A few years ago, when I was working in India, I spent several days talking to poorer Delhi residents whose homes had been demolished in preparation for these games. These were familiar stories of individual catastrophe; in recent years there has been a lot of painful upheaval as politicians try to create a city worthy of its status as gateway to an emerging superpower.You mean shoddy, jury-rigged and falling apart before it’s even open?
But there was a particularly depressing absurdity in the amount of misery triggered during the planning of the athletes' village – a construction that would only be operational for a short period.A period that might now be shorter than they’d planned!
In the context of the profound unhappiness that families such as Parvati's have endured, complaints from team officials about the standard of accommodation might be viewed as rather petulant.You mean, because of the actions of the Indian government, the athletes have no right to be concerned that part of the roof may fall on their heads?
Feeble even, when you put them next to those of people such as Mahavir, a farmer who saw the 10-acre plot of land where he grew flowers and vegetables reclaimed by the state for the project.That’s hardly the athletes fault, is it? They didn’t instruct the Indian government to uproot Mahavir’s vegetable plot.
The buildup to the Commonwealth Games has been chaotic and troubled by allegations of corruption. The resettlement of so many city residents raises uncomfortable questions, and the environmental damage to the banks of the Yamuna river is likely to be permanent.But, presumably, the Indian government saw an upside; increased tourism, increased trade…
But however misguided these decisions were, the price has already been paid. It would be even worse to think that the sacrifices made were entirely pointless.So, the athletes should risk shoddy, dangerous conditions?
In the spirit of friendliness the games is meant to evoke, the athletes should fret less about their personal comfort and insist on travelling to Delhi. Turning up to take part is the least they can do.They aren’t so much fretting about their ‘personal comfort’ as their safety, and that of the attendees!