Bhopal December 2-3, 1984 Night
A night that never ended. Actually, a long dark night just began. The night we want to forget but we will always remember. The night, that will shatter our hearts forever.
Backyards turned into graveyards. Colorful shopping streets turned into bereavement streets. Eyes that hoped to see bright future could only see darkness. Smiles and laughter turned into grief. If they did not breathe, they die; if they breathe, they die. Survival was at stake. Chaos, confusion, and helplessness marked the city. Death was at streets, death was on swings where the children play, death was on the cots where children sleep, death was in parks where people walk, death was in their own homes, death was in the air.
Rich, poor, men, women, students, homemakers, toddlers, children, and unborn children in womb were stuck in a large gas chamber. Nowhere to run! Nowhere to hide! Not even in their own homes. That was just the start, perhaps for generations the effect of the poison will haunt human lives. An era of misery and despair just started.
A gas, Methyl Isocyanate (MIC), used to create pesticides killed humans like pests. A corporation setup to provide livelihood, became cause of taking their lives. An industry setup to preserve human's assets became cause of destroying human lives.
Intelligentsia, politicians, and states despise use of gas chambers in the World War II. How is Bhopal gas leak different from that? Was it an accident or was it an error on part of authorities and management? Approving to put a highly hazardous industry in a populous area does not appear to be a right decision. Perhaps corporate greed took priority over human safety.
However, the bigger question is, how can we avoid it next time?
It is very important to keep looking back at this event to learn:
· What went wrong?
· What should have been done differently?
Learning from this heartbreaking event, what can we change to ensure our and our children’s lives are safe?
As responsible citizens of the world, perhaps it is our responsibility to inform, educate, and provide different perspectives to a broader audience. We need to breed responsibility and accountability into our current and future corporate and political leaders to consider ‘Every Human Life Counts’. Humanity should not have to sacrifice human lives for the growth and development.
(This post is based on reading various papers and recollection of my discussions with my elder brother who was a journalist with Indian Express at that time.)