Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

The worst Industrial Disaster in Human History

Author : Suroopa Mukherjee

Photos : Raghu Rai

Pic source : Tulika books

Age : 12 +

I have seen this book so many times in the book shop but never picked it up, since it is meant for a higher age group. Then I saw this book in our house yesterday (it had been bought by Sathish in my absence) and casually started reading it. I did not realise the impact it was going to have on me at the end of the reading.

The Bhopal Gas tragedy has been so vividly explained in terms of the causes, consequences, the irresponsibility of the management and the humongous impact on the lives of the people and the environment that it leaves no room for any confusion or doubts. I am ashamed to say that I have never taken the effort to read more about the Bhopal tragedy before this. The callousness of the UCC towards the whole incident and the affected local people, has been dealt in depth by Suroopa.

She has provided lot of statistical and legal details, which go on to show how the affected people have been betrayed in all possible ways - emotionally, financially, legally and physically. It is not over. The effects of the industrial disaster are still continuing in the form of - the health of the people and the environmental pollution. Suroopa mentions that this book is a result of two years of intense research. It definitely shows in the details, diagrams, statistics, press clippings from that time.

I could not sleep after reading this book yesterday night. A few lines from the book kept haunting me - She talks about the US based Oil company Exxon involved in an oil spill case in Alaska (1989). Though nobody died in that incident Exxon had paid till then $ 5 billion as damages. The compensation for Bhopal Gas tragedy where there were over 20,000 deaths (and number of victims is mentioned as 500000 plus) was $ 470 million. "While $ 940 was given for cleaning each oil contaminated sea otter, victims in Bhopal who were maimed for life were to receive about $ 500 each." I was shocked and pained beyond words on reading this.

So here is a book which will make each one of us sit up, think how responsible are we towards our environment and fellow beings and what we can truly do in our own simple ways to make the earth a better planet for all of us.


sathish said...

Kudos to Suroopa Mukherjee for writing this great book. It gives one a full perspective of one of the worst industrial tragedy.

A great book for introducing to kids about 10+. Can also be explained to kids over 7+.

Vibha said...

Will look for this book in my next trip to the bookstore and I agree, children should be introduced to the 'not so beautiful' side of humanity and the world gradually by parents.

Thanks Ranjani.

Choxbox said...

Been thinking of picking this one, will do so post your review.

the mad momma said...

I think this is brilliant. Thanks so much for suggesting it .. My kids are still too young but soon will be able to understand. I must look out for it. This one as well as the Kancha Illaiah one Chox suggested.

Sheela said...

Gosh, Ranjani, breaks my heart just thinking about the tragedy... like Vibha said, we can't protect our kids from reality forever. I'll just have to wait a few years, though.

Praba Ram said...

A very heart breaking, yet thought provoking one, Ranjani.

As for the natural disasters, whether a tsunami or an earthquake or a volcano, as tragic as they are, doesn't seem too awkward to have a conversation with the kids around the topic, as opposed to these ugly manmade disasters involving oil spill, wars,genocide etc. ...sigh.. Will check this one out.

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