As the international press goes on an overdrive to highlight Delhi's ‘filth’ in the wake of Commonwealth Games, a nasty comment on the city made by a European diplomat in 2006 is attracting fresh attention. The Dutch diplomat — Arnold Parzer —had said way back in 2006, “New Delhi is the most miserable place I have ever lived in.”
In response, a Delhi blogger retorted with a post on the American website www.blogcritics.org . Sample these recent comments, some vitriolic and some appreciative, that people from around the world are now leaving on that website piece.
“Look at the uproar over conditions in some of the athletes’ quarters for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. And these are new buildings. Most of us understand that India is still developing ... but the government really needs to tackle these issues. Hopefully, development in industrial and service-related industries in the next 100 years will solve many of these issues, rather than make them worse. But for the time being, the Dutch diplomat is pretty much right."
“I totally agree with the diplomat. I’m an Indian who’s been fortunate enough to visit many nations worldwide. It’s after I got out that I realized just how callous and desensitised we Indians are with respect to cleanliness, hygiene and the community in general. The pinnacle of filth in any Indian city would be Calcutta. It’s rightly called a “black hole” and after you’ve visited Calcutta, Delhi would seem like a paradise (just a comparison to show how bad things are in India).”
Delhi’s nice but poor people
“I’m an Indian who has lived in the UK, France, the USA and India. Yes Delhi may have its filthy parts but there’s a lot of filth in many western countries too. London and New York City are quite filthy in many parts, maybe even dirtier than Delhi. India may be a poor country but it is happier than the many cold western countries of Europe. Go to a poor area in Delhi and the people will be all smiling and welcoming. Go to a poor area in the Netherlands or Britain or France and you will be stabbed with a knife over 5 bucks.”
Delhi is very filthy
“I just come back from a two-month trip to India. I can tell you that Delhi is indeed very very filthy. Don’t get my wrong; I love most Indian people except the auto/taxi driver and some businessman who just want to grab as much money as possible from you. The local people are very nice to tourist, very friendly and helpful. But the city is just too dirty.”
Cola Dirty Delhi
“India is the filthiest country in the world. Delhi is no exception. People have no respect for privacy, environment or even hygiene. I’m a private consultant and I spent six months in Bangalore and the rest of the year in Delhi. Islamabad or even Cairo are much cleaner, better organised, and the people are very welcoming.”
“Delhi has its horrible aspects. It is like any Third World capital. And it has clichés of ugly buildings, bad roads, and ruder people. But when you actually delve deeper into the city, it starts opening its secrets to you. My appeal to all Commonwealth tourists is that please don’t got by what the world thinks of Delhi. Come here and judge yourself.”
Message for all
“To non-Indians: There is a part in all of us Indians who accept whatever has been said about the filthiness of India and its people. Believe us, we have been waiting with our trash for years now for the government to install bins in our streets. In my case the bins are there but no one ever comes to collect and empty them for the next day.
To the Indians proud of its billionaires: Why don’t you go pee in the luxury toilets of those billionaires instead of peeing on roads? Yes, try it.
To non-residential Indians: Listen, you left your country-men like this. So, you have no right to say anything about ugly Delhi. And don’t call us filthy. You have lost the right. You dicthed Delhi and flew to greener pastures and now you have the temerity to badmouth the city that raised you up. It’s like spitting while looking in the sky, and it falling back on our own face.”