Let’s admit it. We Indians are not exactly top of the pops when it comes to public revelations. The latest to break his silence on a controversial issue — the Bhopal gas tragedy — is former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh. Fortunately, we have got so inured to not expecting any information that we are not disappointed that he has told us nothing new. In the past too, many netas have darkly said that they will speak up at the appropriate moment. And when we hacks, slavering in anticipation have turned up at press conferences, the beans which were spilled were, well, nothing to write home about. Perhaps former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh caused a bit of a kerfuffle with his belated insights into the Kandahar hijacking but then again nothing to set the Yamuna on fire.
The Americans, as always, lead the pack when it comes to letting it all hang out in public. While we still hold back on things considered in the interest of national security, its open season on everything and everyone there. From John F. Kennedy’s dangerous liaisons, the Bay of Pigs fiasco to unsavoury remarks made by politicians about rivals, be sure that it will all be out on prime time television. But there is a flipside to so much information too. The public gets bored with insta-revelations, not knowing which to take seriously.
We are certainly smarter at the game. By promising to lay it all bare at the appropriate moment, we ensure that the fickle public loses interest much before we actually come out with something. And then, there is the masterly art of saying you have been misquoted. In the confusion, the hapless public decides that it is best to go about its business. We have often thought of giving our readers a peek into the exciting world of edit writing. But maybe it would be too much for them at the moment. We’ll wait for the appropriate moment.