Major Dhyanchand National stadium-Hockey, New Delhi
When leading national dailies and television news channels flashed the words
“National Shame” in the wake of the collapse of a footbridge near the Jawahar
Lal Nehru stadium, India’s citizenry were shocked and embarrassed.
banner on a building in Mumbia, near the famous Marine Drive, that reads "India
Wins Gold Medal for Corruption."
Sharmila, an assistant professor of English at the Indian Institute of
Technology in Mumbai, weighed in.
“I feel ashamed,” she said, especially that homes of some of the poorest Indians
were bulldozed to make way for new facilities for the games. “The feeling of
shame and being cheated is because we thought we have arrived and suddenly
everyone’s whipping boy – the state – is not delivering.”
Even the media attention on a bridge collapse that injured people has moved on,
according to the professor.
“We are just managing, not presenting,” said 15-year-old Amrietaa Arun, a
student of Mumbai’s KC College. “The event is showing incompetence to the
The main focus for politicians is “filling their pockets,” said Milap Dadlani,
18, a student at Jai Hind College in Mumbai. “No one is bothered about the
performance at the games.”
But Sharmila said, “Which sports extravaganza is not part of politics?”
The Olympics, she said, are another example of the same.
“I am surprised that the English media consumers are waking up to something
called corruption,” the professor said. “What is the issue of shock? Corruption
is the way the public life is organized. I don’t think that anyone except the
middle class believes that this country is clean. I just don’t understand why
this episode should come as a stunning surprise to us.”
Dadlani said the games offer an opportunity for Indian sports talents to come to
the fore, and several of those interviewed said it is not too late to save
“We should not criticize the games,” Arun said, “but point out where they are
If the games are good, said Dadlani, “people will forget about other things.”
Standing outside KC College in Mumbai are, left, Sanket Ray, 19, a mass
media student, and Amrietaa Arun, 15 , a first year student of the