The Games Built on a Cesspool

No one can escape the huge amount of press on the ongoing disaster called the “Commonwealth Games” in New Delhi. There is little doubt about the train-wreck — it’s inevitable as the locomotive has long left the track and is speeding towards a chasm dragging a long train behind it. The only point of conjecture is how damaging will be the eventual crash. The action is happening so fast that estimates of damage vary widely. But it will all be over soon enough and it will be a very long time before India recovers from the ignominy and shame.

Typical of the bad press coverage that India is getting is this from The Australian dated 23rd Sept: Delhi races to save its Games. If you click on that link, don’t fail to notice that the url reads, “games-built-on-a-cesspool”, which I borrowed as the title of this post.

The subtitle of the piece mentions, “INDIA’S famously inept organising style means a disaster is on the cards.”

“We were told the Games would help us showcase the true picture of modern India,” says Mani Shankar Aiyar, a former sports minister and senior member of the ruling Congress party.

“I must congratulate Suresh Kalmadi [a fellow Congress MP and chief Games organiser] for having successfully projected the real picture: an India of corruption and inefficiency.

Chetan Bhagat, a top-selling author, says the Games are a “loot-fest”. “The CWG 2010 is by far the biggest and most blatant exercise in corruption in independent India’s history,” he says. “Not only have they stolen public money, they’ve made a mess of the job at hand.”

Corruption and inefficiency has come to define India at home and abroad. The injury is great in terms of material welfare. What is worse is the gratuitous insulting that is going on as part of an attempt at covering up by those who are to blame. Here are a couple of examples of the insults.

Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general of the organising committee explained away the filthy games village by saying:

“According to us the room may be clean, but the foreign officials may require a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene which may differ from our standards. So in order to bridge this gap, we have appointed people to ensure the kind of hygiene they are looking for is done.” (Hat tip: Sahir Sait).

In just a couple of sentences, Bhanot has trashed Indians. We are like that only.

A footbridge collapsed injuring 25 workers, some seriously. And Sheila Dixit, the Congress CM of New Delhi explained it away saying that it was not intended for athletes. Hence it was not a big deal. We have lots of people and we don’t really care how many die. See, we don’t even get worked up when terrorists kill us by the hundreds. What me worry?

Here’s a bit from a rediff.com column by Sheela Bhatt:

The negative publicity and whatever muck is being raised against the CWG is due to the lack of ethical political leadership in the country. . .

The CWG caught the people’s attention when the Organising Committee and its head Suresh Kalmadi were named in a damaging report by the Comptroller Auditor General. The first thing that percolated to the people was that the CWG was a massive no-holds-barred money-making exercise.
. . .
You don’t even need the CAG to tell you that CWG was synonymous with corruption. For upgradation of the JNS, Delhi, the government led by Sheila Dixit and the Jaipal Reddy-led Group of Ministers (who were overseeing the CWG planning and execution) approved spending Rs 900 crore. One understood that this was a vulgar show. Even this is not shocking news in India where corrupt people win in election after election. But inspite of huge corruption when people saw that delivery is absent, the frustration peaked.

Kalmadi became the face of what all that has gone wrong but one must mention Chief Minister Sheila Dixit who must face public scrutiny once the Games are over. . .

Before the general election of 2009, Rahul Gandhi’s popularity was ascending. He was going to home of Kalawatis and other Dalits as well as many college campuses around India. He was rediscovering India and searching for suitable issues.

Then, rediff.com had asked two senior members of the Congress Working Committee why Rahul Gandhi was not taking up the leadership of CWG . . .

The response for the two leaders was similar. They said that CWG was much behind schedule and in a mess. Kalamadi’s control over the OC was total and he was difficult to replace. The senior leaders also said that “it’s risky to jeopardise Rahul Gandhi’s prestige by providing leadership to the CWG.”

There are a bunch of lessons one can learn from the CWG disaster. First, the Gandhis (or perhaps their handlers) are as clever as the people who vote the family into power are stupid. They stay behind the scenes and do the directing. Whatever they do, most of the time ends up a failure. They then don’t even have to hunt around for a scape-goat. They have a few ready even before they get started. This time around the scape goats will probably be Kalmadi and Dixit. But the scape goats are not unwilling victims as they know full well that they are handsomely paid for taking on the job.

If there is any degree of success in some scheme (which is not often), the Gandhis take the credit. The liberalization of the Indian economy that brought it out of the disastrous “Nehru rate of growth” was the doing of one Mr PV Narasimha Rao. So what happened? His name was erased and the credit was given to dear departed Rajiv Gandhi.

Take the credit, and deflect the blame. That’s the name of the game that the Gandhis play. Nehru himself was good at it. Nehru’s socialism impoverished India and they called it “Hindu rate of growth”. Can it get any more blatant than that?

