Yaaminey Mubayi


The shame of hosting Commonwealth games.


Today my head hangs in shame. Not because my country, struggling with a third of its population below poverty line, with over fifty out of every thousand infants dying at birth and widespread illiteracy clouding the horizons of our Youth, has not been able to put up a grand extravaganza for the world to experience as the  Commonwealth Games. Not that we were unable to do so. But because a greedy and corrupt polity has deliberately and in full public view, destroyed our initiative, our aspirations to excel and stand on a common platform with other countries of the world. They have not only demolished our vision of development, they have not only consumed without a burp Rs.70,000 crores (app. 1.4 billion USD) of public money, contributed penny by penny by the poorest of the poor, which could have gone into programmes for education, livelihoods and providing basic healthcare for the millions who are denied it. No, they have gone further. They have destroyed the ability of millions of Indians to dream. They have destroyed our dream.


How foolish we were, the lot of us, as we sat snug and safe in our classes in Oxbridge institutions, believing in the strength of Indian democracy, its ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles, its inherent foundation of honesty, integrity and the self sacrifice of the fathers of the Nation. How we followed the pipe dreams generated by Nehru’s rhetoric and Gandhi’s attainment of international Buddhahood. How grandly we chose to plunge back into the seething chaos that was India, hoping to build its future, feeling that here,

at last, was something worth doing, giving back to the community that had given us our identity and history, living our dreams. Does that sound patronizing? Maybe just a little, but oh! To deny the enthusiasm, the passion and fervour of our dreams, then, would be like a slap on the face of an eager child.


Today, all such ideals are stripped away from me and I am Pure Cynicism, a slimy, shivering creature from whom the skin of Humanity has been flayed. I know that there is no one out there to listen. The Politician, (there is only one creature, all values, ideologies and norms are so many tentacles emanating out of a single entity, feeding one giant maw) waits and watches, secure in the public’s apathy and their ability to silence all dissent by corruption and bribery, sharing the wealth. And I thought I could fight this? Public accountability, judicial recourse, equality before law, blah, blah,  blah…How foolish one was! How meaningless it is. How tired I am of dealing with this, day in and day out. And living with the guilt of having subjected my children to this.


And so my head hangs in shame. Shame, not at the fact that such malpractices have happened- I am now used to that. But shame that the whole world knows. I stand revealed, a citizen of a Corrupt Nation.


(New Delhi)

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