BBC reporting totally unrelated things.It is not surprising to see the negative tone of this article--typical BBC report...

  • Comment number 90.

    Well, a good comparison done here. Good that you found Bawana by actually travelling 2 hours. The life as reported by you must be true and is another face of India.
    As most of the text of your blog actually points describes Bawana and not commonwealth games, I would like to focus my comment on this resettlement colony only (Bawana).
    Can you really imagine how they were living before they were shifted to Bawana? You can't imagine that it can be worse than what you saw. Do you? As you are in Delhi, why dont you talk to people and find out. People who have been to Yamuna Pushta (the slum that was shifted to places like Holambi Kalan and Bawana) may tell you better.
    And these people were not forcibly evicted from their own homes. It was a slum. They were given a land (with ownership) at an alternate place.
    I have personally worked for the slum people of Yamuna Pushta for the education of their kids. And I have seen the filthy surrounding and the narrow spaces. The picture you have used on your blog seems far better. The amount of deaths in the slum the were living in was far more.

    It's a different picture of India altogether. I agree. But isn't it true for any developing country? So in case you are writing a blog on the disparities of India, this is a welcome move. But in case you are reporting for commonwealth games, this seems oddly placed.

  • Comment number 91.

    @ #78, Yes lets keep it unpretentious in 2012. Line up all the dole seekers, drug addicts and the like during 2012 opening ceremony.

  • Comment number 92.

    BBC has simply lost its credibility and reputation amongst the Indian audience because of so much negativity during these games. It's really appalling to see this kind of negative attitude from BBC. What makes you think UK is a perfect country?

  • Comment number 93.

    Comeon Guys. Give it a thought for Tom. Two weeks of hard work in finding the short comings of Delhi cwg and issues on poverty and miseries of India and then using the power of BBC to sarcastically ask the world "Can India do it"? Suddenly the hammer of an unexpected spectacular, dazzling, breathtaking and extravagent opening ceremony perhaps shook his mind and drove him to write all this. Give him some time to recover and accept his report was not up to the mark and perhaps he may like to apologise soon.

  • Comment number 94.

    you would have whole life to comment on our problems,but pls comment only on cwg for 11 days.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hey jealous man, return our Kohinoor.

  • Comment number 96.

    look at yourself also .. england and europe is going trought worst recession ever , many peoples are jobless and u are looking to spend money on olympic.. plz spend money to take ur country out of recession. that's my hamble request to u and then think of organizing any mega event.

  • Comment number 97.

    Well done India! India is great and will be the greatest country very soon !!

    Though few lessons must be learned but still India has shown poster of the country capability today and now the world is eager to see trailer and movie of India progress in coming years.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am are really getting tired about all the negatives stories about the common wealth event holding india.This is the worst article i have ever read.India showed the world how good an opening ceremony should be and t should be applauded and not derided,but am i suprised? no.I am not suprised because i have found the media in the west so biased against asia and africa that unconsciously they repeatedly put down countries in these continents so as to make themselves feel good.
    The english,Australian and newzealand athletes might stay at home but jamaicans,africans and asia are happy to be in dehli and feel much safer and relaxed here than they would have been if the event was in melbourne or london.

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

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


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