The second lesson is that corruption is congruent with the Congress party. But that’s a lesson too late for the learning. For over 60 years the Congress has been bleeding the country. Yet there is a significant segment of the population continues to vote for the Gandhi family.

I cringe when I see the failures of the Congress party referred to as India’s failure. The CWG’s will paint India in very unflattering colors, even though actually it is a failure of the Congress and its leadership. But then I have to remind myself that it is a democracy. Decade after decade, some Indians have elected these people to power, instead of discarding them in the garbage heap of history.

I hope that the CWG is such an unmitigated disaster that it wakes up the middle-class Indians. If it does, the failure of the CWG would be the greatest boon for India and Indians.

The CWG may serve to reveal to the Indian voter the cesspool that is concealed in India’s basement. But the crocodiles have to be removed before the cesspool can be drained. Time for the Indian voter to use the only weapon they have: their votes.

So in conclusion, here’s my take. If after seven years and $4 billion you still cannot organize a sporting event in the capital of your country, you may be the leaders of a Third World country.

Related Posts: You might be a third world country if

38 thoughts on “The Games Built on a Cesspool

  1. “Time for the Indian voter to use the only weapon they have: their votes.” Yeah, right.

    Like it’s easy to choose between a corrupt Congress, a bigoted BJP and a lame left front. Who do you choose, Mr Dey?

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  2. @Hemant: The BJP and the Congress can be compared to Hitler vs. the British. The latter pair both had a history of oppression, indeed the British came up with the idea of the concentration camp during the Boer War of 1900. The big difference being the British were masters of subtlety, and kept up a friendly image while ruthlessly wiping out native uprisings behind the scenes. Hitler on the other hand, openly declared his hatred of Jews and we all know what happened next.

    The Congress have learnt the game from their erstwhile British masters- divide and conquer. Support the Muslims (Fuck that ‘minority community’ bullshit) silently, in the name of secularism to get a steady vote bank.
    The BJP on the other hand were open and vocal about their support for the Hindus (besides the inexcusable act of digging up the Babri dispute that had been long forgotten until Advani’s 1990 Rath Yatra) and hence have painted themselves permanently as an ultra rightwing bigoted party.

    They may have better ideas for development – so long as they hobble themselves with the Ayodhya issue they’ll remain in the sidelines, and the braindead majority will continue to vote for the Congress.

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  3. Atanu, Well the people who vote for congress ,dont care about national pride any way. Some of them are really poor, but they fail to realize who keeps them poor most of the time and feeds them well during election. I suppose malnutrition makes your mind slow for sure so i don’t blame them. Some of them vote them for fear ,real or imagined, created by friendly media, showing few lines 100 times a day. Then some are interested in spreading there religion of love and mind you they really love young boys more then any thing else. Do you think they are bothered about CWG messup?

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  4. Hemant,

    Please spare us lesser of two evils canard (or three in this case). The congress party under it’s current leadership effectively declared open season against the majority. Apparently it’s secular to stamp jerusalem crosses on the 2 Rs. coin and push to put churches over 5 of the 7 sacred hills of tirumala in AP, but if the bjp talks about a uniform civil code, they’re bigoted.

    If by now you don’t understand the tragedy of a country reinstating foreign rule barely 60 years after casting it out, you are deserving of the very government you vote for. The choice should be clear to any indian with half a brain as to which party they should vote for. Install a babysitter without a college degree and no real connection to India, and this is what you get. If not sense, at least have some shame, sir.

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  5. When I read the post first a few hours ago, I left wondering how long would it take for a commie to come along and make a pitch for status quo by projecting the bogey of a bad alternative. 🙂

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  6. Atanu said: “So in conclusion, here’s my take. If after seven years and $4 billion you still cannot organize a sporting event in the capital of your country, you may be the leaders of a Third World country.”

    Some rapid points on the fly (I am not being comprehensive):

    — $4B translates to, what, Rs. 20,000 Crores? Last night, the channels (NDTV—one of Barkha Dutt’s programs, and also others) were talking of Rs. 70,000 Crores.

    — Delhi *is* a most corrupt city. The Indira Congress (TIC for short) *is* a most corrupt party—so has been the BJP. Atanu, I will never let you forget *that*, OK? The corruption in the present matter (CWG) *looks* brazen, but that’s only because they (TIC) have not been as smooth as what the late Pramod Mahajan could pull off. This is a fact. More about TIC’s non-smoothness, below.

    — I have no “national pride”—of TIC’s “Let’s save the debates for until after the CWG” variety. Neither did I have of the BJP’s “garv se kaho…” variety. Nor do I have any special sympathy for Kalmadi (even though he is from Pune, my city, and, indeed, I voted for him the last time—I will take Kalmadi over any BJP “goonDaa” put up by Gopinath Munde in Pune any day, even over someone like Girish BaapaT who is not particularly a “goonDaa” himself, only a protector of them).

