India Insight

Delhi Half-Marathon: Well Done Delhi

The organisers of the Delhi half-marathon could not have picked a better time for the run.

The 7:30 am start on a late-autumn Sunday was perfect weather to run. Besides the chill, the air had its fair share of enthusiasm.

The runners represented a cross section of society in the Indian capital, which also has a vibrant expat population. And yes, this is Delhi so the “pushers” (the same kind who never let people alight from a Metro train before they get in) were also present. But once the runners were spread out, there was some camaraderie on the roads.

One question on people’s minds was — “Where are the Africans?” For kilometres, there was no trace of the elite runners. That was until we saw them running past the 14 km mark while most others were nearing 7. That’s when Delhi’s runners turned into cheerleaders, clapping for their elite counterparts.

I never ever thought I’d associate the word “class” with “Delhi” but I have been surprised before.

Caste and Race: Two sides of the same coin?

The attack in a  Sikh temple in Vienna and the subsequent clashes in Punjab have brought renewed focus on the internationalisation of what many Indians see as a domestic problem.

In August 2001, I heard Martin Macwan, a human rights activist, talk about raising the issue of caste at international forums, specifically in the context of the U.N. race summit in Durban that year. The move was however opposed by the government.

Macwan spoke movingly about how fellow activists had been killed while agitating for their rights.