It’s Time To Play

The last three months have been very eventful as far as India's hosting of Common Wealth Games (CWG) are concerned. A lot has been said, written and viewed, in a much hard hitting manner by the media houses in the country and around the world about the precarious state of games village. The CWG which previously has never been of much importance to us (Indians), suddenly became an issue and we stood up and took notice of the situation. All of the events that have been successful in attaining the media headlines were not something to feel proud or happy. 

To start with, the news of the financial corruptions surrounding the games is not alien to all. The money loot, which basically was done at tax payer’s expense, amounted to more than 70,000 crores and the reasons that were cited later for such extravagant spending became a joke for all and sundry. Apart from the money sweep that took place, there were several cases of hopeless infrastructure management which resulted in newly constructed ceiling leaking from the top to a foot bridge collapse and a weak security arrangement system. The lack of hygiene issue in the games village has made the news too with human carp floating on the flood waters and dirty toilets in the hotel rooms meant for the athletes, to a snake being found in one of the hotel rooms in the games village. The outbreak of water borne diseases like Malaria and Dengue didn’t help the cause either. The rain Gods played their part and downpour of rains lead to a collapse of the city (Delhi) as a whole. The roads became difficult for travel and the pot-holes shamelessly exposed the incapability of the organizers to keep the city in top condition before the games. All these sumptuous issues have been greedily gobbled by the media and we the common people have expressed our views through boundless anger, utter disgust and with much shame. Following all these negative reports from the media, the games have very rightly, come under a lot of fire and criticism from all quarters of the society and many SMS jokes (concerning the members of the games committee) did the rounds over the last three months. The total inaptness and ill-management of the issue has cost us dearly. The name and image of India as a nation has been brought to disrepute and a scar that has been created, which will take a long time for us to wipe off. Before I go any further let’s discuss a few facts about the Common Wealth Games in general.

While trying to understand the history behind the CWG, I visited lot of websites and Google searched a lot of pages only to come across some interesting facts which I though would be great to share with friends and fellow Indians. Well, Common Wealth Games were not called Common Wealth Games until 1978. The games first stared in 1930 with the name as British Empire Games! Hmmm!! That’s the origin of the CWG that Indians are so excited about. In 1954, the games started being called as British Empire and Common Wealth Games; and then the British Common Wealth in 1970.

Why? Well, this isn’t a piece of news that we Indians will be very proud of to hear. This game was played mainly to celebrate the British Empire. And it brought together all the nations that Great Britain ruled, during the colonial period, to play and feel like equals for a couple of week! It was meant to increase the camaraderie and enhance the goodwill and understanding of the British Empire. And, to make matter even more interesting, the first games were played in 1911 as the “Festival of the Empire”. To glorify there mindless killings and severe exploitation that they did in whichever country they ruled. It is unbelievable but true that only two erstwhile colonies of the British Empire – Burma and Aden decided not to participate in the CWG and withdrew their membership after they gained independence. Rest, all the 54 countries, barring two, continues to be a part of this game and old British Empire. The name got changed to Common Wealth Games in 1978 because by then world had become more matured and came to terms with the reality of apartheid and colonialism that rampantly prevailed. And with changing times the British government thought it is only fair to change the name to keep the prospect of games alive. Hence, the new name! Yet after all these we continue to be so excited about the whole thing surrounding the slavish games.

But having said all that, with India continuing to participate and participating in more than one event how can we, as Indians, stay away from supporting them? This statement may sound contradictory, given all that I mentioned earlier, but well that’s the way I feel. Since we have decided to participate we can’t call for a boycott in the midway because of so much wrong (corruption and other untoward incidents) that happened during the build up to the games. You cannot possibly reject the athlete for few people in the administration who hardly know anything about the game. Now that so much has been said and done it is only fair that we do well in the games and win more medals for the country, so that we as Indians can feel proud about the achievements.

With only few hours to go for the opening ceremony of the CWG, the city of Delhi and India in general is in complete readiness to witness one of the spectacular show from the athletes. And we as Indians should support them whole heartedly. I, for one will follow the games for sure and hope you people will do the same.

Cheers!! It’s time to play.

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