    Still, I believe that for all the corruption, they (TIC) could still have pulled off CWG—but for the bickering within themselves.

    — Mani Shankar Aiyar, the most vocal critic of CWG from within TIC, sat on and delayed the process while a minister himself. He delayed it to that point in logistics and time that a failed CWG would be a bygone conclusion.

    Today, the BJP and the media might find it convenient to look over this aspect. Indeed, to an extent, one might even appreciate their forgetfulness—so long as they thereby come to expose corruption right.

    But, for the same reason, there is a limit to this policy—which, they have been exceeding.

    For instance, Atanu, don’t reply me if you don’t want to (and here I am talking to your and my readers more than with you anyway), how did you extend the period from about 2 years or less to 7 years?

    Or is your heart counting the period starting from the time that the BJP was (IMO for very good reasons) thrown out of the power at the Center?

    — Yes, I would like to see this issue blown up, esp. in the international circles. One could always supply the tempering considerations later on. But one would like to see the issue of corruption in Rs. 20 to 70 K Crores get discussed far and wide. Here are some of the considerations (all figures in crores; 1 million $ roughly equal 5 crores):
    — The annual budget of a typical IIT (without any single affiliated college): Rs. 100 to 400 Crores
    — The annual budget of the University of Pune, with about 300+ engineering, medical, law, and liberal arts education colleges affiliated to it: Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 Crores
    — Maharashtra State Government annual budget (planned and unplanned): (TBD)
    — CWG: Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 70,000 Crores

    No, I won’t like it if this point is simply swallowed up in “we need development” kind of hooliganism that routinely occurs in the BJP-ruled states (e.g. in Karnataka) and about which Atanu will never breath a word. Nope. I don’t stand for “development”—I stand for Capitalism (in Rand’s sense of the term).

    –Ajit
    [E&OE]

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  7. @ Ajit Jadhav
    If you of all people, being from Pune having actually seen the “thuk patti” work done by Kalmadi (Baner Road connecting the city to CYG venue is a nice example) – still insist on voting for Kalmadi – no wonder he continues to win, despite pathetic performance.

    The road for the record, was finished off in quick time, after being WIP for a very long time. After the games, we are re-doing huge amounts of it! Wonder which budget that money is coming from.

    And to call every BJP candidate a goonda is amazing – goondas they may well be – but remember that most of the infrastructure in Mah was acutally built by the BJPs fat man.

    And its high time we realised that the huge CWG budget – whatever its exact size may be – is actually funding the Congress Party election fund. And _that_ is the key reason why nobody – Sonia / MMS / Rahul – have dared say a word against Kalmadi; but will let the nation hang their heads…. and you will vote them in again.

    And if you were so keen about having “clean” politicians – why didnt you vote for Arun Bhatia?

    Jai71

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  8. @Jai71

    I do not believe in debating with either trolls or people who cannot introduce themselves to me. Hence, this will be my last reply to you unless you tell me (and the public here) who you are, publicly, here.

    With that said, since you mention (Marathi) “thuk patti” work, I wonder which “chaufulla” you are talking about. … Got it? Have it rubbed in well? … Well and good; you have now been “well-prepared”; so, let’s proceed.

    Re. “And to call every BJP candidate a goonda is amazing…”

    Develop your reading skills—always a matter with the BJP supporters. (For instance, recall their rants against Barkhaa Dutt.) More particularly, here, I called BaapaT not a “goonDaa” himself, but a protector of those.

    I should like to add. He is a kind of an “intellectual” sort of a protector of those “goonDaa”s, using means such as confounding, confusing and every other tactic mastered and displayed so remarkably well by every Indian mystic over the past thousands of years. Add Prakash JawaDekar, too, if you wish, along with BaapaT (though, frankly, I cannot vouch for JawaDekar’s not being a “goonDaa” himself the way I can, in case of BaapaT… And then, I don’t know BaapaT personally either, but do have friends whose judgments I could and do rely on… Some of them are from the BJP (though they don’t publicly admit so) 🙂 )

    Re. Your line: “…but remember that most of the infrastructure in Mah was acutally built by the BJPs fat man.”

    If you mean Gadkari, I want to ask you if one should be thankful to someone who dispenses 10% food alongwith 90% poison. And, since you also use the word “most,” I wonder why you forgot so many before and after him who have been truly instrumental in developing Maharashtra’s infrastructure to whatever extent it is in. (Under Capitalism, it would have been far better.) I could cite specific names, but doing so would be pointless with (an obviously) BJP guy like you. (Don’t argue with me over that. Leave it aside if you aren’t; my points will still stand—that’s why. And, I still don’t know who I am talking with—also for that reason.)

    Re. Your last-but-one para. Good. Except for the last line. The reason I voted Kalmadi is because I wanted to see the BJP kicked out of power at the Center. The reason I didn’t vote for Bhatia? Exactly the same.

