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'Shame Games' Put India Further Behind China

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 26, 2010

Barring any more disasters, the Commonwealth Games will open in New Delhi on schedule after all. The fact that the games won’t be delayed or cancelled is a victory for India’s beleaguered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Still, the games have already proved to be a disaster for the country and even if the rest of the games go off without a hitch, the images of crumbling infrastructure and filthy conditions will be hard to shake. The “Shame Games,” as an Indian magazine has dubbed them, will just reinforce the idea that corruption and mismanagement prevent India from matching the achievements of China.

American readers might be puzzled, asking who knows or cares about a second-tier event like the Commonwealth Games. Indians do care, though, and they long ago pointed to Delhi 2010 as India Shining’s answer to China’s success in staging the 2008 Olympics. This would be an event showing how India had overcome its corruption and mismanagement demons. The current failure therefore is about more than just whether some athletes don’t show up because of reports there’s poop on the walls in the living quarters. Here’s what Economic Times of India columnist Sudeshna Sen writes: “The disaster is economic and political. A setback to the country’s economic future , its geopolitical standing, its clout in places like UN and G20, et al. I don’t care what the Sensex is doing — we’re heading straight into Christmas bonus time when international traders need to spice up their earnings — the games disaster is going to make life very, very difficult for any politician, businessman, corporate, investor or diplomat in the future. Every single overseas investor who is being wooed for trillions of dollars to invest in India’s infrastructure will think thrice. Forget China and the Asian Games. Dear everyone, India is no longer considered in the same league as China, whatever we may wish to think.”

But China has plenty of corruption problems, too. And there’s no shortage of inept Chinese officials. So why does China succeed where India fails? Here’s one theory. In China, which executes more people than any other country, high level officials who screw up badly may face the death penalty if the country becomes an international laughing stock because of their actions. Consider the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, executed in 2007 after a series of Made-in-China scares involving tainted food and drugs. Two people implicated in the tainted milk scandal, which left several children dead, thousands of others sickened and countries around the world shunning Chinese dairy products, were executed last November.

India, to its credit, rarely imposes the death penalty. But it rarely imposes any other penalties, either. The notoriously slow Indian legal system, where cases can languish for decades, makes it easy for corrupt officials to go ahead without any fear of punishment.

Reader Comments


September 27, 2010 12:28 AM

What India needs the most is people with project management skills.

It seems their preparations have no planning, no monitoring, no contingency plans, and no responsibility delegation.

dorje shugden

September 27, 2010 12:29 AM

Mr.Einhorn's comments at the end is so very true. Without the threat of death penalty, corrupted officials can always make LAWS and EXCUSES to continue their bribe taking and self-fattening all at the expense of the WHOLE country's well being and reputation.

Thus, we need to EXECUTE the bad apples. But the AMERICANS, BRITISH, Canadian and Australian HUMAN RIGHTS committees will ACCUSE and RIDICULE us internationally and simply KEEP INDIA PERPETUALLY CORRUPT !!

Let's learn from China on what WORKS for them and made them climb out of the shit hole all the developed countries and Japan put them for centuries !

We must learn and do what works in China and not what FAILED in UK & America !

Bruce Einhorn

September 27, 2010 12:34 AM

This is the only reason its INDIA not any other country.


September 27, 2010 12:36 AM

India is indeed lucky that world did not have faith in our ability to host international Games like Olympics so we had to go with a second tier Commonwealth Games. Can you imagine what world will think about us if it were the Olympics. We can't blame the workers for s**t in the athletes village and feces splashed all over the walls. After all we treat the workers like s**t. They are forced to live in makeshift tents with no food, drinking water or toilets for weeks and months. Child labour of kids as young as 4 or 5 is plainly visible. Perhaps this pressure can start the process of curing these injustices.


September 27, 2010 12:37 AM

A very nice review from someone who seems non-Indian, but familiar with India's problems.

India is not in the same league as China because of its civil servants, politicians, corruptions, and apathy of the general population. I feel bad for the young Indians - as they are brilliant, critical, and inquisitive. I do not want to say they are better than Chinese youth - but their ability to question themselves and the system in general make different. However, the antiquated civil service system (an engineer to report to a civil servant), political corruption, and other things will make this country lag further. Often people say China is aspiring to be the the next USA - but India may achieve the status of current day Brazil. Indian movie stars and rich may have their expensive cars, but there is no place they can drive. India needs to give a serious look at its governance after this game - may be a wake-up call.


September 27, 2010 1:23 AM

I think this is the first ever article from Bruce, that I really enjoyed. Did any one help you to write? :P or you are catching up :)

Bama O'Husin

September 27, 2010 1:33 AM

While the bigger Anglos powers have been condescendingly respectful, the other weeny Anglos like the Kiwis, Ozzies etc have no qualm to prick on the Indian big ego.


September 27, 2010 1:43 AM

Are you suggesting that India should start executing people or China should stop doing it so that they could have a bad game too?

While Indians face all these obstacles, they are at least not under scrutiny for not being non-democratic. Imagine the coverages/boycotts that China would get for using all the underpaid/poor condition/child labors like the dehli CWG during the Olympics. (Someone would say that the Chinese government did and covered it up, but concrete evidences would be nice.) And every time people talked about the Beijing game, they would always bash it a little bit for being politically correct. Most westerners have no idea how the lives are in developing countries, and always use their comfort-living western standards to judge. Come here and live a day with the poors then you'll understand.

I actually see this event the opposite way. While the Indians slacked most of the 7 years of preparation, they did show some effectiveness last couple weeks. Hope they realize that if they can keep it up, everything they talked/dreamed about would be possible.

I wish them a good and successful CWG.


September 27, 2010 2:25 AM

@Antony..india got the commonwealth games back in 2003 and 7 years wasted. what intelligence you need to figure out which goes in first..installing the storm drains or the foundations??


September 27, 2010 3:01 AM

I have worked with many Indian outsourcing companies and employees. It is well known they exaggerate highly on there skills, make random promises and under deliver every time. It's this over promise, and lying culture which you've failed to mention. Hence, Commonwealth Games fiasco is as expected in India.


September 27, 2010 3:12 AM

To Antony:

There are big cultural differences btw Chinese and Indian. Ability to question is typical India BS; India had 7 years to prepare the 2nd-class game and question their gov't. Indians everywhere just love playing politic, and don't know how to work. Chinese people work hard and leave the politics to the gov't.


September 27, 2010 3:20 AM

they will start doing right once they get rid of this sickening caste system


September 27, 2010 3:56 AM

As an Indian, I have to hang my head in shame at the way the Politicians have takent he country for a ride and put the entire country to shame. India needs a judiciary that works fast and efficently. The media are doing an excellent job of highlighting the ills in the society and especially among the political class, but the law does'nt work or it is inefficent. The public are truly helpless and are made face this shame in front of the international community. Most Indians are honest, hardworking and want to give the best for their families and do not want to cheat to enrich themselves as they are deeply religious. But these few bad apples who have managed to climb to the top because of the inefficent system are making things hard for everyone. There is no excuse for what has happened and all Indians have to collectively own up to this shame as we elected these people and put them on the top.

I am being a little humble

September 27, 2010 4:14 AM

To all those who are suffering from nearsightedness also know as myopic vision. Guys, if you have enough knowledge about human existence you should know that we are here because of imperfections in nature. On a global scale different cultures function differently. So think original and don't compare based on past experiences. Yes, india has problems but be rest assured that it also 1 billion+ folks and known for its culture to take extreme care of its guests. To all those junk athletes who pulled off from the games, did you think that we really give a shit????

lakshman Dalpadado

September 27, 2010 4:27 AM

The problem is democracy. Get rid of democracy and India will be fine.


September 27, 2010 5:59 AM

The other weeny Anglos as you put it, such as Australia, have successfully staged the Commonwealth Games and a hugely successful Olympic Games in the year 2000 .

Eshwar Kiran

September 27, 2010 6:04 AM

Commitment & owing the responsibility is something that makes all the difference. Sab Kuch Chaltha hai (Everything is fine) attitude which is making our nation not achieving success for this kind or rare event's. When we are so good in handling lot of Infrastructural projects, how could we miss manage such a rare event.
All the credit goes to the bureaucracy and let go attitude of peopling who are running this country and common people who remain silent not matter what happens lead many more in future if voice is not raised.


September 27, 2010 6:56 AM

This is true India. No self respect. Just money. Sad thing is for Indian it is acceptable. India maybe number 1 or 2 economically in future but whether they have any respect at world stage, I really doubt. This was exact reason I decided not raise my kids in that country and moved out and I am happy about my decision.


September 27, 2010 6:59 AM

India should have used a non-government agency to manage the entire event.

jack bilanski

September 27, 2010 7:29 AM

You read enough on the Web you will notice some Indians seem to be ignorant about the words 'glasshouse' and 'stone throwing'. Lack of self-consciousness and humbleness is an Indian failing. Only thing abundant is corruption.

Good luck to your Games. I wish you well.


September 27, 2010 7:36 AM

If India were like China, Suresh Kalamadi, MS Gill, Bhanot, Sheila Dixit, Jaipal Reddy et al would be hung in a public square!!! Just for that, I wouldn't mind India being a commie dictatorship for a day.... and only for a day!!

Lessons to Learn

September 27, 2010 8:02 AM

I disagree with 'X' about the need to learn project management. Certainly organization is a piece of the puzzle, but first we must take responsibility for what is happening and be truthful about communicating the actual status to others. Many times the officials have said that 'everything is complete', 'everything is beautiful.' Being honest in assessment and communication is one of the first things that must be learned. Second, the people must demand accountability from their government. You don't have to execute people to make a point. But you do have to kick them out of office if they steal your money. There are limits as to how great a country can get when you do not have decent roads, safe water, or reliable electricity. India needs to focus on these issues now, and worry about bragging later.


September 27, 2010 8:22 AM

Just hope it's the start to a better future.

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