08 May, 2021

Incredible Illusion

Will an evening of spectacle establish India as a big power?

Tribhuvan Tiwari
Incredible Illusion

Finally, after months of nail-biting, heart-stopping anxiety and damning headlines, ‘Incredible India’ mounted a dazzling opening ceremony to the Commonwealth Games (CWG) on October 3, causing much relief, even exultation, in the beleaguered CWG organising committee and the government. The rousing reception to the participants, the stobe-lit night, and the thunderous applause of the packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium every time the speakers mentioned “India has arrived”, were heady enough to prompt the villains-of-yesterday to crow about their abilities, their achievements.

The mesmerising opening ceremony had its impact well beyond the stadium. The Guardian exclaimed, “India has arrived: spectacular ceremony opens Commonwealth Games”. The Sydney Morning Herald was equally upbeat, “An ancient land opens its heart to the world”. But is one razzle-dazzle evening enough to repair India’s battered image? Could it engender global amnesia about the other side of...

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