All Talk and No Action Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is my most emotionally challenging post. Ever.

The amount of time I have wasted in debating with myself and others over CWG is monumental.

Seriously, any more concentration on the subject, and I would not be Mukta but Matilda and the CWG would be... well...

I had decided to leave the CWG alone. Reasons were plenty - all unimportant and not worthy of your time.

Like most sensible, hardworking, genuine, patriotic Indians, I wanted, prayed and hoped for the spectacular success of CWG. I discussed/debated/fought with people over why CWG must succeed.

Kalmadi and group weren't important. They could be dealt with, after the success of the Games. Complaining and being a spoilsport would be a dampener for all the non-corrupt people who had worked on the ground to present a favourable image of India to the international community.

Yes, we had overshot the original budget by a few thousands of crores - but that wasn't important. National pride and honour were at stake. The world was watching and we better make a good impression.

All of this and a few hundred more arguments, till, one night it all became clear to me -

The video has good histrionics. For now, jump to the scene from 06:30.

Believe me you, this is what rang into my ears.

"...Taaki hamari izzat par dhabba na lage, hamari jhoothi izzat par dhabba na lage..."

All this while, I was acting under the illusion of being a patriot and harping about national pride. I couldn't understand the motivation of people who spoke against the CWG. Weren't they attacking India? Who in her right mind would wish ill for the country?

But it came slowly : India is her people. It is not a mass of land and water.

What is this national pride we are so keen to protect? What international impression do we seek to create?

Make no mistakes - we are still a poor, third world country. A nation who ranks high on corruption and abysmally low on Human Development Index. It is these, which should wound your pride.

Corruption of such order, when millions of Indians die due to malnutrition, millions remain below the poverty line and many more millions remain uneducated, is appalling.

Even if we left these people out of the conversation, millions of hard working Indians pay their taxes for a better tomorrow, not for Fuckers like Kalmadi & company to suck their life blood.

The most classic argument that I ever made and now I get to hear is : Whatever has happened is wrong. But, now that we are into the mess, let's see through it.

It doesn't work that way. If we decide to stand by and allow such activities under the guise of national pride, we are an equal party to the crime.

Another very serious argument is : It's a blot on the face of every Indian. This is our century, our one chance to increase tourism, invite investment and improve our GDP. March ahead young India!

I say - Bull.

All my life, I have lived with being called a poor country, a nation of filth. I don't mind that tag for a few more years. I don't care what the international community will think about the lack of our project management skills. They made their stance known when the World Bank denied us funds to build infrastructure. Nothing new there, sweetheart.

All I know is that we are a young nation and too huge a market to ignore. Our IT, Real Estate, Financial services will continue to boom. Tourism will still clock decent growth. And, if you are so worried about your personal ego and pride - well, then do something about the caste divide, poverty, illiteracy and filth.

Hoping for any reprieve after the games get over, is childish. There will be no trial. There will be no justice.

What disturbed me through various chats with friends, colleagues and other bloggers - most don't bother about Kalmadi, and find absolutely no wrong with the corruption. Corruption is ubiquitous and a part of our DNA now.

I don't know what you took away from the Mahabharata - I definitely learnt that suffering and being complicit about a crime is worse than committing the crime.

It is with the intent to attack corruption and all vile people in power that I truly, deeply, madly hope that CWG fail colossally.

Let there be international coverage on how we failed, our stadiums leaked, the overhead bridges fell, the washrooms stank, the toilet paper disappeared.

This is my prayer for India.

I am surprised at how far I have come.

I am glad I am stupid no more.

Today is my personal CWG day. Endless discussions at work and with friends throughout the day. Ideally, this post should have taken 30-45 minutes. It has ended up taking 3 hours - all thanks to five different chat windows - all raging with the CWG debate.

One of my very good friends is working with the CWG Organising Committee. The entire batch of people I have come to know through him is sincere and hard working. These are the people you will never hear about - people who toil away when stadiums leak, people who work on the ground to make this dream come true.

I wish them well - the next time around.

Here are a few idealistic collegians, one of whom I helped to connect with my CWG friend. They have grand plans to support CWG and take the initiative to major colleges in Mumbai.

Their activism is heart breaking - reminds me of my college days - such stupid innocence.


Coffeebeans said...

