Spunkman speaketh

In the wake of the pesticide-in-soft-drinks controversy a few years back, I heard Sunita Narain of CSE on tv, ranting about Indian regulators not having sufficient “spunk” to take action against the cola giant in question (I forget which one). So, villagers and road-side tea vendors serving tea containing contaminated water is okay, municipal corporations supplying drinking water contaminated with sewage is okay, but soft drinks made using the same (pesticide-laced) water are not okay because they are made by a multinational company. Without going into what could or should have been done by the company in question, all I can say is this is a hugely hypocritical position and all too common with environmentalists/socialists.

Yesterday, a nationalist used a similar “spunk” argument against a company which isn’t even part of any controversy related to the issue at hand. Just one look at the piece and one can detect the puke-inducing odor of tribalism-

The foreign minister of Finland, Alexander Stubb, has joined a growing list of dignitaries who have taken on the task of advising India on how to handle its own affairs….

Who is Stubb and what right does a country, a fraction our size in almost every respect, have to lecture us on this issue?

India, as we all know, is the world’s largest and fastest growing telephone market, and easily among the largest market for the Finnish telecom major, Nokia….

I think our government, provided it has the guts, should clearly tell Finland: Look here, if you want Nokia to do business with us, your minister must apologise and you better ask them to behave in future.


The question, however, is whether our government will show the spunk to do so….

So, if Manmohan Singh lands in NYC and says something which the US doesn’t take kindly to, then the US should round up all Indians and threaten to break their knee-caps till MS apologizes? Such nonsense doesn’t merit any kind of response. Unfortunately, these reactions are all too common across the world, even among those who think they are educated. Educated they may be, wise they are not.

As for the “size” argument, there are some cases where it doesn’t matter, the question of right and wrong in particular. “Even if I am a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”

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