Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oppose and boycott Commonwealth Games 2010

An appeal
Oppose and boycott Commonwealth Games 2010,
A Symbol of British Empire, Loot, Misplaced Priorities and a Skewed Sport Culture.
The gross anomalies, pilferage of the funds, scams and corruption in the name of the Commonwealth Games are coming out in the open almost every day. It’s probably the biggest scam in India’s history, the whole extent of which is yet to be established. Suresh Kalmadi is not the only culprit either, probably Sheila Dikshit and her associates have also made a big profit out of it. But the real culprit is the Indian Government which has thrown away people’s money shamelessly for the last few years for organizing the games.
The question is not limited to corruption only. The whole event raises some deeper questions which have been raised by SJP and VYS in the last 1 year. The biggest issue is of the colonial legacy and its celebration. The Commonwealth is a group of countries which were a part of the British Empire. Even after independence from the British why do we keep on being a member of it and celebrate the colonial relic? The “Queen’s Baton Relay” of the Games started with our president receiving the baton from the Queen of England in her palace and after going through other Commonwealth Countries is touring India’s various parts. Why?  Is the British Queen still ‘our’ queen too? Does our government consider the 200 year period of British rule (and 200 years of destruction, loot, famines and poverty) a glorious chapter and therefore organizes lavish celebrations to honour its memory? We want an answer from Indian Government and the Indian National Congress.
The second question which arises is of the priorities of the government of this poor country. The budget allotted for the CWG has crossed 35,000 crores starting from the amount of Rs. 767 crores (7.67 billion), but if we include the spending on various projects passed in and around Delhi in name of the Games (including many flyovers, expressways, parking lots, metro expansion, new terminal at the airport, beautification and repair/renovation works) the amount crosses a whopping Rs. 1 lakh crore (1 trillion)! Do the resources of this poor country belong solely to Delhi’s super-rich? In Delhi itself the slum-dwellers, street vendors, Rickshaw-Tonga-pullers, the poor, helpless, labouring people are being driven out. Even students have been forced to vacate their hostels so that foreign ‘guests’ and tourists can stay there. The workers engaged in the construction of Game sites are also living in inhuman conditions. On the other hand, just like the Asian Games held earlier, this event is also being used to build a number of 3 star-5star hotels on valuable land. The Govt. always says it doesn’t have enough funds for the common man’s education, healthcare, nutrition, housing, electricity and development of villages According to its own figures 10 lakh (1 million) posts of teachers are lying vacant in Government schools. Despite increasing hunger and malnutrition, the govt. refuses to provide subsidized rations to the people. Then where has this obscene amount of money to spend on this 12 day charade has come from?
The third major question is of the sports culture which events like these promote. The event is being organized in name of improving the condition of sports in India. But after the Asian Games (1984) did the sport scenario in India improve, did our pitiable place in international medal tallies get better? The huge stadiums under construction with astonishing amounts of money will lie unused and will be a burden after the 12 day Games. Their maintenance will cost millions every year. If the Government had instead spent and paid attention on building playgrounds and sport-infrastructure in our villages, small towns, schools and colleges, the country’s sports would have benefited in reality.
The politicians and bureaucrats sitting on top of the sports institutions in India are hand in glove with multinational companies, capitalists and middlemen, and therefore are determined to commercialize sports fast. It is being converted into a money making machine. The IPL, the CWG, even the football World Cup are symbols of a new sport culture. Sports are fast becoming expensive, thus out of reach of the poor and common people. Companies, firms, middlemen and money-makers are acquiring an almost absolute control over sports. If the family of India’s only gold medallist in the last Olympics, Abhinav Bindra, spent millions of rupees on building a private shooting range for him and getting him trained in Germany, how many families in India can afford that? Actually the need of the day is to begin a new sport policy and culture, in which sports are cheaper, down to earth so that more people can participate in them. They should be freed of  the claws of the companies and capital. Instead of cut-throat competition (which gives birth to evils like doping and match-fixing) real sportsmanship has to be promoted.
Vidyarthi Yuvjan Sabha and Samajwadi Jan Parishad appeal to the youth, athletes and fellow citizens to oppose the Commonwealth Games with all their might, because they represent our colonial past, imperialism, loot of resources and misplaced priorities. We voiced our protest through a sit-in at Jantar Mantar and through entering the CWG office building at Cannaught Place on 23rd February, 2010. (Around 500 people were arrested for the protest). We’ll oppose the ‘Queen’s Baton’ and ‘Commonwealth express’ in their path and appeal all likeminded people to oppose and boycott them.
We’re planning a big protest on 30th September, 2010 when the Queen’s Baton Relay reaches Delhi, please do join us in large numbers. 
       Vidyarthi Yuvajan Sabha, Siddiki Building, Bada Hindurao, Delhi. Phone: 09868617785 (Arman)
  Samajwadi Jan Parishad, vill.& post Kesla, via Itarsi, Distt. Hoshangabad, M.P.  Phone: 09425040452 (Sunil)

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