05 March, 2021

Bakul’s Delusions

Superpower dreams? Race with China? The CWG reality check.

Illustration by Sorit
Bakul’s Delusions

Someone forgot to tell the organisers of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) that in sport a suspense-filled photofinish is not always good. Regardless of whether the Games are held without further embarrassment, they are already a failure. The plan to host the CWG was a reactive response to Beijing’s successful bid in 2000 for the 2008 Olympics. From the outset, the idea was ill-conceived. The Olympics and the World Cup in football are bona fide global events. The CWG is like a geographical Trivial Pursuit. (Do the Falklands qualify? Does Hong Kong?)

The shambolic preparations for the Games have at least pole-vaulted the event onto the global stage, meriting stories in the China Daily and the US-owned International Herald Tribune. This uniformly bad publicity is good for India if it deflates the giant hot-air balloon that our government and business elite have been floating in the past few years, posing as a competitor to China one moment, arguing that we are poised to take over from the US the next. A few years ago,...

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