Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Die, Bhopal, Die!

By Sadho Ram

“Because you are poor and because you are miserable, so - Die, Bhopal, Die!
You won’t get justice; we won’t let you have it, so better - Die, Bhopal, Die!”

That’s what India and its judiciary system along with its loathing government seems to be saying to the nearly 1,80,0000 people and to more than 25,000 dead of Bhopal who have waited for 26 long toxic years for a rightful justice and a fair compensation.

But in return of their shattering wait, what they get – nothing, absolutely nothing!

Thanks to the false pride of India and its greedy & murkier politics.

On Monday, the 12th Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Bhopal delivered an order which at its best gave the accused 2 years of imprisonment and a day after, on Tuesday; all 8 accused were granted bail and released on obedience of a security of Rs. 25,000 by a trial court in Bhopal.

What a mockery of the heart-wrenching throbbing and anguish of thousands of people of that state whose water, after 26 years, is still contaminated and whose air is still toxic; and that too in the hands of its own Nation!

This, my fellow countryman and women, happens nowhere but here – in India.

On 3rd December 1984, under the shelter of midnight’s darkness, the deadly Methyl Isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in the heart of Bhopal, immediately killing and maiming its 4,000 people and injuring 300,000 out of the then 800,000 people of Bhopal.

There was absolutely no warning; none of the plant’s safety systems were working. The people of Bhopal woke amidst the harrowing darkness and to the soulful sound of screeching screams and with the gases burning their eyes, noses and mouths. They began retching and coughing up lather streaked with blood. Whole neighbourhoods fled in horror, some were crushed, and others convulsed and fell dead. People lost control of their intestines and bladders as they ran. And within hours thousands of dead bodies lay in the streets; inviting the crows and vultures but alas they too, have had fallen prey to the killer Methyl Isocyanate gas.

Today the toll has risen to more than 25,000 dead, and 1, 20,000 injured and after 26 years of its unfaithful wait – Bhopal has once again been fobbed off in the hands of its own greedy protector – who sold its dead as cheap as $450 million dollars in an out of the court settlement with the main culprits of world’s largest industrial disaster.

Makes you wonder, really?

Is that the life worth of thousands of people of Bhopal, who are still dying from the effect of Methyl Isocyanate? Is that much what the Indian government calculates the life of its poor people as?

Shame on it then, and as Shobhan Saxena so rightfully said in his TOI blog that –

“No country sells its people so cheap.
No country sells its poor so cheap.
No country sells its dead so cheap.”

No country but mine, my country, My India… and only my India who does so and does it without any shame! My heart goes out to all those people of Bhopal but then I wonder of what value is my sympathy to them?

Zero. Nil. Zilch. None. Nothing!

Yes, that’s what it will measure up to, as the people of Bhopal now seek more than just mere sympathy of its Nation. They seek full attention. They seek a better judgement. They seek that long lost path of hope which will bring them what they seek the most – Justice.

But in a nation, where the PM himself says – ‘We are a nation of one billion dollars.

Who is going to give any heed to the plight of some few thousand poor people’s?

I live in a country where the accused have the reputation of being a “Free and Protected’ man. Upon whom millions of rupees are spent. The most recent example being – the true keeper of Jihad – Azmal Kasaab!

I am reminded of a four line poem by Fiaz Ahmed Faiz that suits the Bhopal and its misery, and to those who seek or hope for justice in this country which sells its people cheaper than chicken’s meat, the best.

“Kyun naahak tukde chun-chun kar, Daaman mein chhupaye baithe ho
Sheeshon ka maseeha koi nahin, kyun aas lagaaye baithe ho”

And so there seems to be none but only one solution to the misery of Bhopal…

Die, Bhopal, Die!

This article is also published in an Online site for the people of India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries called CHOWK

A trimmed version of this article also appears in an online newspaper YOUTH KI AWAAZ