Monday, Aug 15, 2022
Outlook.com
politics of sport

Terracotta Warriors Vs The Flame-Throwers

The Olympic spirit, where was it? At paranoid, clampdown Rajpath or on the street with Tibet?

Terracotta Warriors Vs The Flame-Throwers
illustration by Sorit
Terracotta Warriors Vs The Flame-Throwers
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

"It passed off peacefully," was the relieved official verdict. But it was the peace of the graveyard, enforced by more stringent security than ever witnessed at a Delhi venue. As we watched from a hard-won viewing post in the middle of "Ground Zero", the acres of green between Vijay Chowk and India Gate were efficiently cleansed. Two hours before the relay, the Delhi Metro workers, students, tourists, government employees hanging about waiting for a glimpse of Saif and Aamir, were all "disappeared" by cops into the radial roads around Rajpath.

And so, when the torchbearers arrived to position themselves on the 2.5 km route, waiting for their 30 metres of fame, their audience consisted of hordes of cops, straggly clumps of media and orderly rows of flag-waving Chinese. A thin, polite assemblage of dignitaries and schoolchildren waited at India Gate. While there were enough faces to make TV screens look busy, the impression, on the ground, was of an almost surreal sterility, barely relieved by uniforms, OB vans, police jeeps, cameras, and vehicles draped with Olympic flags.

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