Monday, August 9, 2010

1982 Asiad vs Commonwealth Games - were we less corrupt with a bit of a conscience then?

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 ope
ning 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.

Read more:

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.


Shilpa said...

I am not worried if the world is laughing at us.

I am worried that our sports people will still have to go to foriegn countries to train and bring medals for India, while the politicians here gulp down the money allocated for sports and claim that India has a long way to go before we can be on par with other countries.

Sandhya said...

Shilpa: Yes, Shilpa. The politicians connected to sports are already famous for corruption and now, scandals too.

Players like Tejaswini brings a little hope, don't you think so?

SG said...

As long as government and politicians are involved in sports, it is doomed for failure. And now, some people want to bring Olympics to india.

Swaram said...

Sigh! I am not even sure they ever will, but I sooo hope they learn their lessons soon. I think they shud keep these politicians away from sports and I also want them to retire. When they think I can't sit and write code after 60, what makes them believe these ppl cn rule the whole nation @ 60 or even 80!!!!!

BK Chowla, said...

Whatever, may be the end result of the games, fact remains that we have once again proved that we are amongst the most corrupt nations in the world.
Unless, politicians leave the sporting bodies, nothing will change as politicians are the culprits.

vimmuuu said...

Its because of these issues that I have never been able to say wholeheartedly -- "I am proud to be an Indian !"

Sandhya said...

SG: Political influence is spread like virus, here in India. Even if the person who is in charge is not a direct politician, someother politically connected person will poke his nose at some level.

Who wants to conduct Olympics in India? This is news to me!

Swaram: More than 50% of our politicians are above 60, don't dream, Swaram!

BK Chowla: Who is going to take the initiative? No sane person will take charge because he knows that he will not be left alone to do his duty sincerely, Chowlaji! Whoever is getting the gold medal and we are rejoicing for that, the individual is taking 100% effort to get it, without any help from the govt., in most of the cases.

My cousin's son played cricket very well and his coach wanted him to participate in the State level, but without influence, he was not able to do so. He has joined the IT crowd now.

Vimmuuu: We are Indians and India has got good brains, which we export and help other countries to grow! We should be proud of that, shouldn't we, Vimmuuu? Even I have done that!

RGB said...

Seems like the Politicians (and the others in the muck) have found the easiest route to making some quick bucks without sweating it - SPORTS! Sad state of affairs indeed. And moreover, we've got the Media working overtime (competing with each other) to get to the root of the whole thing, in the process causing more damage to our already ruined reputation!

R. Ramesh said...

S, my senior colleague returned today from india and the first thing he said: the country is progressing well, but the corruption...oooofffff..and that oooofff never stopped...dunno boss..v have everything there..just come outside the country and check how indian workers sweat it outside..away from families..when i was in india i thought everyone going abroad enjoys life...bull..

Sandhya said...

RGB: You are right, RGB! I hate many news channels which give 'breaking news' every other minute. They go to any length to give 'sensational news', means, negative news, to keep the viewers addicted to their channel. Who bothers about our country's reputation?

Ramesh: yes, it is a myth that people who work abroad live in luxury and happily. I have got relatives who agree with me, Ramesh.

Bikram said...

I could write a blog article on this on its own.. the answer to your question is a big fat NO.. none of the politicians can bring back the glory..
they have sunk so deep...

The thing is its no use crying now when the games are so near.. this was to be thought when it was planned why have people in office who had some sort of finger pointed at them.. the problem in our country is the
When a polictial party wins , the first thing they do is , for example TEAR off all the roads built by revious governemtn the REASON.. because now there CONTRACTORS have to earn the money ..

this is the mentality.. to be frank and really bad the current crop of politicians need ot be shot .. the army take over and then the kids who are now in school let them grow up and let them become leader ...
I know stupid thought but no other way .. this trend of father-mother-son-uncle-wife being ministrers need to change..

the office bearers know if they loose this time , next time they will win.. you thing this KALAMADI will resign or when next it comes he wont have CORRUPT people in the committe again HE WILL.. for sure

What you said of Rajiv gandhi I agree with one thing when he started he was OK.. really admired him for it but then he too got embroiled in problems so even if you are right its the people around you who bring you down.

it is a sad state of affairs in our beautful country ..

Politicians need to have a criteria simple EDUCATED, AGE LIMIT. NO FAMILY TIES, and so one then maybe things will increases..

We here moan because of too much good, catch a criminal we have to treat him as human being in india its same but opposite they treat a human being as criminal..
GOd bless our contry and a miracle might take place

Bikram said...

I agree with Ramesh that people work hard out of country but then We get the dues too, for working hard.. back home I did the same almost same work, 8am to 8pm 12 hours i got 3500Rs to start... and the idiot of the manager shouted here I get enough..

our country has everything yet we have to come abroad and work for foreigners.. I remember i applied for a job two years back, and the stuff they asked for I just said NO. The beaurecracy involved in all that ...

Sandhya said...

Bikram: Tamilnadu CM once openly said that he has 'majbooriyan' of his own. His party workers should be allowed to make money in some way, otherwise they will hop to the next party! This is the reason the roads are re-laid and TVs are given to 'poor' people who have already got their own TV!

Haha, you are talking about our TN CM's family...even the grandson will be made a minister, if he can!

Kalmadi is a seasoned politician...unless thrown out, he will stick to his post!

Rajiv Gandhi and his team is the reason we are economically in a better position now. He opened the floodgate to MNCs. He was the one who introduced computers to rural schools...we can go on. Compared to others, he had some conscience and tried his best to do something for this country. We can forget some of his negative sides when we see the current crop.

Yes, I know, Bikram, the beaurocracy is worst here. We are struck with this.

kanagu said...

It's always so sickening to read about this... how shamelessly our politicians looting the money... why they are charged with the crime of theft????

In 1982 also things went beyond the hands and then this committee with Rajiv was formed and done well.. thank god..

Hope somebody takes care this time also...

Anonymous said...

It was nice to read about the 1982 Asiad games!

It is so sad to read about the corruption scandals and the Commonwealth Games! And no one is really bothered by the corruption- they just want to score points over their political adversaries!

Renu said...

They say in hindi..jab ghada bhar jaata ha tabhi footata ha..may be now when corruption is reaching a sick level, we might find some remedy..main problem is that we have a paper PM who doesnt see anything.

Saritha said...

To get common wealth games to india sheila dixit took many film stars for the closing cermony in australia and she has spent hug money.And now each and every dept involved in the games are corrupted.

Inspite of all these i pray that the games should go smoothly and indian players should win enough medals :)

Sandhya said...

Kanagu: We don't have any proper leader now, Kanagu, who is ready to act, when needed. Every leader is concerned about their votebanks and money to spend for building their party. Name one good leader in any party....none comes into our mind.

Manju: It is so sickening to read newspaper now...corruption, corruption everywhere.

Renu: I don't see any hope in the near future, Renu!

Varunavi: People like Tejaswini who is ready to work hard, without much help from the govt., might have a chance, Saritha. Otherwise, instead of gaining foreign exchange, we will lose money...who cares, it is not an individual's money.

Kavita Saharia said...

You are right we were less corrupt with a bit of conscience then.The example(Rajeev Gandhi) you cited here speaks a lot .

The situation right now is very sad and shameful.It is very clear the Head of our government has no control over it...these are the people whom we voted to run the country.

R. Ramesh said...

Happy Independence Day buddy:)

Sandhya said...

kavita: The situation is worsening and we don't have anyother better leader in sight for the near future, Kavita.

Happy Independence day!

Ramesh: Thank you! Happy Independence Day to you too!

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