THE Bhopal gas tragedy and the terrorist bombing of the Air India Boeing 747 Kanishka in 1985 have one thing in common— they are both yet to provide closure for the victims. While Bhopal has its living dead— the generation that has lived with the physical consequences of breathing the poison gas— the kin of those killed in the Kanishka bear the psychological scars left over from the tragic loss of their near and dear ones and the shoddy handling of the affair by the Canadian government.
Though the airliner was Indian, most of those traveling on the aircraft were Canadian citizens. The conspiracy to place the bomb on board was hatched in Canada by Canadian nationals and the report by the commission headed by Justice John Major acknowledged on Thursday that the Canadian government, particularly its security services, could have done much more to prevent the tragedy.
A series of missteps and downright sloppy work resulted in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service ( CSIS) ignoring definite warnings of a terrorist conspiracy by Khalistani Sikhs in the Vancouver area. After the bombing, the two not only misled each other but the Canadian authorities. The candour of the commission's findings and an acknowledgement of the fault of the government agencies should bring partial closure to the kin of the dead in India and Canada.
Tell us if you have kissed
ONCE again, the Ambani brothers have left the world guessing as to whether they have finally made up, in a state of truce or still at war. For most Indians, any of these scenarios provide fascinating entertainment. After all, the brothers are two of the richest Indians on the planet and have a combined business footprint touching nearly every aspect of dayto- day life in the country. For the country as a whole, though, as well as the 12 million odd ordinary shareholders of the various companies in their empires, it means much more.
Since the formal carving up of Dhirubhai Ambani's legacy five years ago, a significant part of the energies and managerial bandwiddth in both the Mukesh and Anil Ambani groups has been diverted to scoring points in the battle between the feuding brothers.
Other shareholders, and, arguably, the economy, have lost out as a result. If they are indeed at peace, the two owe it to the nation and their shareholders — to affirm this unambiguously in public, and get on with what they do best — creating wealth. For themselves, their shareholders and the nation.