The Commonwealth Games have begun in Gold Coast, Australia, today and will last till April 15. Yes, Gold Coast. That’s a city, not the entire coast of Australia, or a country like Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in Africa. What a useless name for a city, Gold Coast like a pack of cigarettes. For those who still haven’t opened Google Maps, Gold Coast is south of the more familiar Brisbane.
Anyway, the entire business of outrage and calming later. This is what the most newsworthy take of the fulmination is: why should India take part in the Commonwealth Games? Last known India is a republic and has been so since 1950. Why should we kowtow to England and its Commonwealth now? It’s another matter that most Indians will give an arm, a leg and a cousin to get to the land of the Union Jack.
The problem is compounded by the parade of the participating countries of the Commonwealth. India was, of course, led by shuttler PV Sindhu, who was chosen for the honour ahead of compatriot-now-in-the-shade Saina Nehwal. But one fact which was visible to the naked eye was that the first group was all overwhelmingly White, followed by Asian nations and then countries from Africa. The Australians came last because they are the hosts for this edition. White Aussies have been shook up after calls to evict White farmers in South Africa came to the fore since Jacob Zuma was eased out. Geography, one may say, but for those who have the knack of sifting the bullshit from the cow dung and some perspective, the parade was plain old racism in another garb. Whites first, Browns next, Blacks last. Why suffer all this even now?
There is a point though. For Indian sportsmen to make hay in the pleasant sun without the disturbing presence of the Chinese, the Japanese, the Taiwanese and the ASEAN group who would leave the folks from Delhi back in the bronzes in the Asian Games. At the Olympics, India has been happy with one gold and a few silvers in the recent past after a long, long drought at the event. So for the many sportsmen and sportswomen in this country, the Commonwealth Games is a good time to score a medal, get well-deserved media attention and make some advertisement money beyond grappling in the usual dangals of the dustbowl, in a manner of speaking.
The Commonwealth is the captive market that Britain hopes to harvest after Brexit when the gates of Europe will close for Rule Tired Britannica. So why not talk of heritage, balderdash and all that after stealing mulligatawny soup, chicken tikka and butter chicken masala? And get them brown locals to subsidise Britain into decrepitude. Ho-hum! They even copied the Bollywood spectacle that was the Delhi 2010 opening ceremony and recreated it at London 2012 by spoofing Queen Elizabeth II and dragging out the remaining The Who for an encore of Baba O’Reilly.
PS: Whatever the Indian medal count, a genius deserves a gold medal for slinking back into anonymity despite being in the eye of the storm that was CWG 2010: Suresh Kalmadi.