Today morning I read in 'india tweets', an article by Ugich Konithari. I felt sick mentally, looking at the state of affairs of our Sports Ministry. Every politician is soaked in corruption upto their necks. Nothing seems vulgar for them now. The only aim is to make money in ANY way. Is it because the Head of our Government hasn't got time or inclination to control the deterioration of our country in all spheres?
I felt a bit of a relief when I read this article in The Times of India. Let us console ourselves reading this article. Was Indira's Governance better than the current one at least in conducting the IX Asiad in 1982? Be happy like me, reading this positive side of some of our politicians!
Sometimes it only takes a single event to tell success from failure. Or the men from the boys. In 1982, it was the flooding of an Asian Games venue.
It happened on November 19. The opening ceremony had just ended and Rajiv Gandhi was sitting in his special organizing committee (SOC) office at Pragati Maidan in the Capital with aides Arun Nehru and Arun Singh. As head of the organizing committee, the IXth Asian Games were Gandhi's first public assignment.
It was around 7.30 in the evening. The three men were watching a replay of the opening ceremony on colour television, which incidentally had been introduced in India specially for the Games.
It had started to pour right after the Games' opening ceremony. As the men watched TV, a young bureaucrat in Rajiv's technical committee informed him that the roof of the weightlifting venue — Asiad Centre in the Village — was leaking. He said the arena was flooded.
This was disastrous news. An event was scheduled for the very next day at the weightlifting venue.
Rajiv and the two Aruns — together they were known as the troika — rushed to the Asiad Village.
It was Indira Gandhi's birthday, but Rajiv didn't go home to help celebrate his mother's birthday.
Jagmohan, then lieutenant-governor of Delhi, was asked to help supply labour. It was late but by 10 pm, Jagmohan had got 1,000 men together. By 10 next morning, the Asiad Centre had been resurrected. Rajiv and the two Aruns stayed at the venue through the night. A lot was at stake. Asiad was the only big sporting event India had hosted.
It is a reminder of the level of commitment of the men who organized Asiad 1982. Compare this with the current situation. The Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) is headed by Suresh Kalmadi and he has been doing the rounds of television studios, defending some of his allegedly tainted cronies and their suspect deals. He says the OC cannot take charge of stadiums till they are complete and it is not their business to ensure the work gets done.
Asiad '82 had many firsts to its credit. It was the first time India saw world-class infrastructure. Apart from stadiums and sporting arenas, Delhi got its first flyovers. The detailing that went into the construction of stadiums speaks volumes about the vision of the people associated with the Games.
When it was built, the newly built Indraprastha Stadium (now renamed after Indira Gandhi) was the largest free-span indoor stadium in Asia and Europe and the third largest in the world, after the Astrodome in Houston, Texas and the Superdome in New Orleans.
The stadium, which hosted gymnastics and badminton events during Asiad, was carefully conceived keeping in mind India's unique history . It was located at roughly the same place that the Pandavas built their legendary capital, Indraprastha, 4,000 years ago.
"The Asiad Stadia", a book brought out by the National Book Trust immediately after Asiad 1982, says that within the grandeur of IG stadium one finds an Amravati recreated. The ruins of Ferozshah Kotla are adjacent to the stadium and there stands an Ashoka Pillar, which was brought by Ferozshah from Topra in Ambala. The book describes how Sharat Dass, the stadium's architect, drew an axis starting from the pillar and at a 45-degree angle on the Ring Road and then selected the central point of the stadium on this axis. The axis was meant to be the approach road to the stadium, allowing spectators to see the Ashoka Pillar against the sky. This is an excellent example of the minute detailing for the Asiad.
In 1982, then prime minister Indira Gandhi took personal interest in preparations for the Games.
The article concludes like this: Pity, Suresh Kalmadi and his team forgot their history lesson.
Will any leader bring back the old glory (at least in some areas - Indira also has done many grave mistakes in her tenure), which will make us proud of our own country? Now, the whole world must be laughing at us, for the current bungling in CWG.
Monday, August 9, 2010
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