The recently concluded Beijing Olympics undoubtedly put China on a world pedestal unlike any we have seen or known before. Journalists across the world called it one of the most spectacular showcasing of sporting events yet. Adding one glory on another, China walked away with a hundred medals. Hu Jintao beamed in all glory and had all the reason to do so. His country has done him and the entire Chinese communist establishment proud.
Only several months ago, vociferous protests echoed across the globe condemning China's atrocities in Tibet. Television channels beamed a series of saddening pictures of monks breaking down. A number of world leaders made "tall-order" speeches calling for China to exercise restraint and also lost no time in bellowing their support to Tibet by promising to stay away from the opening ceremonies. (The American & French two-facedness is well known and needs no special mention). The much awaited touring of the torch was marred by protestors who succeeded in putting out the flame which resulted in the Chinese government taking unprecedented measures and stepping security to torch bearers. India's National Security Advisor, M. K. Narayanan was given the task of overseeing the security of the torch while it 'toured' India. Besides, India's Ambassador to Beijing was summoned at an unearthly hour to listen to China's security concerns. (I'm wondering how much more degrading a task the NSA & the Ambassador needed to be assigned for the Government of India to be China-sucking and beaming it for the sake of appeasing the Red Dragon. It did not matter that an Indian Team comprising Army & Intelligence personnel were chased away by the Chinese Army while conducting a border-patrol)
All China-bashing (mere statements i.e.) stopped in the same steam and urgency as they begun as the days to the countdown inched closer.
While invitations were rolled out, it was not the Indian Head of State whose name appeared as a guest to the opening ceremony, but those of a 'prominent' ItalioIndian family who lost no time in accepting the 'courtesy'. So called 'diplomatic sources' pointed out that this should not be viewed as China having snubbed Dr. Manmohan Singh! (I'm confused! And will not be surprised if one day the North Block would be seen flying the Red Flag with Stars) In truth, China had indeed snubbed the Indian government by not inviting its leader to the games (Double-Whammy!!!)
On the evening of August 8 when I watched the Opening Ceremony at the 'Bird's Nest' via the Internet, I was nothing short of having been stunned by the wonderful display of carefully and superbly choreographed stretch of events that were undoubtedly beyond India's capacity of attempting to display (Facts might hurt indeed) What the ceremony showcased apart from its fabulous accompaniment of fireworks and cultural exhibits, was the superhuman effort and discipline that had gone behind making the event. Which brings me to the centrality of this blogpost............ Can we ever host the Olympics in India? Why is it that in a nation of a billion plus people, quality is a very sparsely available commodity? It is surely not because of the Indian population in its entirety being non-committal to excellence! Or is it? I begin to fear! Are we in truth deteriorating as a people with the passing day? Or is it that the system is so riddled and beyond repair that its revival can well be likened to the process of evolution itself? The Common Wealth youth games, to be held in Pune are less than two months away from start while the local government is yet to complete many an avenue designated for the games! Accommodation and infrastructure woes continue to plague authorities as time speeds by. It is estimated that Seventy countries would participate in the games. An opportunity such as this comes rarely and the Government and civic bodies should do all they can to capitalize on events such as these not merely to host a wonderful event but also promote India as a tourist destination and cultural hotspot that will play a vital role in attracting people world over. The never ending problems of inadequate security, pot-hole ridden roads, poor infrastructure and an indifferent people are so malicious that they grow upon the international community who will lose little time and opportunity to label India as an 'unfriendly' destination. It is time we as a people change and ensure that enough pressure is exerted on the Government and civic authorities to ensure that we provide a world-class reception to people from across the globe. We lack training facilities and world-class equipment to facilitate our athletes to perform better. It is a shame that in a nation of Arjuna and Eklavya, archery takes a back seat. Despite hockey being our national game, we failed to qualify in the games! Is the Indian endurance high for the wrong reason? Are we a satisfied lot in mediocrity shying away from excellence since it involves efforts?
Think......, Imagine........., the Indian flag being raised, the national anthem being played in the background, a curtain raiser to the Olympic games. Is it a dream? Can it not be an Indian dream? Will it remain a mere dream?