June 30, 2005Foreign Affairs

Indira Gandhi called Nixon a —-

Will we ever know?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Nixon’s uncouth references to Indira Gandhi, the Nixon-Kissinger duo’s uncharitable description of Indians, and their criminal silence over the genocide in Bangladesh come as no surprise. Nixon, was after all a, err, Nixon. And Kissinger, that unashamed exponent of realpolitik, is still Kissinger.

But what went on in Indira Gandhi’s own office has little chance of coming out in public. Surely, Indira Gandhi herself, and Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw should have had some colourful (if not off-colour) things to say about Nixon and his secretary of state. One thing India would do well to emulate is to follow the American example and wash the dirty laundry once the owners have left the scene.

Sajit Gandhi, who is now a blogger, did a great job mining US government records. It is time someone used the new Right to Information and to do something similar in India.

Like Kissinger, India must move on. But the release of White House tapes should at least shame us into revising our archival policy that refuses to release any official documents for academic study or public use. The US this week has released on the internet the volume, ‘Documents on South Asia 1969-72’, and had— earlier this year — published ‘South Asia Crisis, 1971’, which deals solely with the period March-December 1971. India has released no papers of substance since the time of independence. It is better to face up to history, as American democracy does, than sweep it under the carpet, which seems to be our preferred option. Alas! [IE]

Related Link: India’s President Kalam takes a page out of Dick Cheney’s book.

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