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Ratnakar S


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Common Wealth Scam- A Wakeup Call

By: indian1969 Posted Sep 23, 2010 General 1042 Views

It was meant to be India's moment of Glory, the time when we could announce to the world that we were not just a land of beggars, palaces and elephants. When we could show to the world, that we could organize a multi crore sports event successfully and efficiently. The Common Wealth Games was meant to represent the "New Rising India" as opposed to the "Old India mired in sloth and inefficiency".But things have turned out the other way, 10 days from now, when the discussion should be about India's chances in the games, which Athletes to watch in action, the likely stars, when the focus should have been on the sporting action, instead the talk is about collapsing bridges, falling ceilings, nations threatening to pull out, unhygienic living conditions. Now regardless of how the Games turn out, the fact is the Common Wealth Games have turned out to be India's moment of Shame, a national embarrassment.Let us not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.

But as they say, sometimes failures can teach you a lot more, than success. The Common Wealth Games fiasco, is a huge huge wake up call for us. Sure it is a scam, marked by bungling, inefficiency, sloth and corruption. But is is anything new? What is happening in the Common Wealth Games is something we have been seeing for the last 60 years. It is just that because its an international event, and the inefficiency is too glaring, that the outrage is so loud. For too long we have been tolerating corruption and incompetency, and to mask that we coin fancy terms like "jugaad", "spirit of people" and all that stuff. It is not that we are a nation of incompetent people, Delhi Metro, ISRO, the Indian IT sector, the IIT's have all proved that we can match up to some of the best in the world. But it is our tolerance of corruption and the "chalta hai"attitude that is killing us slowly.

For too long we have been tolerating corruption, justifying that if you need progress and development, you have to live with corruption. Sorry but that point just does not wash. More often than not corruption results in inefficiency and incompetence, yes things will move, but not for too long.

Age old trucks, overloaded with cargo, often cause serious accidents, or crash on the road. But why should those trucks be plying on the roads in the first place, its because the transport owner, would have bribed the officials to certify them fit.

Buildings collapse, because more often than not, the builders would have cut corners to save costs. Is it not ironical, that most of our ancient buildings that were constructed centuries ago, still stand, while the modern day buildings can't stand for more than a decade? But then as long as the builder-official-politician nexus is intact, we can expect more collapsing bridges, ceilings and homes.

We boast of so many malls, but has any one bothered to check if these malls meet the safety standards, most of them don't have proper exits, nor parking places. No prizes for guessing what happened between the builders and the govt officials.

Corruption ensures that medicines meant for poor patients do not reach them. Corruption ensures that funds meant for developing rural areas, go into the pockets of the officials, and those villages are as backward as they were earlier. Corruption ensures that our soldiers have to fight with sub standard equipment in miserable conditions. We had seen it in 26/11, when some of the best officers of the Mumbai police force, lost their lives, as they had no life jackets. Surely some babu must have eaten half the funds, meant for that purpose.

I can go on and on, but just want to point an example of our next door neighbor. Today Pakistan is reeling under some of the worst floods ever in history, millions of people are rendered homeless. But the world is reluctant to help, why, not because it is heartless. Because the corruption there has been so notorious, that donors are not sure if the aid would go to the right people, or end up in the pockets of Govt officers, and in turn channeled into terrorist groups. Let us not end up in that situation.

For too long, we have been tolerating corruption and inefficiency. The CWG scam is a major wake up call for us. We have been shamed in front of the world. If we still refuse to learn from this, and go on with the same "chalta hai" attitude, not even God can save us.

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