Indian Decade

The Best India Can Do?

The media is trying to spin the Commonwealth Games in Delhi as a success. But were they really?

Because like many others I managed to escape Delhi during the Commonwealth Games (the Delhi Games must be the only ones in history where host country tour operators focused on tempting packages to get out of the place while they were on), I didn’t get a chance to follow day-to-day coverage of the sporting extravaganza.

So, since I arrived back in India, I’ve been keen to get a sense of how the games ended and whether they could be described as a success. I admit I was pretty ‘unpatriotic’ about the Games in the lead up. But with the opening and closing ceremonies apparently having been quite spectacular, and with India managing an unprecedented 100-plus medals, it would be unfair to say they hadn’t been at least something of a success.

And yet all the mud flying around about how they were organized, the last minute chaos and the less than overwhelming public participation in the festivities should make us pause for thought. In much of the media coverage as the Games drew to a close, I noticed a distinct eagerness to present the Games as far more successful than we could have hoped for two months ago.

But is this really something to brag about—that things looked so bleak a month or two ago that even achieving the bare minimum is worthy of a pat on the back? It shouldn’t be. We need to be asking ourselves if this is the best India can do.