    [To other readers: it never amazes me how come Americans go to polling booth and waste their votes on any party/politician other than the Republicans and the Democrats—e.g., Nader et al. If you want a deeper analysis than I can supply, refer to Peikoff et al.]

    My last reply to “Jai71” (and strangers like him) ends.

    –Ajit
    [E&OE]

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  9. This is India, the politicians completely shameless and the electorate sheep. The Congress is thick-skinned and most of the electorate will just blink like sheep instead of boycotting the games, to protest the corruption. Why do people not simply walk out of the games to protest the corruption? They had seven years to prepare, seven? Did you see the politicians making excuses when the dwellings for athletes were declared filthy by international standards? The man was saying it was clean enough for India! There you go the entire mentality encapsulated in that remark. And when the bridge fell? The politician said it was only a foot bridge! I guess ruled by the crooks and semi-literates who rob a poor nation, India is not entitled to expect higher standards by this logic right? Nothing will happen and the corruption will soon be forgotten as India goes on to a nastier future with the status quo.
    Compare the fiasco with the Olympics organized by the Chinese. And Indians were dreaming of being a super power? In their dreams. They have not got the discipline to be one, as simple as that. They cannot even protest the cprruption displayed in the organization of the games. Hopefully most of the countries pull out and it is an internaional shame for Congress.
    It seems that in a vast illiterate country like India, democracy has only unleashed the basest, despicable forces, and the least common denominator rules now, and there is nothing anyone can “do” about it as semi-literates rule and establish their standards for all, starting from the top leaders of the governing party.
    Anyway, why is India celebrating the Common Wealth games anyway, what is so great about being a former colony?

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  10. Compare Indian games with the Beijing Olympics. India has only its “democracy” to boast of, which was given to it by its British masters. Can you imagine the consequence of a war with China? Democracy does not work in a huge illiterate country and is not the only system available. It works for Western European countries with high literacy. You see it run into trouble even in old places like Greece and Italy. Even this sham ‘democracy’ India has swallowed it is something it has lapped up without thinking of whether it can work in India–The Japanese are not entirely democratic, neither are the Chinese. Singapore is also not completely democratic.
    What good is democracy when cavemen have the same vote as a developed, educated, informed person? Why would the latter want to be under the dictates of the former? It is simply against nature, and can only exist in the most perverted state of affairs. What good is democracy when it unleashes the rule of the basest?

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  11. @Ajit:
    I am “Jai” & known as such. “71” is added just because there are many Jais around.

    Since you seem to be extremely irritated with the words i used to describe Kalmadi’s works – wonder why?
    You claim to be voting congress just to keep the BJP out… but also sound like a die hard fan of Kalmadi / his party.

    I am a BJP supporter – for various reasons… does not mean that i agree with everything they do / not do.

    Good luck to you and your party! 🙂

    Jai71

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  12. Atanu,

    Looks like the foolish Indian voters who you allude to in your columns routinely are not all poor and uneducated.
    Point in case – one of the “trolls” who prefixes with “Dr” in your comment section 🙂

    Usually I won’t react to such excruciating defence of the monarchy. But this was humor filled and I could not help.
    Voting for Kalmadi so that “goonda” BJP cannot come to power is outrageously funny.
    Dr you made my day. I now know for sure “Mera Bharat is really Mahaan”
    hahaha.

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  13. Aisa hi chalega is desh mein bhaiya……..jab tak garibi mitegi nahi aur education ayegi nahi……jo ki bahut door ki baat hai……aur aisa hua to apne mahan politicians ke vote kaha se ayenge…To bhiya here lies the paradox aka Catch 22….kuch nahi hoaga iss desh ka…….kitna hi khoon jala lo atanu bhaiya…..i can only sympathise lekin BJP bhi tooti hui party hai :P…..itna na bhooolein aap

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  14. Dear Atanu,
    Your write up is excellent.As usual the discussion leaves the real issues and our argumentative Indians start discussing Congress Vs BJP.Instead of using the only power which we have to establish accountability of the political bosses we start in between lines psedointellect discussions.That is the reason Mera Bharat is Mahan.And if we still do not see it through Mera Bharat will move to good to great mockery.

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  15. Enjoyed reading this, as always. And I see that you have the Congress to blame, as always! 😉

    Personally, I think it is a problem with people per se. Had the BJP been there, they would have done something similar. Human beings love to just make money without having to move a finger. So be it with Kalmadi & Co. I am not saying that that justifies it. What I am saying is that if people care enough they need to do more than complain and bicker.

    My point is, why doesn’t anyone demand a clear account of progress? We help elect a govt., sit on our hinnies and then find faults with whatever they do. Much like the opposition. Why don’t we demand accounts for all the projects embarked on, all the promises made, all the measures planned to address situations? How many RTIs were filed in the past 7 years demanding to know how well this CWG thing was progressing and where each and every rupee of ours was going? Would you have done it if it was the construction of your house? Would you simply hand over $1M to someone and then wait for 7 years before checking if he has done the job? But that is exactly what you have done! Why blame anyone? Where was the media over the past 7 years? Covering Bollywood and unzipped kameezes?

