Monday, April 19, 2010


Finger Out, Socks Up


That bombs went off is a deplorable and unpardonable lapse on the part of the security men. That more bombs remained passive can only be attributed to the grace of God. These events are yet another example of how public security and the sanctity of life are nothing more than platitudes for the privileged few, entrusted with maintaining law and order in India. Given all the brouhaha about security prior to the commencement of IPL3 and the international implications of the upcoming Commonwealth Games, such comments from the likes of Lalit Modi will rightfully make visitors think long and hard about travelling to India.

The ever-growing non-issue spat between Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi has provided cover for people with important titles to make daft, irresponsible and reprehensible comments on the bungled Bangalore security operation. Such disgusting attitudes showcase the "what's in a couple of deaths here and there" attitude that clearly permeates throughout India's top political and law enforcement ranks. The disturbing aspect of all this is that people like this will also be responsible for Commonwealth Games' security. God save the Queen's Games!

While Modi's decision to shift the semi-finals out of Bangalore deserves commendation, this episode must not be explained away through denial, ignorance and the unprofessionalism of a distracted media. I hope and pray that police chiefs, particularly in Delhi, are cognisant of the ineffectiveness and inefficiency that ails their forces. Only after accepting that one bomb is one too many will security chiefs be able to implement appropriate measures to overcome these failings.

There exists a real fear that some within the establishment will view this IPL example as an instance of great Indian administration, courage and powers of persuasion. I can only imagine that Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar's assurances that all was well convinced the other players, particularly those of the international star variety, that the stadium was safe. Had the match involved teams with international captains (Rajasthan Royals' Shane Warne and Deccan Chargers' Adam Gilchrist, for instance), I doubt whether we would have seen a match - unless of course, Modi took it upon himself to bully and threaten the players to play.

I can assure anyone who subscribes to the above theory that delusions of such administrative 'greatness' will yield nothing but ridicule during the Commonwealth Games. The slightest hint of a bomb within kooee of a sports arena or the athletes' village could be the rightful catalyst for an immediate and massive exodus of foreigners from Delhi. While such actions may result in more Indian Games' medals, they will also ensure that the world's tacit acceptance of India as safe and reliable destination for business, leisure and sporting exchanges will lie in tatters.

In this eventuality, what difference will there remain between us and Pakistan?

There is still time to remedy the twin ills of complacency and ineptitude when it comes to delivering a safe and successful Commonwealth Games. Do the administrators and political leaders have what it takes to make the right calls, not just those that easy and personally beneficial? I have my doubts, but I'll happier than most to be proven very, very wrong.

The time has come, India, to pull up and out the proverbial socks and fingers.


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