So the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games finished a few days ago. But chances are that many of you did not care or even know about it. No … you are not living on Mars, many of you could be either European/American, for whom the word ‘Commonwealth’ does not ring a bell or many of you couldn’t be bothered about spending your precious time following a sporting activity that is considered to be among the 10 largest sporting events in the world, but probably has little practical significance in the ‘bigger picture’ (at least that’s what some people think)
But me, the perennial skeptic, does not belong to the above camp. For the following 7 galactically important reasons, the games held a lot value:
1. They created common WEALTH – Yes they did, and loads of it … so what if it was only for the organizers! How can we overlook the fact that anyone at a reasonably important post in the organizing committee/s would have seen their personal networth increase handsomely. Some estimate that spending for the Commonwealth Games overran the original estimate of $500 million nine-fold. Do the math yourself and wonder where a lot of that $4.5 Billion went
2. They increased GDP/standard of living for many Indians – Thanks to all the kickbacks that thousands of people received, many families will have spanking new cars, apartments, LED televisions etc. In the time of the current recession it matters! All that money spent of spiffing up public places that nobody was going to visit, paper projects that never saw the light of day and will eventually get reported as handsome profits for many companies (some non-existent). How can one argue against improving the living conditions of people in a country where many live on $2 a day?
3. They reduced unemployment – Thousands of workers were hired to make and then dig-up the same roads, lay and re-lay pavement stones, paint broken walls. I happened to be in Delhi during July. On visiting Rajiv Chowk (one of the most important locations of Delhi) I witnessed dozens of workers snoozing in the shade of trees waiting for inspiration to repair the roads they dug up last week. Then hundreds must have been hired as a last ditch effort in the last few weeks to help the poor overworked souls. Obama – take note, here’s a tip on how to reduce America’s unemployment
4. New heights of luxury were created – Who in the world can boast of $80 rolls of toilet paper (Kimberley-Clark: did you miss a massive opportunity here?), $61 soap dispensers and $125 first-aid kits. You cannot even partake of such luxuries at the Ritz Carlton
5. New architectural grounds were broken:
China gave the world this ….
Now put your hand on your heart and tell me, which one of these will end up heralding the new era in architecture and design?
6: India emerged as a sporting giant – India stood second in the medal tally, beating the mighty sporting nations of Tonga, Bangladesh and Cayman Islands. Come the next summer Olympics – China and America will be trembling in their ranks.
7. It brought mankind closer to nature – .. or was it the other way round? For hundreds of urbanite sportsmen who were not conversant with the glorious Indian fauna, this was their chance to get close and personal with it. Don’t trust me? … read it here
But …. as the saying goes – ‘All’s well that ends well’. These were minor hiccups, compared to what in the end turned out to be hugely successful games . They did have some truly momentous sporting occasions, the spotlight shone on India & performances of Indian athletes in areas like Shooting, Hockey, Women’s 4 x 400m relay will go a long way in reviving interest in sports other than the omnipresent Cricket. It wasn’t really all that bad … was it?
So world … look at the brighter side and bring on the Indian hosted Olympics!