so we sit
and throw our tantrums
crying like spoiled children;
while the mai-baap* government
plods steadily on
grand as a sunset
My sister and I can’t have been very old when we started cutting the labels off our jeans. While it may seem like teenage defiance, I have graduated to cutting (visible) labels off my shirts, and recently, a new pair of shoes. We liked the quality of the denim, but damned if we were going to wear someone else’s name on our butts. In the years since I left Shillong, I have been mistaken for South American, Malaysian, Indonesian, and more recently Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and South African. In the light of the recent actions of the Indian government with relation to the Bhopal Gas tragedy and the fiasco of the court passing judgement, the war on tribal land for bauxite and coal, and now the repulsive Civil Nuclear Liability Bill…I am almost glad I do not wear my Indian identity on my face.
Bhopal is the classic story of corporate cost-cutting gone wrong, though it has only really gone wrong for the people who were and are being affected by the terrible gas leaks of 2-3 December, 1984. Warren Anderson is free to enjoy his millions, safe in the knowledge that neither the Indian nor the american governments have the balls to go after him. And with Dow Chemicals taking over the assets (but *not the responsibilities) of Union Carbide the shareholders were taken care of too. I, for one, would have been stunned if the courts had actually made anything more than a token effort at justice, seeing how the CBI has been trying to get poor Anderson off the hook for years, and how it was the Indian Government that let the bastard leave the country in the first place, after they had arrested him for manslaughter.
And then comes the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. As if it were not enough to demonstrate that large American Corporations would have no real trouble from our police or judiciary, the government (by the people, of the people, for the people) has decided that this might as well be made law. The insurability of an American Corporation, you see, is SO much more important than putting in realistic controls to make sure they are not over-burdened with financial claims should the equipment screw up. Capitalist exploitation at its beautiful best, the profits without the responsibility.
I have little understanding of politics, much less of economics. However it doesn’t take a degree in biology to realise you are being raped; by the same government (by the people, of the people, for the people) that is supposed to protect you. I wish the stranglehold of corporates and national governments over our lives was as easily removed as the labels from our clothes. But here we stand, in the curious position of a person sold into slavery, not knowing whom to hate more- the bastards that sold you, or the bastards that bought.
NB: Cut a label…sign the petition against this bill.
*mai-baap=father-mother, a role many see the government as playing, particulary in the imperialistic scheme of things.