I used to bristle too whenever someone drawled about how anything to do with India was 'meant to fail' because of corruption. But also realized this is a true as the sun rising in the east for next millions of years.
Lakhs of people lost everything when floods hit north karnataka. They have been given make shift tents/corrugated tin shelters. For last 2 years, this is the compensation the government has given them for losing lives and livelihoods. THis summer when the temperatures soared to 45deg, some more people living under these tin roofs lost their lives. No one knows what happended to the hundreds of crores released as flood relief.
There is no dearth of money in India...major sections of the alloted budget to various dept go unused due to inefficiency, and eventually are untraceable.
And then, I think...did i get into school because of some govt. policy? no? Did i get a job because of that policy? no. Do i get good medical care because of govt policy? no. Does the govt give a shit if a child gets electrocuted because of a live wire thats hanging within reach? no. does the govt give a shit if a family gets washed away in a storm water drain that was supposed to have been cleaned up with my tax money? no. Do I feel comfortable in the company of police? hell no. Well, turns out we dont need a goverment - just privatise everything.

Kevin said...

I agree that the CWG should fail. At least there is a chance that if we fail in the internation arena, things might get a better "probe" and things might improve the next time around.

But then with the "corruption" culture of India, I am not going to be betting my life on it happening and most probably these things like all others will be brushed under the rug.

Anonymous said...

Well written. It is turning into a national shame. Not only Kalmadi, everyone involved should be dealt with severely.

Vivek Thomas said...

good post! and thank you for noticing the hard working people at the bottom of the chain who has nothing to do with corruption. All govt agencies should have been streamlined for the Games but we on the ground have to seek permission for everything unfortunately. CWG affects us all and our national pride is definitely at stake. This is our chance to show that we have athletes that can go head to head with the best; this is our chance to show - we have stadiums (although new) that can accommodate large crowds for multi-sport events. Whatever the end result, I am proud to be a part of the Games.

Anonymous said...

All said and done. I would say Guilty should be punished and Game should be a success.

Mohit Khurana said...

Even I used to believe in keeping up the reputation of our country. I still do believe, but not completely. I don't say that the games shall fail colossally, but I do believe in that all the mess should come to front thats created by these goons. I really would like to see the Indian government taking these asses for trial post the event. And if our government fails to do this, that will be the time when I will really want India to be ousted from the Common Wealth. I will loose interest in paying my taxes, I will loose interest in common interest. I will loose faith in 'India'.

All Talk and No Action said...

@coffeebeans - Whoa! Completely agree with you. India isn't poor - Swiss bank account proves that. In the longer term, yes, Govt. needs to pull out of most activities it has been involved with. However, given our current status.. I don't think we are ready for privatisation completely.

@Kevin - I hope there is no "next time" here :)
Even I am not very hopeful of punishment.. and that is why I want an egg on all politicos faces.

@unpredictableblog - One can only hope they are brought to book.

@Vivek - Buddy, there is much respect for the man on the ground. However, I see no way to get back at the people responsible for such colossal mess. Also, such events usually drown the cities in debt for decades. Read this :

I am not sure our athletes have or will benefit at all.

@ATC - :)

@Mohit - I am sure the govt. is hand in glove with the CWG OC - and we will not see much after the games.. what is done is done... About faith in "India", the responsibility lies with every Indian here - we can start with electing right people and refusing to bribe.

Anonymous said...

Why do I see only bitterness and a state of i-give-up from your blog, Mukta??? Mukta I know would never give up! Not like this... Why such hatred towards your own countrymen? Arent we the ones who put them there?

If we dont litter our roads, who does?
If we dont soil the bathrooms after use, who does?
If we dont tip the traffic police guy, who does?

Corruption is not just what politicians do, it is what you and I do... It is what a common man does... And it is WRONG! But it is soo inbuilt, it will have to be gradually worked upon. Starting from firing the next kid who starts driving at 12!

All Talk and No Action said...

Neha, chill :)

Yes, it's a bitter piece, but in no way an "i give up" one. Infact, it is a call for action :)

You are also correct about corruption being inbuilt - thats probably why you and most others are not seeing that we just frittered away 70K CRORES on something which was originally planned for 2K crores. If citizens don't question this, who will?

And AFTER this colossal mess - what do we get in terms of quality?

I have been asking you for a real solution, if you have any, to bring the culprits to justice.

Blanket support to CWG will suggest that I support it despite such wastage of national funds.

I refuse to be a party to that.

india unbound said...

@ Post


Loosing this battle (CWG) would help us in winning the war against corruption.

If the games go on smoothly, there is very little chance that anything will happen against Kalmadi & Company. But if we fail miserably, then there is little chance that they will be let off easily.

Let us look at the bigger picture and not let this opportunity go waste.