Monday, August 16, 2010


What will CWG 2010 do for a brand like India? Will it be a showpiece event or will we end up with some hundreds of eggs on our collective face? The question continues

I had been to Beijing recently. I was not fortunate enough to witness the Olympics that were held there, but went to that city soon after the Olympics. The magic continued even after the games. The first thing that one saw (or was floored by) was the airport, which local wisdom suggested was the size of 26 football fields! Once you tore yourself away from the airport you were accosted by miles and miles of newly laid roads, ring roads of mammoth proportions, flyovers all leading to the massive stadia. It had been converted into a major tourist attraction as several people like me, who could not attend the Olympics live, relived the moment. The fitter ones sprinted on the tracks; older ones like us stood on the podium, took pictures and tried hard to be something that we were clearly not-champions! Honestly the visit to Beijing, had the effect, doubtless expected by the hosts, of making many of us feel small and wonder if the progress made by India in recent years was anything to be proud of. But now it is our turn to host the Commonwealth games in Delhi in October 2010. What will the event do for a brand like India? Will it be a showpiece event like the one held in Beijing? Will it enhance our reputation or not? Or will we end up with egg on our collective face?


Have you been to a wedding a few hours before the actual event. Everything seems to be in a state of total confusion and things disbundeled everywhere. People are running around, voices are being raised, nothing can be found including one’s sense of proportion. But what happens a few hours later? Everything goes like clockwork and people are cheerfully saying cheese to a host of self appointed photographers who are busily taking pictures on their mobile phones! Have you tried visiting a mall, just a day before it is due for opening? I would strongly urge you not to do so, particularly if you have a faint heart! How on earth will this be ready tomorrow, would be the first question that would come to your mind. Brace yourself and make it to the launch the following day and you will find the place barely recognizable as the chaotic venue of the previous day, so wonderful does it look! The optimist in me suggests that even if India is behind schedule at the time of writing and the prophets of doom are shouting from the roof tops about the event’s possible failure, the games, on which so much money is being spent (US$1.6 billion to be precise excluding non related sports related infrastructure development). Mind you this is not the first time we are doing something of this nature; way back in 1982 India hosted the Asian games in Delhi which was supposedly the bigest event of such a magnitude in India till date. For those of you who may have been born later, it was these same Asian games of 1982 that spawned the birth and development of colour TV in this country. Who knows what the Common wealth games will bring about this time around!


India has a strong breed of middle class intelligentsia. It is educated, vocal and runs the risk of being cynical. We do not need India bashers at this point of time especially with the issues relating to infrastructure hassles. The world is looking at India differently over the last few years particularly. People who were quick to write off our economy and its peoples look at us differently. Enough predictions are being made by people who should know what they are talking about, as to how we will rule the world. Yet our sternest critics are within the country. The enemy is within! We have the opportunity to create a showpiece event and in the bargain make Delhi’s infrastructure not only meet the demands of visiting athletes and tourists from 71 countries but also enable the citizens of India’s capital to experience the best infrastructure in India. The Queen’s baton that has been created is already a showpiece undoutedly. I have no doubt that the games too will be something that India and Indians will be proud of in the future. So as a true Indian I will say that let the games begin and let the criticism be put on hold for a while!

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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