Sorry India

I’m going to go out on a limb here.  I’m appalled at the superior and arrogant stance Australian commentators and athletes have adopted during their participation at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.  Are they blind to the great damage they’re inflicting on the national cause?

Exhibit one, the hysterical moaning of the grandly titled Chef de Mission of the Australian team, Steve Moneghetti after the opening ceremony.  Sure, no one likes standing around in 40 degree heat, but take a look at his comments, particularly the concluding one about the Australian team being bonded by their “terrible situation” and marvel.  You’d think they’d just come through the Battle of Lone Pine, not been forced to stand for an hour before obtaining free entry to an extravagant Opening Ceremony.

But we should not have been surprised.  His comments only reflect the wider tenor of Australian comment leading into the Games, death-riding the organisers, highlighting the lack of readiness and constant condescending references to the “chaos” of India.  Now barely five minutes of commentary go by without commentators rudely referring to “Delhi Belly“, a new derivative of Bali Belly which is a bogan catch cry for any form of stomach upset.

The condescending arrogance of most Australian journalists and a good number of athletes, not to mention Moneghetti, has been monotonous and all-pervasive.

I think it’s time for a reality check.  Do these people give a thought to how one billion Indians interpret their inane prattle, and their prima donna conduct?  I’d suggest many Indians are slighted and angered by the condescending posture of Australia (and to a lesser extent the other developed nations).  Isn’t it appallingly rude to turn up at someone’s home, at their party, and to proceed to whinge, moan and chortle about their short comings?

Ricky Ponting at a training session at the Ade...

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago Ricky Ponting‘s Australian cricket side, aided and abetted by the Australian media, put on a churlish display after a narrow Test victory at the SCG.  Then, as now, the Australian media went for the jugular of India and I don’t think the average Australian realised just how damaging that whole episode was to relations between the two countries.  The conduct of the Australian cricket team and media was not appreciated on the sub-continent.

Australians haven’t appreciated the Indian hysteria over race-related bashings of Indian students studying in Australia.  There has been resentment at the one-sided and erroneous nature of some reports.  But it doesn’t appear as though the experience has helped Australian athletes or media to grow any empathy.

Here’s a reality check for those indulging in the smug sense of Australian security.  India is the world’s second most populous nation with more than a billion people to swamp Australia’s paltry 24 million.  It’s also the next emergent economic power house.  By virtue of history and a Judeo-Christian ethic Australia may currently hold some economic advantages over the sub-continent, but for how long?

Australians would also do well to adopt a little more humility, particularly when accepting the good graces and hospitality of the host nation.  Look forward 50 years and I’d suggest Australia will need India a whole lot more than India needs Australia.  I don’t think it’s great policy to get them offside.

Postscript: I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way.


3 Responses to Sorry India

  1. Pingback: Backyardmissionary » Blog Archive » Apology to India

  2. Aash says:

    Brilliant, brilliant post Andrew! So sorry i’m only reading this months later but it is fantastic to see this in writing.

    • mzilikazi says:

      Hi Aash. Thanks for dropping by! Today the Australian sneers of condescension are being sent the way of Qatar! I don’t know how Australia thought it was in the race for a World Cup when it’s National League draws ‘crowds’ of 1700.

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