It was bound to come sooner or later. The wonder – the absolute, outrageous, impudent surprise of it all is that it has come so soon. The Games have barely limped to their pathetic conclusion – and those of us who are waiting for the post-Games reckoning are waiting but impatiently, inadequately consoled by the sound of the sharpening of the knives, the braiding of the hangman’s rope – or, most likely, the Japanese water torture of the promised Shunglu probe. And in the midst of this unfolding fiasco, this still-running disaster, the lovely Mr Arvinder Singh Lovely, Delhi’s Transport Minister, has made the suggestion that the insult of the Games lane, the closing off to the public of a significant part of the road which has been made with public money, be made permanent. This – as we were told in full-page ads paid for by us – was done with threats of a hefty fine or, worse, far worse, being exposed to the courtesies of a Delhi cop. The ineffable experience of crawling along patiently (but proudly, always proudly!) while sundry others flashing CWG insignia whizzed past in the CWG lane – an experience that so many of us chose to miss, could now become a permanent feature of the metro experience. I can’t wait!
I had imagined that there would be time after the Games. Kalmadi and his cronies would have to hang, of course, but it could have been done in a measured fashion. Now, it appears that there is no time to lose. The Shameless One has actually said something about bidding for the Olympics! And with the promise of enough money in the trough, we can expect the pigs to grunt their approval too – just like they did the last time. But in the name of all the people who have been uprooted, and had their livelihoods destroyed; the students who have been thrown out of their hostels; the long-suffering citizenry of Delhi that is currently undergoing the final stage of the insult and humiliation that has been heaped on them over the past year in the name of the Games, I say, enough! Hang the bastards, now!
But I should clarify quickly. I am not so naïve as to be outraged by the corruption. It is the stupidity I am particularly offended by. After all, corruption is only one half of the story. And, frankly, the corruption is hardly surprising. Corruption, to my lay understanding, is the whole point of these large “public” enterprises – it enables the crooks-in-power to get their hands on the money that has been gouged from the poor. That is exactly what everyone expects – the poor victims, the crooked beneficiaries. But surely the stupidity is gratuitous?
A Guest Post sent to us by BONOJIT HUSSAIN and NAINA MANJREKAR
[This is a leaflet issued by the University Community for Democracy which has come up in the wake of the arbitrary and authoritarian eviction of students from the hostels of Delhi University for the Commonwealth Games. Initially starting off as a facebook discussion among students, the anger has now snowballed into a movement that seeks to go beyond the immediate question of evictions. – AN]
Down with eviction of students from College Hostels!
Onwards to students self-activity!!
The current administration of Delhi University has attempted to reshape the University through a series of sinister agendas – be it the introduction of semester system, the European Studies Programme or the biometric identification system. All of them have shared one thing in common: the thwarting of democratic debate on proposals for change, and the routine violation of regulatory protocols.
The latest episode has been the eviction of students (2,000 students according to reports) from a number of hostels in Delhi University in order to make them available for the Commonwealth Games. Hostels are being renovated and beautified for the officials and visitors of the Games, while students are scrambling around for their own accommodation. The students, like the 40,000 families on the Yamuna bank, are now among the many that have been displaced in the name of national glory. What comes into question is the fact that the University has agreed to avail of 20 crores of rupees from the Commonwealth Games project without taking any cognisance of how and where such resources are generated. It has thus become an accomplice in the larger process of reckless corporatisation that the whole city is undergoing in the bid of becoming a “global city”.
Here is the slightly longer, original version of a text by me on ‘Kite Flying’ (among other things) that appeared in the latest issue of Outlook, to mark the 15th of August. The version published in Outlook is titledFreedom on A String.
Apologies for cross posting on Reader List.
Go, Fly a Kite !
There is almost nothing about rituals of statehood that appeals to me. The speeches leave me cold and patriotic anthems are the worst, most ponderous form of music ever performed or invented. As for the pomp and circumstance of parades and other solemn but pathetic attempts at grandeur – they only repeat their lessons in how distant the apparatus of the state actually is from the lives of citizens. Continue reading Go, Fly A Kite !→
1. Personal attacks are not okay! Passionate, even angry critiques are great, but you want to hold off on the invective. This is an online forum, not a prize contest on the bad words we are sure everyone knows.
2. We want Kafila to be a forum in which we can explore complex ideas together. Polarised for/against debates or WWF-type slanging matches help nobody.
3. All of us who write here have an investment in the issues posed in Kafila. So for us these exchanges are not merely academic or for point-scoring.
In line with that, a public service message about trolls, as much for ourselves as anyone else!
When it comes to the sporting arena, Scotland is not well known to set the imagination of fans on fire.
However, I was strongly praying for them to acquire an unexpected life in their opening World Cup game and hoped that they manage to give the Australians a crash course in the funniness of the game called cricket.
In the last five years, I have had only one agenda when it comes to cricket. I want the Australians to be thrashed, beaten, bullied and plummeted. The ultimate cricketing sight for me is to see Glenn McGrath’s shoulders droop and his arms hanging low and his mouth clenched tightly and his eyes unable to meet the batsman’s eyes. I don’t really care who the batsman is, it could be Henry Olonga for all I care, or any team that produces this effect. Continue reading Why I hate the Aussies→