No criticism please, we’re Indian

August 9, 2010

Suddenly, it is not cool to be against the scandal-plagued Commonwealth Games.

A commuter walks past the Commonwealth Games 2010 mascot in New Delhi October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Parth SanyalThe CWG was meant to be Delhi’s big coming-out party, India’s assertion that it is a global powerhouse capable of doing what China did with the Beijing Summer Olympics two years ago.

Instead, the Games, scheduled for October, are turning out to be a costly embarrassment, with daily revelations of corruption, fraud and political wrongdoing that has triggered big headlines and much hand wringing by outraged citizens, sportsmen and even politicians.

But suddenly, being against the CWG is almost unpatriotic.

In an “emotional appeal” with a visual of the Indian tricolour published in all leading newspapers on the weekend, industrialist Subrata Roy flayed the “recent continuous and negative media coverage” that has left organisers and volunteers feeling “totally demoralised and dejected”.

The media, Roy said, has overdone it, “causing very big damage in maligning the image of our country”.

The media should now postpone its campaign until after the Games, Roy exhorted, and an audit of the culprits and their punishment must be done “after our country’s greatest ever sporting event is over”.

Another well known voice, editor Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express paper, eerily echoing George Bush’s infamous line, asked: Are you for the Commonwealth Games, or against?

Demonising the Games just because some people made some money is “colossal stupidity” and highlights the “worrying twitterisation of journalism”, Gupta wrote on the weekend.

Really?

Despite its many faults, one of the things that India has going for it is its vibrant media, which citizens and investors alike look on as a watchdog.

Yes, it’s shrill, amateurish and given to exaggeration at times. But it does its job and has triggered action from citizens and the government many times.

So why is the CWG being seen as a nationalistic holy cow beyond reproach?

Admittedly, the media has already moved on to other things, but this is a good time as any to sort out our feelings of nationalism and media responsibility.

What would you rather have, a mouthpiece for the state that toes the line tamely or a vigilant enterprise that does not hesitate to probe, expose or criticise?

8 comments

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The Delhi govt would certainly be very happy to shut the media up just like China but even if for once we think of letting them do that – our bird’s nest isn’t anywhere close to being perch-worthy. So why the sudden rage at people, the same people who are paying for these games, in being enlightened about the fact that we’re in a mess! Championing the cause of scaling heights of hollowness – thats what India’s CWG Games stand for.

Posted by Anuja.J | Report as abusive

Its terrible if we can’t criticise the Games no matter what. If the venues are not completed then there is no simple way to put barring saying that it is incomplete. And when a games is as over budget as the CWG you can’t really blame anyone for criticising them.
The organisers have only dug themselves into a hole and thought they would escape being caught. Its a good thing that they have been caught and criticised. Perhaps they are deserving of sterner admonishment than mere criticism in newspapers.

Posted by Gobblygook | Report as abusive

Everything hunky dory, one thing Indian media should be lambasted for is putting the once burning issues on cold burner immediately after they have juiced it out for TRPs and eyeballs.

Yes, you have a right to complain about everything that is wrong with the country. But why journalists like you (and probably everyone) keeps jumping from one burning issue to another burning issue in this mad competition in the media? I understand its neither media’s role nor authority to resolve the issues it highlights, but then, just because something is not current affairs does not mean that media has no responsibility to keep things alive for the sake of justice to the society (I’m sure that’s the reason you guys report it for the first time)!

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive

its said that AAM JANTA have very short memory and forgive and forget corrupt people, I am against this actually we are divided by races, religions, casts, regions and don’t have willingness to go against all these because that can hamper individual interest of each of us.

People don not resist because simply they don’t want to not because they cant remember

just one thing can solve this problem and it is education, education means not just information written on papers but KNOWLEDGE

Posted by Ashish511 | Report as abusive

I fail to understand Subrata Roy’s logic. For God’s sake, it is not the people who have demoralised games officials – it is these same officials and organisers who have demoralised this whole nation with their greed and incompetence. What is there to be proud of?

Similarly by their logic it is unpatriotic to criticise the games. How patriotic was it of those guys who twiddled their thumbs for 5 long years and those others who pocketed our money?

Yesterday the Congress spokesman, Manish Tiwari, tried to put a price on corruption. What percentage is acceptable and what is miniscule and therefore should be winked at. Likewise Shekhar Gupta when he said the total amount is hardly a crore plus. Is it corruption or is it not corruption? Whether it be 10/- 100/- 1000/- or a crore or 1000 crores is immaterial. What moral values do these people have? And these guys are supposed to be trend setters?

Then this ‘wait till after the games’ mantra – by then the trail will be cold, the cover up will be complete and no one will do anything about it for the next 35 years. They all ran away with our money and we sat back and said wait till the games are over! Would something like this happen in any country which professes to be run according to the law of the land?

Who has wrought shame on this country? The robber barons or the people who complain and feel ashamed that this happens in our country? So many people run with silly arguments. Shooting the messenger is not a solution. It is a diversion..Gupta, Roy, Tiwari and the like have fine tuned this to an art.

The sad part is that no one seems to be in charge anymore…..where is the PM, where are the real powers behind the throne of government…..why haven’t we heard a word from them yet? Digvijay vs Chidambaram, Kalmadi vs Gill, Manishanker vs everyone else and no one to take charge and tell them to stop this public tamasha.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Though I agree with the basic tenet of the argument that we should not stop criticizing because it being unpatriotic one should also look at it from a complete perspective. What has been the total spend across what all areas and then find out the specific areas where the misappropriation happened. Saying the entire game is a hotbed of corruption might be going over the top.

Posted by IndianBeginner | Report as abusive

[...] : Rina Chandran What : No criticism please, we’re Indian Tangy : ‘Are you for the Commonwealth Games, or against’? asks Shekar Gupta echoing [...]

any matter concerned with the country called INDIA should be a matter of concern for not only organizers,directors,managers but every common man should should have the same concern ,,a feeling that should come within ,,not to discourage but to encourage where it is the matter of our own nations pride ,,criticism leads to discouragement,,so lets pray for the sucess of common wealth games,,

Posted by 66006love | Report as abusive

Happy Independence Day to fellow Indians on this blog! I salute and congratulate every Indian on the anniversary of our political freedom. No matter how small our individual contribution may be, together we make a beautiful colorful painting of our motherland. Let us continue to march together on the path of progress, prosperity and peace.

JAI HIND!!

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive