It's all over the News. India this and India that and I'm not just talking about the obvious international screening of the Commonwealth Games. For now, they seem to have taken a back seat - well, here in New Zealand anyhow. We're far more obsessed with tip-toeing around the so-called sacred image of India itself. God forbid you say anything untoward about the poverty stricken nation as Paul Henry found out earlier this week - he was "forced" to resign from his morning talk show after openly criticising Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's name. Whether what he said was classed as "racist" or not, the fact that it caused an international scandal and almost jeopardised diplomatic relations just goes to show how fragile the situation really is.
It's all about public image apparently - first of, having one and then protecting against someone trying to take it away. But in here begs the question - pun intended. What happened to 1.4 million homeless people that simply vanished from Delhi?
International Media states that about 30 per cent of the city has either been ousted out or been made to hide behind "massive hoardings announcing the games or ringed by hastily planted bushes, most of which were already wilting".
Mainstream media can't find any of the so-called 1.4 million homeless. A rather large number of people to kind of loose really, unless, of course, they're not there any more - something that Ms Dikshit not so much as denies but, literally "shrugs" off: "New Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit has shrugged off accusations that the city is trying to hide its underclass from Games visitors. Dikshit denies hiding slums ".
Well so much for that self serving image.
The so-called lucky ones were moved out of their "dwellings" of more than 25 years. To where? Who cares right, as long as it's not within sight of the approximately 71 visiting countries and specifically Media. Some of those that have been "evicted" face not only a three hour commute by bus in order to maintain what jobs they do have but also have incurred the extra travel expense - and for what? Image. That precious fluid-like thing that India seems so dead set on ensuring everyone else maintains (New Zealand included) while they busy themselves hiding their shame behind makeshift billboards.
The pithy Games federation motto of 'Humanity, Equality, Destiny' is barely evident in India. There is a level of compassion among the people but it comes from those in the lower castes of Indian society, who have few if any resources that will ever come out of the Commonwealth games that are set to cost India approximately $6 billion. Games Federation Motto
“If I was poor I would abuse the games,” said retired Maj Gen Sheru Thapliyal. “I am not [poor] but I still find no merit in them and the chaotic and wasteful preparations that have gone into making them happen.”