We are in middle of the Olympics and India has claimed its first and only individual Gold in the history of games. Once in four years, Indians think or try to think about sports. And there are questions that you will find them raising vehemently in circle of friends or over a cup of coffee. The emotions vary from shrugs to smirks. From indifference to derision at govt. sports policies, you will find it all.
This Olympic is no different and yet a bit, for the reason that China is hosting it, not only hosting it but using it craftily to raise itself on the world stage and showcase its talent and capability. The controversies linked to Olympic have already drawn a lot of criticism and questions this time. Be it Tibet issue or ‘little angel miming’ or fake graphics used in the opening ceremony; for that matter, be it the last-minute beautification campaigns of erecting walls in front of unpresentable areas in Beijing – the quest for perfection has come out more as ‘desperate’ rather than a nation’s genuine efforts to make the Olympics memorable. The unspoken question that lingers in everybody’s mind is ‘What’s the price that China is willing to pay to get such a global acknowledgement?’.
The opening ceremony has been spectacular and team China is leading the medals count comfortably. They paid a price to achieve this. Its for them to decide whether the deal was profitable. In this context, I read an interesting Indian take here. I also vaguely remember an article that I read when Obama’s pastor remarks had evoked shocking reactions among Americans. The article contrasted the Chinese policies on suppressing the Tibetans with the open-minded American society where the people at least have the freedom to speak their mind out (of course referring to Rev. Wright). Its a valid point esp. when I hear people (sometimes myself) demeaning their political systems and comparing it to others. Grass is not often green on the other side in reality. I have probably realized it more after coming in contact with the supposed other side. As long as there is a system, it will be criticized no matter what. But its better than not having a system at all. The Olympics related criticism could have been just an envy on others’ part but the Chinese themselves have had mixed emotions of pride and angst on the subject. Who is to decide?