Kids Corner


Sāre Jahān Se Achhā Hindustān Hamārā




Old jingle

sāre jahān se achhā hindustān hamārā -

Better than the whole world is our Hindustan



Allegations of corruption and mismanagement are overtaking a tournament that India's Prime Minister said would "signal to the world that India is rapidly marching ahead with confidence."

The Economic Times newspaper, citing internal documents, said organizers bought rolls of toilet paper at $80 per roll, soap dispensers at  $61 each,  and first-aid kits at $125 each.

Government spending for the Commonwealth Games has overrun a 2003 estimate of $500 million by more than nine times the budget. The Games have been criticized as the most expensive ever by the Comptroller and Auditor General agency and opposition parties in a nation where the World Bank says 828 million people live on less than $2 a day.

"We have not indulged in any extravagance," India's minister for sports, however, continues to maintain.

Organizers spent $220 each on mirrors costing $98 retail, $61 on soap dispensers costing $1.97, and $250190.00 on high-altitude simulators costing $11,830.00, according to reports by the Economic Times and India Today magazine, citing tender documents.

A day after the weightlifting hall opened Aug. 1, its roof leaked during a monsoon, and workers in white helmets climbed across the structure to patch it.

India's Central Vigilance Commission said in August that "almost all" the contractors for games-related projects inflated their costs. The quality of work was poor, and "test records were fabricated to show high strength," according to the government commission set up to investigate corruption.

The commission said concrete samples from stadiums, athlete housing and parking facilities failed a key strength measure, and the structures used reinforced steel that wasn't properly treated with anti-corrosive materials.

From the start, the government was criticized for spending money on the games instead of on programs to alleviate poverty.

UNICEF says 665 million Indians don't have access to toilets, so they defecate in public.

The games will displace at least 400,000 of New Delhi's 11.8 million residents, according to an estimate by the New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network.

"Developing countries have very little reason to host these games," said Shalini Mishra, a senior researcher at the non-profit organization. "The amount of money that has been spent on stadiums alone could have done so much more for the poor. The government seems to have lost its sense of priorities."

Slums that weren't cleared in time will be screened off with bamboo to "conceal the sights," said New Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, the city's top bureaucrat. Beggars will be taken off the streets, traffic will be rerouted and much of the city center will become a high-security zone.

As traffic whizzed by her 2-year-old son, Malati Mahto chipped away at the pavement on New Delhi's posh Lodhi Road, refurbishing the main thoroughfare for traffic to the main arena, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and parking lots. She said she earns total $1.22 for the day by working 12-14 hours a day with no helmet or gloves.

Mahto, 28, said she was told by the contractor who hired her that her family must leave their blue, plastic hut alongside Lodhi Road by Sept. 15.

"They told me that people will come from England and Australia to run and jump," Mahto said.


Well, here's a new jingle Indians can sing after the Commonwealth Games:

Har shaakh pey ulloo baitha hai, anjam-e-gulistaa(n) kya ho-gaa -

With an owl (idiot) perched on every branch, what will become of the garden?



[Extracts from original article, courtesy: Bloomberg]

August 20, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Balwant Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), August 20, 2010, 4:38 PM.

If UNICEF has determined that 665 million Indians defecate in public every day, that means much of the majority community in this country - minus, of course, the Ambanis, the Birlas, the Mittals, and the like, all of whom probably have private, indoor gardens for the job - is involved. Sometimes, when the winds blow in from the plains around us, there is a bit of a stink! I've always wondered ...

2: Jagdish Radhe (Missouri, U.S.A.), August 20, 2010, 4:41 PM.

At some juncture in the past, someone had put forth the idea that the Indian flag should depict an Indian defecating in full glory. I don't know why the idea was rejected, but I now fully understand why it was proposed in the first place. Jai Hind!

3: Karam Singh (Mumbai, India), August 20, 2010, 6:43 PM.

India is incorrigible. It needs a revolution, a la the Chinese one under Mao, for example: a total, surgical scrapping of the old to make way for the new. It'll need a few decades of pain and agony, chaos, turmoil and anarchy - just like what China went through - before we can rid ourselves of the leeches that have latched themselves onto this land and people. The sad part is that this country is so damn resilient - except for the Sikhs, the majority of the country will take any and every injustice with a pinch of fatalism and carry on in reduced circumstances as if nothing has happened. Things continue to deteriorate from bad to worse, and yet the people are happy that a few more lousy rupees are thrown their way. And with Sikhs being actively marginalized by the government, there is no one left to lead the way. It's the blind leading - no, plundering! - the blind!

4: Baljit Singh (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), August 21, 2010, 12:07 AM.

Corruption and lawlessness is rampant in India and Indians are enslaved by these. Historians will write this as the century of the Nehru dynasty and detail how they plundered India by means of a few conglomerate families. Indians will someday realize the sacrifices of the Sikhs in trying to lead India to glory and the rule of law, but were instead labeled terrorists, separatists and anti-Hindu by these rulers to stay in power. A revolution is needed in India - I think it was started but Indians chose to be enslaved, just as in the past centuries, by the Mughals and the English, only this time the rulers are the scoundrels from amongst them.

5: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada.), August 21, 2010, 11:22 AM.

And during the games, they will sing: 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' - 'My India is Great!' - on radio and TV.

6: Taran (London, United Kingdom), August 21, 2010, 12:26 PM.

It is not at all possible to change India or the Indian sub-continent, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. They're all the same people. Three different countries! Look at their history. From the times of our Gurus till now. And in between, all those rajas, maharajas, Mughals and then the British and now our own politicians. At what time can one remind me that India did not have these leeches. We always had them. Without them, the Indian subcontinent would have long gone the way of Singapore, or even Europe. Ghulami, makkaari and dhokha is in their blood. None of the outsiders could have made it to this land if this race was a bit more clever and united and did not have so much greed. Why do you think in India there are so many gods and goddesses. Because it needs them. There are millions of them who need the devis and devtas because they cannot hold themselves in a civilized way.

7: Amardeep (U.S.A.), August 21, 2010, 3:01 PM.

Along the same lines ... 'Peepli' (live) is a good movie telling the story of the farmers' situation and widespread farmer suicides in India.

8: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), August 22, 2010, 10:32 AM.

The tenor of the conversation reminds of an incident from long ago. Keep in mind that I left India over 50 years ago and do not connect with the country and its corrupt, caste-riven feudal ways at all. At a gathering, one friend of Indian descent went on a rampage against that culture, labeling them all thieves, dishonest and supremely untrustworthy. I could not help asking that if that were so, then would it not, by definition, make him and I both untrustworthy as well? He was not amused. I know this is not the time or place for microanalysis or splitting hairs but is it at all reasonable to tar everyone with this broad brush? In a blink, our dialogue turns into a form of self-hatred then. It is like the adage that 'Indians are lazy, French romantic, British conservative, Spanish dashing and Americans filthy rich.' I am not trying to defend India, nor would I. But at least at the beginning (in 1947) pretty much all Indians of whatever faith thought differently. That's why there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, and Sikhs opted to join the nominally secular notion (and nation) of India. They came together in national purpose and elected leaders towards that end. But politicians destroyed that purpose. Fighting like hyenas over the remains of an arbitrarily demarcated country killed any idea of embryonic nationhood in it. Today, a nation it is not.

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