Monday, September 27, 2010

Masochism and Commonwealth Games

Masochism and Commonwealth Games
Saeed Naqvi

The gratification derived from ones own humiliation is called Masochism. That this esoteric form of perversion would bubble over in such copious torrents on our TV screens, front pages of newspapers quite beats me.

During the test events in 2003 as a run upto Athens Olympic Games, a quarter of the volunteers quit due to transportation problems. E. Sreedharan, Managing Director of Delhi Metro, deserves applause for having put together an elegant, efficient Metro network in good time.

You would have to be blind not to see the pressure on our roads ease just a wee bit, despite the unprecedented rains.

Dogs who peed in beds Athletes would have occupied have also been in the news. Did you know that Athens authorities did not know what to do with 60,000 or so stray dogs one of whom bit the Ukraine Archery coach in the midst of a competition?

An outbreak of Salmonella led to the German rowing team from pulling out of the test events. A month before the games, Athens was hit by a massive power outage. The Greek Transport Minister was stranded while showcasing the test run of the Olympic rail link connecting Central Athens to the airport. At CWG weightlifting stadium, the ceiling would have to fall on Suresh Kalmadi’s head to compare with this one.

Ofcourse, the games were covered in the most positive light by the Western media. Remember, Greece is the very fount of Western civilization!

Contrast this with the all out war by the same media on the Beijing Olympics. A strand of hair a reporter found at an eatery was telecast worldwide as a gastronomical catastrophe.

Pall of dust from storms arising in Mongolia were described as lung busting pollution. When Beijing mounted the most spectacular show the world had ever seen, the same great media covered it, tail between legs, weakly applauding.

I am not for a moment suggesting that public anger at CWG mismanagement is misplaced. Excess of it is, when the baby is thrown out with the bath water. Those awkward smile of anchors, a sort of disguised self denigration, is actually a function of acute inferiority complex which has deep roots in colonialism and beyond. How we are, is not important; how the West sees us is. This “us” is exactly the rootless middle class which has not progressed beyond the lady who told V.S. Naipul in The Area of Darkness: “I am craze for foreign; simply craze for foreign”. In fact this middle class, aspiring from Maruti to Mercedez, has got much worse. It is totally disengaged from Bharat, 70 percent of which, as the Arjun Sen Gupta report has made famous, lives on less than Rs.20 a day! It is the top 30 percent who are going hysterical at photographs of toilets that have appeared in Britain. Oh! What will they think of us?

Lalit Bhanot of the Organizing Committee, of course, does not know that personal hygiene is an eastern virtue. The Inquisition in Spain, among its first acts, shut the Hamams in Cordoba. Mozart’s brothers died because bathing them with water was a taboo! English Kings carried their own “piss pots”. Sorry, their servants did.

And why blame the new middle class. What about our elite. Name an Indian Editor whose photographs would appear in Western publications. Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian, was all over our newspapers even as his fawning Indian hosts looked on. Why, junior anchors like Zain Vergi were all over the feature pages because they had come down to us from their BBC, CNN elevation.

Five mainstream Indian newspapers regularly publish, several times a week, columnists from New York Times, The Guardian or Newsweek. These publications do not have a single regular Indian columnists. Such intellectual servility!

And do you know the obstacles in the way of cleaning up the toilets in the games village? In our entire hospitality sector there is no system to hire toilet cleaners who can be promoted, say, to barmen, waiters, lobby managers. Toilet cleaner is a toilet cleaner – Mehtar, bhangi.

Deviously, the sector has approached a Malaysian company which hires the lowest in our caste structure and as part of a contract, then loans out their services to the service Industry.

Face these realities, twit! These are more embarrassing than the falling of a tile. Incidentally learn Kar seva, dignity of any labour, from Sikhs.

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  1. well said !well said ! well said !

  2. Thank you Naqwi-ji, for setting the CWG in perspective.
    One Q: Is this bout of servile, masochist hysteria, limited to the English language press?