    I think we love our convenient lives where all we need to do is vote and then keep pointing fingers. A foot bridge falls, blame the politician! Trains collide, blame the railway minister! Puddles in the road, blame the government again. If we care enough, we would form local bodies (or as I would call, special interest groups) and do all that is required to rectify the situation and not just quickly figure out who is to blame.

    In a world of fools, the exploiters will rule. Why so surprised!?

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  16. I was really intriguied by the arrogance of this guy “Dr Ajit R. Jadhav” so I followed his links to find out who he really is. When I finally found his resume — he has posted it with a lot of fanfare — I burst out laughing. It is 16 pages folks, no less, with page after page about his “research”. After couple of pages of crap, I just hunted for what he has published and voila. It is just a bunch of talks in Indian domestic conferences that no one in the world cares about. Empty vessels have never sounded louder.

    If you have ever been in a quality MS or PhD program, do have a look at this egomaniac’s resume and enjoy yourselves, it is a real piece of work.

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  17. I demand to know why are you trying to discredit the Congress party? Listen, I’m not a commie, all you conspiracy mongers. I am not a Congress supporter. But why are you saying Congress is discrediting itself and then trying to discredit it even more? I think your gameplan is to draw the youth of India away from secularism to communal BJP. You Nazis are exploiting the CWG issue because you know the youth of India likes sports.

    Just because the Congress swallowed the money and spewed out falling bridges and smelling toilets, it doesn’t mean Sonia Gandhi and Roman Catholic Church have anything to do with this.

    Just because Congress put dog poop in CWG apartments what is the evidence that BJP also won’t put dog poop in CWG apartments and also on racing tracks and in the basketball courts?

    That is what I am demanding. Evidence. Evidence. Evidence.

    In fact there is evidence that they will also put cow dung. They are Hindu fundamentalists who don’t eat cows and that is the evidence.

    I am tired of this. First, you don’t stick to economics, science, mathematics and performing arts. You talk about Islam and evangelists also! Ok, let that pass. But why are you gunning for secular Congress especially at a time when the commies are weak thereby strengthening communalists who are targeting me just because I have “Bernardo” and “Javed” in my name though I am an atheist liberal born Hindu Brahmin?

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  18. Atanu,

    My analysis starts with a premise that the CWG, unlike what the media wants us to believe, is going to be a moderate to spectacular success. When I say ‘success’, I am not talking in terms of the number of records broken (indicating the quality of athletes participating and perhaps even the quality of facilities provided by the organizing committee) or the feedback from athletes (which would also be good, in my guess), but the cosmetic aspects and the glitz factor.

    I’ve been wondering why then the media has been focusing so much on the (some real, but others merely prophesied) failures of the CWG? While I’ve little reason to disbelieve that there must be very high degree of corruption in the games organization, a concerted attack on the games seems a bit too much considering how the media and we, otherwise totally ignore corruption in so many other areas.

    My hypothesis is simple, which you anyway know of. Media largely works in a fashion that helps the Nehru-Gandhi family. Though we all are reacting violently in public fora at this sort of alleged corruption, we subconsciously are quite alright with corruption. We have come to terms with corruption in every walk of our life, and we also know that the larger the scale of events, larger would be the corruption. What makes more difference to us is not the scale of corruption (very few actually work out in their minds, with certain amount alleged to be involved in corruption, how many hospitals, schools, bridges, etc. can be built), but the area in which it is alleged – so corruption in ‘games’ is quite alright, but not in defense deals [Bangaru Laxman and Jaya Jaitley had received much flak, despite virtually zero-evidence and for a much paltry sum, perhaps because it was associated with ‘defence’ – on which lives of so many people depend]. But what surprises me is that figures of corruption of various kinds are being floated around, with almost no evidence, and that nobody is asking for any evidence! It has become a fair game to make a guess of scale of corruption and throw around numbers, just like the number of dead Muslims in Gujarat riots….

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  19. —–

    So how does this help the Nehru-Gandhi family?

    1. It appears that Kalmadi might have not been the first choice of the family for CWG organization but couldn’t prevent his heading the body, or perhaps he must have not been paying his haftaa – protection money, on which I had done a song parody (click). The mounting media pressure is a way to make him pay up. They are using similar tactic against A. Raja [someone had pointed out that despite some of the most important ministries that Congress has, the most profiting ones like the Railways and Telecommunications are not with them, so they desperately want them, and this media pressure is again an attempt towards that].

