CWG Scam’s Potential Fallout?
Speaking half in jest during a chat with friends much before the money scam of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) had surfaced I said that the mismanaged preparations could lead to revolution. I was referring then to the dug up Capital, the lack of preparation despite seven years’ notice, the incoming rains and the signs of collapse. The money scandals erupted later. I recalled how in 1905 badly governed Tsarist Russia lost a naval battle against tiny Japan. The humiliation caused triggered revolution. That revolution failed but it laid the foundation for the 1917 Russian Revolution which succeeded.
Today’s public wars are fought on the playing field. Consider how bigger corruption related to power projects and defence deals failed to evoke half the public attention that IPL’s cricket scam did. Sport touches the public mind in a way that big business and politics don’t. So now, not in jest but in earnest, one asks what kind of fallout would CWG ending in a fiasco cause.
China made a spectacular display in the Beijing Olympics. South Africa enthralled the globe with World Cup football. How will the world and the public in India react if the CWG ends as a scandalous failure? Already the corruption has attracted international attention. The disgrace of that is considerable. If the city of Delhi is presented to foreign visitors as a shambles, if the CWG, heaven forbid, collapses with participants walking out of events in protest, or sports infrastructure breaking down, what will be the fallout?
Rightly or wrongly in public perception the entire political class is brazenly corrupt. The ruling elite wallows in vulgar conspicuous consumption while the mass of people groan under unprecedented price rise. Major crime is openly associated with ministers and national leaders. To cap this if India becomes a laughing stock for the entire world will it not be the last straw?
Our wise politicians will dismiss all such fears as being exceedingly foolish. They could be right but they need to be cautious. Shakespeare pointed out: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” One hopes the government appreciates the price of failure.
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Dr. Rajinder Puri
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