Why Cities Need To Hold Big Games: To Inconvenience Citizens Or To Tell The World That They Have Arrived




Commonwealth Games 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010

It indeed is one of the apparent paradoxes that the ruling dispensing uses the platform of games to announce to the world that the city has arrived and so has the power of the country. If we look into history, the thing would become clearly apparent. When Hitler hosted Munich Olympics he wanted to tell to the world that all is okay in Germany and Germany is indeed the place to be. It is altogether a different case that his dream was laid to tatters by the protest made by black athletes from USA. The whole idea of Germany was defeated and posts the Olympic Games the world went to war for the second time.

In the same manner, when Atlanta, the Coke city decided to host the Olympic Games it was show-cased as the culmination of emergence of USA as the country of the world, and US authorities had left no stone unturned to make it a success. It was the first game where extensive television coverage of the events was used on a very large scale.

In the same manner when China decided to host the Olympics, it became the talking point for whole of the world, it is altogether a different matter that to host it, China also put aside numerous old settlements and pushed the poor people outside the city limits to tell the world that poverty does not exist. Commonwealth Games in Delhi also tried to do the same thing, but is it so easy to push the poor outside the city and claim that the poverty does not exist? Not likely, as it is a surreal situation.  Now that the games are over, these beggars and poor people who have made the streets of Delhi as their home would return back in droves in a big way, with the onset of new winter season.

If one were to do the audit of the benefits to the city after the games are over, it would be clear that the cities do not benefit much. Take the case of Pune which was supposed to turn into heaven after SAF Games, bereft of its traffic jams. Well, the situation has in fact not improved at all, and minimum one hour is required to get out of the city, so how has the city benefited. For Delhi, the audit six months hence would provide the same results. So, the moot point is, whether the games, when they are hosted, are advertised as a platform that would increase the benefits to the city?

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Suman Rai

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