    2. The apparently incidental, but perhaps, the true target of this attack is Sheila Dixit. I had the opportunity to live in Delhi for around 10 months, and I thought her governance is good [in that how much Delhi had improved over last decade – both in terms of infrastructure and one vital area, viz., crime]. Of course I am not taking into consideration the amount of inflow of funds. But whatever be the case, she is one of the very few leaders in the Congress stable who does not live in the shadows of the family. Meaning, whether it be criticism, or praise, she has been seen as independent by many. I had heard of some instance of ‘rebellion’ by few Congress politicians against her a few years back, and someone had pointed out that it was engineered by the Gandhi family to weaken her position within the party. Of course that was also a conjecture, but I could see that pattern in many of the family’s and media’s actions [I’m also aware of the flaw of this manner of thinking – I can go on citing incidents that seem to support my speculation, with disregard for other incidents that contradict it, but let me proceed with that technique]. And of course, the Gandhi family’s larger challenge, if one sees, is not so much to keep the BJP out of power, but to keep others in the Congress from usurping their position! It would be naive to believe that all other Congress politicians are taken in by the fair skin of the Gandhis, and that they’re bereft of any political ambition. But the fact that the supremacy of the family in the party is still unchallenged to this unimaginable degree only points to the possibility that something in working of the Congress party must make it excessively unyielding to show any ambition, or perhaps in some way, even perilous [three young and (electorally) ‘promising’ Congress leaders had died in the last decade in freak accidents – anyway, that is stretching the speculation too far!]. Sheila Dixit’s son is also an MP – another reason to be sure to keep her position weak.

    —–

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  20. …Apart from the above factors, the way in which this coverage is helping the media and the family is:

    1. Distracting people from other events of greater gravity – hoisting of Pakistani flag in Kashmir, riots in Deganga in West Bengal (in which the ‘Pioneer’ reports that one or more persons had died), an unconfirmed burning of Shiva Temple in Kashmir (and the usual – rising food prices, farmer suicides, etc.). The treachery of Man Mohan Singh in the Nuclear Liability Bill is again something the CWG coverage had helped push largely under the carpet. Has anyone wondered, what degree of cheapness it was to have inserted “and” and “intent” as caveats? I’m not going into the practical aspects of the deal (e.g., if having stringent criteria would make the deal so scary for the suppliers that they will decline to do business). Here was an incident, where despite the high amount of scrutiny, and possibly very grave eventual consequences, the Congress Party tried to hoodwink the entire nation! And what is interesting is that in response to the accusation of MMS being a puppet of the family, one of the shining examples of his independence that is advanced is his personal involvement in the Indian nuclear program!!! Compared to MMS, Shashi Tharoor surely got a very raw deal, and MMS escaped unscathed as a ‘clean’ politician. Neat, no? Why? Simply because, all along the prime example of corruption and deception that people will think of for quite some time to come will be Kalmaidi of the CWG infamy!

    2. Using this as an instance, the media can always claim – “See, we critique the Congress also”! But what works here is the apparent lack of proximity of Kalmadi with the Gandhis, and also the fact that majority are going to think in terms of “games to aakhir games hi hote hain”. So, its coverage does not make the family at all look bad as compared to say Babri demolition and the death of Muslim in Gujarat riots (latter can paradoxically actually help the BJP electorally!)

    But, what will the media say after the games are over and they are (if they are) proved wrong?

    Nothing much! They will still continue to point out minor flaws of the games for a few days to come, or even start praising the game as if nothing had happened! Moreover, very few people will wonder why the CWG’s (mild to spectacular) success would’ve proved them and the media wrong! Of course, few people might go into denial as to how come their confidence that the CWG would fail miserably could have been misplaced. But in the entire occurrence, almost no one would pause to wonder as to how come they were misled so convincingly by the media, simply because, “games to aakhir games hi hote hain”!

    Of course, my entire analysis depends on CWG’s moderate to spectacular success, so unlike, Mani Shankar Ayyer, I’m praying desperately for their success! 😉 To hell with nation’s welfare! 😛

    I end my conspiracy theories here. 🙂

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  21. Bernado Javed Pandit,

    I suspect, you are Sapathan/PubChick and your real name starts with ‘R’. Hell! I am confident you are what I say you are.

    Though Atanu calls you funny, he perhaps doesn’t know full well yet how more funny could you get! 😉

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  22. Rex,

    I largely agree with your analysis of the nature of two big parties in the country. But what I disagree with is this: “so long as they hobble themselves with the Ayodhya issue they’ll remain in the sidelines”.

    The reason I disagree is simply because we like to attribute electoral trends (if there is indeed such a thing as that) to conspicuous events, but the fact is election at the center is made up of at least 543 different contests!

    I think the actual factors that go into any candidate’s failure or success are many and varied. Of course, this does not apply to the so called ‘heavy weights’. There are so many instances when the candidates change their parties and get elected as if nothing really happened! It means, the ‘loyalty’ must have been for the regional leader, rather than any such thing as the larger ‘philosophy’ of a party.

