Friday, June 25, 2010

Junior Sardi-man's unabashed pro-Cong opinion

Ever since the trial court in Bhopal has delivered its judgement on the gas-leak case, everybody has begun writing his or her own opinions about it. And the million dollar question is, "Who was responsible to let Warren Anderson go scot free?" For twenty four odd years, nobody has bothered to ask this question. But now, suddenly, everyone seems to have woken up to the fact that Andersen was whisked away in a government car and taken to Delhi in a government plane.

Fingers are being pointed from then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun Singh, to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then External Affairs minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. But, the fact is we shall never know who truly helped secure a free passage for Andersen.

One of the conspiracy theories doing the rounds is that Ronald Reagan called up Rajiv Gandhi and pressurised him to release Andersen. Rajiv Gandhi's supporters have come out in his defense stating that such a thing never happened. And those who believe in this conspiracy theory say that Rajiv could have done nothing, except accede to Reagan's demands, because the US was a superpower at that time and the USSR was on the verge of a collapse. One such person, is the ever pro-Congress Rajdeep Sardesai. In his blog titled "Denials, Contradictions and Bhopal tragedy", he says
If the decision was taken by Rajiv Gandhi - and it is impossible to believe that a prime minister would be unaware of it - then it was one of the wiser decisions he took. You can blame Rajiv for opening the Babri Masjid gates, for allegedly conniving in rigging elections in the Kashmir valley in 1987, for his handling of the LTTE problem - all issues which had disastrous consequences - but on the Anderson question in Bhopal, he probably took the right option.

Moreover, 1984 represented the high noon of American 'exceptionalism' - the belief that the United States alone has the right to bring civilization, or democracy to the rest of the world. With Ronald Reagan as President, the US military-industrial complex was dominant and on the verge of winning the Cold War. A country beset with internal strife and a Hindu rate of growth could scarcely have challenged a mighty superpower. If Reagan did ring up Rajiv as has been suggested and ask for Anderson to be released, then letting him go was a pragmatic decision taken in the best national interest at the time.
Well, so junior Sardi-man feels that Rajiv was pragmatic in releasing Andersen, because India was too weak to stand the might of the Americans. Did someone tell him about Cuba and the Bay of Pigs saga? A tiny country beat the hell out of forces trained by the USA. Even Iran, which is facing economic hardships, is resisting the US. Then, why is it that India couldn't bear the brunt of US anger? Are we so weak, to meekly surrender before the US? Sardi-man says that our economy wasn't strong, there was internal strife. I agree to that situation. But then, Rajiv's decision of releasing Andersen, if taken under the above circumstances, is still wrong. Why is he trying to find the "right" things about Rajiv's decision, when it cannot be absolutely justified. And, what was the guarantee, that despite releasing Andersen, the US would not have adversely acted against India? Particularly, when it has a track record of attacking allies after the purpose has been served. After all, Reagan didn't send a written note through official channels. Just an alleged conversation over the phone. But Sardi-man tries to valiantly protect Rajiv Gandhi. And he of course, asks a good question in the end, but not without blaming the BJP
The fact also is that both Congress and BJP have ruled Madhya Pradesh since 1984, the Congress for a lengthy 19 years. If you travel through Bhopal's JP Nagar colony where more than 300 people died and several more were affected by permanent limb and respiratory diseases, its apparent no government has made a serious effort to reach out to the victims. When two years ago, some of them held a dharna outside the prime minister's residence, they were whisked away and spent a week in Tihar jail. Who let Anderson out is a red herring, the real question to ask is: why did it take 26 years for the Indian state to wake up to the plight of Bhopal?
Well, Rajdeep, your intentions are good, but why do you always try to soften the blow on the Congress and more specifically, the Gandhis?
Junior Sardi-man's unabashed pro-Cong opinionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. I am frankly tired of reading about this everywhere. Today's editorial in 'THE HINDU' carried a paper cutting from 1984 and that Rajiv Gandhi knew everything and also let Anderson go from India.

    All this can happen only in India where after 25 long years, everyone wakes up. A la Rip Van Winkle style.

    The new layout is nice but the older one was better.

    Joy always and happy 102nd post,

  2. Yes, and in stark contrast to what happened in the US. Forget the BP oil spill, but even in 1989, when there was an oil spill in Alaska, Exxon was made to pay heavily, even though no lives were lost as a consequence of the oil-spill. 1989 is just 4 years after 1984. The US Supreme Court offered $500 million as compensation to people who were "economically" affected. Remember, none lost their lives. Whereas, the Indian Supreme Court gave $470 million to more than 15000 who were dead or injured as a consequence of the disaster.

    Anyway, Sardi-man didn't probably look into this comparison, then he would have felt that Andersen should have be held back in India.