About three centuries ago Jonathan Swift (1662-17745) compared the law to a cobweb. He said that the small insects would be caught and eaten in the web while the big creatures would break the web and escape. The judgement on the Bhopal gas tragedy vindicates Swift.
It took quarter of a century for the judgement to arrive. Justice delayed is justice denied. Cliché. About 25,000 people were killed in the disaster. About 100,000 people became chronically ill. Even today children are born in Bhopal with health problems as a result of the disaster. It was the worst industrial tragedy that the world witnessed so far.
Yet what happened to the perpetrators of this disaster? They got two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 100,000 [a little more than $2000]! The American company, UCC, will pay a meagre amount of Rs 500,000 as fine! The then chairman of UCC, Warren Anderson, was not even mentioned in the judgement. He is an American corporate bigwig. No corporate bigwig should be punished with imprisonment because they, the corporate bigwigs, run the world. All the more so if he is an American. Of course, India cannot even dream of getting a person like Anderson to face a trial in India. India is not corporate enough for that.
Is India not? Isn’t the judgement enough proof for the corporatisation of India, of its judiciary?
The press and the public were forcibly kept away from the court premises when the judgement was being issued. Does that smell of corporatisation?
Does the punishment given smell of corporatisation?
The 7 Indian bigwigs who were condemned to 2 years imprisonment got their bail application sanctioned even before the police could approach them with the arrest warrants. Does that smell of corporatisation?
The Bhopal tragedy was totally man-made. Human negligence was the cause. The workers in UCC had complained of breathing disorders even before the tragedy occurred. The workers who demanded safety measures were dismissed summarily.
Doesn’t that reek of corporatisation?
UCC left India soon after the disaster doing nothing for the victims or the polluted environment. Just like a client leaving a prostitute after the brief affair.
Does that smell of corporatisation?
Please contrast this with what happened in America in 2001. The WTC tragedy in New York. The verdict was passed within months. The surviving victims or the relatives of the dead victims were soon compensated. A memorial was erected in the place of the WTC.
Where does the corporate behaviour of America differ from that in India?
Prakash Jha’s movie, Rajneeti (Politics), is running in the theatres in India now. Jha knows Indian politics well enough to make such a movie. There is no morality at all in the politics shown in the movie, Jha’s effort to make a hero and a heroine in the movie notwithstanding. Indian politics is about eliminating the rival by hook or crook, and nothing else. There is no vision in it. No principles. Forget morality.
There are no heroes in Indian politics. There are only villains. The Pandavas are no better than the Kauravas. Bhishma (Nana Patekar) is no sage.
That’s why India will get more of UCCs. That’s why India will continue to be a stooge of the USA.
That’s why the USA can continue to be a colonise in the 21st century too.