    Many people had argued that one of the reasons Congress won was because of MMS’ candidature as the prime minister! I found this assertion facile, because if he could not convince (click) an electorate of largely educated (and by extension, an assumption of course, more ‘liberal’) electorate of South Delhi that he was the right person for them, then it is unwise to think the entire nation voted for his candidacy as the PM!

    If one dissects the results further, one would find that there are many exceptions to the speculated ‘trend’ of Indians turning more liberal, secular and hence liking the Congress better – Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka. To believe that it is only these states are composed of fundamentalist Hindus would again not be wise (I’m not saying you think that, but many seem to do). Also, last election BJP had done extremely well in Rajasthan (25 v/s 5), but simply in five years, Congress ended up exactly reversing the results! So, of course, this should not be attributed to any bigger philosophy like secularism or liberalism (but if some analysts are to be believed, the Gujar’s ire had something to do with the outcome).

    Hence in final analysis, though it might be tempting to try to figure out how certain act like Babri Mosque or Gujarat riots had led to the failure of the BJP and as a corollary, helped the Congress, true reasons must be somewhere in the regional politics [Indian politics still works on the concept of the feudal system – whoever controls the Panchayat can rally around the villagers for the party he wants; at least in one district of Maharashtra, from what I heard, the real struggle for votes simply amounts to gaining the loyalty of the village heads]. And of course, by this logic, the fallibility of the EVMs must also be not blamed for the success of the Congress, because then the examples of where Congress lost (and the BJP won) would be pointed out. 😀

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  23. @Atanu Dey

    Do you care to share the reason why you have no problem approving “Ankit”‘s comment but do apparently have problem with certain others? (And I am sure you know which one I mean—if not, and if you wish to know, get in touch.)

    – – – – –

    @Ankit

    “You” moron, do “you” at least realize that “you” merely end up demonstrating what the BJP supporters so unmistakably tend to be like, in reality?

    – – – – –

    To others: Two interesting matters this moron throws up. I won’t address each and every contradiction in his emissions, but will address at least some.

    1. The moron typed: “It is just a bunch of talks in Indian domestic conferences that no one in the world cares about.”

    1.1 These are written papers, not “talks.”
    1.2 These are peer-reviewed, with an international composition of reviewers (agreed, most of them usually are Indian).
    1.3 These are proper international conferences (agreed, with limited oversees participation—but it is there), with formal tie-ups with international organizations (for ISTAM, it is: IUTAM)
    1.4 The acceptance rate at ISTAM, when I published there, exceeded that for many (even most) reputed international journals in engineering and sciences. ISTAM had about 33% acceptance rate; most top 10 engineering journals have acceptance rates greater than that; Nature and Science each has about 10%. Conclusion: ISTAM conferences, when I published, were perhaps closer to Nature and Science than to international journals in engineering and physics.
    1.5 Truth or falsehood is not established in reference to altruistic ideals. Consciousness (here, others’ consciousness) does not have primacy over existence. [Parenthetically, mark my words, this aspect of this moron’s emission is extremely *selfless*.]

    2. The moron requested something from the general reader by typing this: “If you have ever been in a quality MS or PhD program, do have a look at this egomaniac’s resume and enjoy yourselves, it is a real piece of work.”

    If Dr. Atanu Dey [or his friends] thinks that he *has* attended (or knows of) a university that offers a “quality PhD program” in the areas of my education and research (I don’t care for quality MS programs—here we are talking of my *PhD* research), I do encourage him (them) to bring my resume, and more importantly, my work, to the notice of the people running those programs.

    In particular, I ask him [them] to ask the people running the quality PhD programs, to think and come to a conclusion (if they at all can) whether I make untenable claims, including with regard to the number of years in which I say my theoretical perspectives are new (e.g. that I have a first each in ~75, ~100, and ~200+ years).

    From my side, I had suggested that my thesis be sent to a Nobel laureate at MIT for examination. The university did approach him. He declined, saying that the additional responsibilities no longer permit him to examine a PhD thesis.

    Then, on my suggestion, a PhD in Physics graduated by the University of California at Berkeley, currently a Professor of Physics elsewhere, was approached. He declined, saying (words not exact but very similar) that he does not understand the abstract of my thesis, and that to be able to do so, he will have to study certain additional topics for which he has no time. (He has been an editor of a journal, has graduated 8+ PhDs, has written books/papers on Monte Carlo and computational physics. He didn’t understand. Oh yeah. Berkeley!)

    There were others too, who declined to be examiners. Hunt at my blog/site for more information. Important point: Despite deliberately loudly putting the dramatic claims, none objected or rejected them. For a recent contrast, see the treatment Koenemann’s theory received at iMechanica.

    3. One final point. The situation is not as bad as it sometimes sounds. I could at least get my papers published and the thesis examined (two former HoDs at IITs and one Full Professor whose work is quoted in Cook’s book on FEM).

