Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lick a Powerful Ass Day

This post has no point. There's absolutely no reason to write this, except that i want to blow off steam, and express my very deep disappointment and anger at the dance i see taking place around Bhopal.

Bhopal happened in 1984; by conservative estimates, 20,000 people died. After Dow took over Union Carbide in 2001, they insisted that they had no liability for an incident (sic) that happened in the 1980s, and that they never owned nor ran the plant responsible for the disaster.

The Indian government made some sounds that approximated 'please, sir, clean it up',
And then subsided into grumbles which cumulated in an approximated
'ok, sir, but see, we're really upset about this, you've hurt our feelings'.

Big fucking deal. Like Dow Chemicals cares. Like the US cares.

But We Care.

You see, we mustn't hurt the feelings of the Great North, or they may stop letting us lick their feet. And what a tragedy that would be. Imagine, no powerful Northern feet to lick.

The judgement came out yesterday. Yesterday, it was all over the front pages (except the parts devoted to buying-related advertising, of course/ the show must go on). Today, its slipped to page three and four, and an obituary-like tone has descended over the commentary. Its so sad, says the tone of the writing. Its so sad that this should happen, that our judiciary is inadequate, that we can relentlessly hound, and prosecute individual wrongdoers, but we cannot take to task a company which, which, considering its size and holdings, constitutes a target the size of a murder of Tyrannosaurs Rex.

(What is a collection of T-Rex called? I don't know, but 'murder' seems appropriate. I've never really got why the term is applied to crows, but i can very clearly see, in my mind's eye, why it would be appropriate for a collection of carnivorous dinosaurs.)

But you can't take a T-Rex out with a shotgun. They have teeth, and claws, and they move very fast.
Thats why you need lots of guns, very large and strong nets, people experienced in taking out T-Rex-es, and most important, strategy.

Isn't that the role of a state system in a situation like this? A state system that includes the executive, the legislature and the judiciary? In the happenstance of marauding murders of T-Rex, isn't this system is supposed to kick in with its infrastructure and experience?
It may take a village to teach a child, but it sure as heck takes more than a village to take out deliberate monsters leaking chemicals.

Unfortunately, it also requires will. Will on the part of a system to engage with, and turn its destructive power towards a problem or a threat. This, with the Indian state's 'sir, please give me your ass to lick' attitude is the will it lacks. I'd like to rephrase, actually. The will is very much present, its just turned in Other directions.

More land. More minerals. More FDI, more Northern ass to lick.
'please, sir, i missed that spot of shit, could you turn this way please, so i can lick that clean too?'

It seems that its not just Northern ass either, any ass will do, just so long there is the possibility that measurable rewards are considerable. Theres lots of home-grown asses that qualify in this category, because theres just one parameter for returns. And we all know what that is.

Who says we're a proud country? Who says we have heritage and tradition, and Indian Values? I say the judgement on Bhopal tells us that we have neither pride nor foresight. Nor hindsight, actually. And certainly, no values. Can the Upholders of Indian Values Please Stand Up and Explain to me How the Judgement on Bhopal fits in with Indian Values?


Ilovethesmellofnepalinthemorning said...

but it does fit. a two year sentence and a 1 lakh fine, when the need of the hour was to squeeze dow to bankruptcy with the compensation they rightfully owe the victims. in the face of stark reality, our courts of justice have produced a symbolic ruling. this is very true to who we are.

we are a nation of cheerleaders and fantasizers (is that a word?), you see. we feel the need to write mera bharat mahaan on the backs of trucks, as if saying it often enough will make it come true. underneath this desperate, willful fantasy, this abstract ideal of 'greatness', we hide a failed nation that has time and again worked against its own people and covered up the facts with more abstractions like national security concerns, progress and economic growth, as if they can exist in warm fuzzy shiny isolation while the larger population is systematically fucked over and fucked with. in other words, this is all we have done in our short life as a nation. when faced with reality, we have used abstractions and rhetoric to obfuscate matters.

i too have nothing to say, except maybe that i am not surprised at this verdict.

Beq said...

thik thik thik as a tiktiki would say.
More than the verdict, I'm furious with the professional obfuscators and apologists.

Sue said...

I still haven't the words to express my fury when I read the papers that morning.

R said...

Yes, it's all about ass licking the powerful. No values, no hindsight, no foresight, and absolutely no consideration for others. Just look at the way we drive on the street - a daily ritual that speaks volumes about how we are wired