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Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games: More than a reminder of India's colonial past?

Commonwealth Games: More than a reminder of Indias colonial past?
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By

Souvik Roy Chowdhury

Published: 6 April 2018 4:26 AM GMT
Yeeee!! The Commonwealth Games is here. We are going to win a truckload of medals and we are going to forget about all this in a year's time. No. Really! India India loves 'masala' like the sun loves the moon. We love it so much that even our sprout salad (said to be good for health) has to be spruced up with so much lemon and spices that it can leave behind a trail in your esophagus quite like the jets in the stratosphere. The country is also generally a peaceful country. Well, stress on the word 'generally'. We are a nation that prides itself as the birthplace of ahimsa while standing as the largest nation on the face of the earth not to have infiltrated another nation ' and truly there is pride to take in that. Then, of course, there is the internal polity of its all. We just are a country that is characterised by its pluralism (whether it is in our cultures, communities or cuisines) and yet have not been able to be at peace with it. We take pride in our history, our culture and are fascinated by its movie industry (one way or the other) and Cricket ' so much so that we rarely bother to realise that other sports do exist. We are also a country that takes much pride in our 'sanskaar' (a little too much these days). For a third-world country that smells of an economic powerhouse with instances of first-world facilities, we have been thoroughly looking to shake off the essence of being a British colony for the better part of two centuries. We still love the British though. Their etiquettes, mannerism are still the golden standards. And our obsession with their skin colours sells products by the millions. But India also loves to hit back at the British ' mostly through social media though and Shashi Tharoor. He has more or less launched his whole political career at the back of some of the lavishly worded and yet accurate description of the way this nation as a whole had suffered the rule (or should I say oppression) of the British. You know the rest of the story. Don't you? His videos go viral. We show it off to our friends. He sells more books and we discuss amongst our peers how we should get the Kohinoor Diamond back. And now comes the Commonwealth Games! Let's talk about the Commonwealth before the Games (although that seems to be its only claim to fame). Shall we? We can firmly begin by saying this. The whole concept of it all just seems archaic. The post-colonial clubs which give us some perks on the side or am I really missing something? Commonwealth ' where the wealth was never really common. The institution that claims to have 'its face turned firmly towards the future', for many does nothing but drag us back to the fact that we were just another English colony (the biggest and the most exploited for all that matters) ' a reminder of the past represented by an organization that only really triumphs on - well nothing really. Image result for queen commonwealth games
Okay. It's a nice cozy club of a 'few' big nations. We get to build some goodwill. And on and on! But what does it do for India? Our presence in this club will never give us the chance to be in the UN Security Council. China will always make sure of that. And we have been in here since 1949 people. Take another step forward into learning into what goes on over here and we are firmly reminded that it's an organization whose charter is to be signed by the Queen of England. Hmm. Again? Do we really need to go back to that? And the Commonwealth Games. Firstly, what did you think when I said 'Commonwealth Games'? For some it might reverberate with the clinging of medals ' we are good at that sort of thing at the CWG. However, for most the word 'Commonwealth Games' is synonymous with 'corruption' ' after the financial horrors of the Delhi Commonwealth Games of 2010. That again is a different story for a different day. For the athletes, the Games gives them a great platform for sure to shine on the international stage. However, to think of this as a preparatory competition for the Olympics should be considered laughable at best. The lack of quality in the competition in most sports never truly has really helped in setting the bar for the athletes to truly test their greatness. And the field for the 2018 version of the Games is no different. Thus, it is a Championship littered with medals that are only India's to lose. From our shooters to boxers and wrestlers ' the competition just isn't stiff enough to give them nightmares. Hey we also manage to win medals in track and field. I will leave the rest of the matter for you to judge. India have won a total of 438 medals in these games and more than half of that has come in the last three editions. And we should cross 500 by the time these games are over. We will cherish the medal winners as well as all the competitors in these games as we should but the whole exercise just seems so futile. Yes, it will certainly bring the eyeballs and the much-needed adulation for athletes of Olympic sports ' and in a country like India, it's will certainly bring in the much-deserved recognition for the athletes. However, this will bring about more sponsors for them and help get the money out from the pockets of Corporate India. But that's about it. I do hope that it rains medals for India but the whole exercise should never be thought of even as a benchmark for expectations for the Olympics or even the Asian Games. India as a country has a long way to go in order be considered as a sporting nation and while the Commonwealth Games brings in attention ' it does not do much more than that. Funds allotted for such 'mega-events' could certainly be used in a more effective manner to create 'world champions'. Moreover, India's mere presence in the organization reeks of a country which really is unable to shed a part of its history it can never be proud of. And therein lies a huge hypocrisy.
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