    My situation is incomparably better than what Helmholtz faced (even in mid-19th century). When he reconciled all observations and formulated the first law of thermodynamics, he found no journal or publisher willing to publish it. Thus, the first law, which now-a-days is taught to every one in high-school or junior college, for the first time saw the printer’s ink only as a private publication (a pamphlet) published by Helmholtz himself. (A man of lower-middle class family background—I *think* his father was a school teacher—Helmholtz invested almost all of his lifetime’s savings in getting it published).

    He is my inspiration. Also, many many others.

    … But then, what the hell can people of faith (including the BJP Hindu etc. types) know about such things?

    And, Dr. Dey, don’t forget to ask folks at Berkeley’s engg school and physics department. I am confident I could handle them—their rational queries.

    –Ajit
    [E&OE]

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  24. I am also amazed at how the media attaches such importance to these games, when there are so many other bad things in India with even nastier consequences for the nation as a whole : how about getting agitated about the unsuatainable population growth, the water shortages, the lack of security and so on? Or about the fact that India simple increased its poverty levels fourfold since independence by multiplying in an unsustainable way.

    Of course the corruption displayed by Congress is sad for athletes. Which is why those in charge of organizing for athletes get rich and Indians are unable to compete in Olympics despite being over a billion strong, as the money meant for athletes gets stolen instead of being used where it should be used.

    What is so great about celebrating these games? What is so spectacular about having been a former colony of a country fading into gradual irrelevance on the world scene?

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  25. “foreign officials may require a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene which may differ from our standards.” Sheila Dixit, the Congress CM of New Delhi explained … that it was not intended for athletes. Hence it was not a big deal. We have lots of people and we don’t really care how many die.

    Why the outrage at the above statements? For once I am touched and impressed by the simple honesty of our politicians. If foreign delegates expected any better from a country where there are still murders in the name of family honor, more malnourished than they were people in 1950, and more poverty than in Africa, they don’t deserve to travel around burning fossil fuel.

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  26. Why the outrage at the above statements?

    The outrage is at the cow like acceptance of the things you mention, and a sense that nothing can be changed: politicians are basically saying India cannot hold them to a higher standard, because, well, this us just India. That is why there is the outrage.

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  27. @larissa — I have dedicated my life to improving India’s lot while I could have escaped to the promised land. But I don’t believe in pretending we are there when we are not. And a single event like this cannot surmount the background standards of the society by any significant margin.

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  28. I am not saying that a single event does, but the mainstream Indian media (which is bootlicker) chose to focus on this story which has highlighted corruption to the whole wide world in a way the government cannot cover up. The magnitude of the corruption got international headlines (the international press is all too ready to laugh at India, given the opportunity). Of course, India has greater problems, but people are angry because the games encapsulated in a small way what is generally wrong with India: lack of any sense of command and obedience: there is no one worthy to command in a way they elicit obedience, because those commanding are themselves corrupt and do not elicit obedience or respect and are unable to lead. Obedience only happen when you have a strong leader who leads free people, not those who lead placid sheep.
    Now if only the ineptutude of India’s fake democracy got such headlines, the fact that India has accomplished nothing really since Independence…and that the so-called ‘progress’ India is claimed to have made is the biggest lie of all…

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  29. Take a look at the colorful headlines appearing in the news:
    Delhi in `Race Against Time’ as Athletes, Snakes Move Into Games Village
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-27/delhi-in-race-against-time-as-athletes-snakes-move-into-games-village.html

    Oh and Sheila Dixit claims that Hooper’s honest comments are “unkind”

    “Newspaper reports that the chief executive officer of the Games Federation, Mike Hooper, had described Delhi’s 14 million people as a “population hazard” were swiftly denounced by Fennell. Hooper, the Times of India said, made the comment after a request for a 24-hour dedicated traffic lane for Games athletes and officials was turned down by local authorities.”

    Why does a country that cannot even host a small games take it upon themselves to do so? And they are going to be a superpower? Yeah right!
    I think its a good thing the fiasco of these gamesis publicized to this extent, robs many placid Indians of their illusions about India, the kind that get insulted when you speak the truth about India.

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  30. In terms of democracy these are some of the numbers that I have read.

    About 350 million people voted in the recent national elections out of a total of 1300million Indians. So about 26%. The low number could be due to India being the youngest country in the world and a majority of people not voting.

    I think about 140 million or so voted for the congress. So a little more than 10%.

    So this 10% have decided the fate of the rest of the 90% and we call it democracy.

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  31. Suhit, is “1300 million” that you wrote in your comment – is that the population of India, or the number of citizens (18+) eligible to vote? Also keep in mind that many eligible voters may not be able to cast a vote even if they want to, because they are working and living in a different city/state than their home-state. I’ve heard that getting “proof of residence” in India (which is a pre-requisite to be able to vote) is a huge pain in the neck.

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