Why the second wave nudges us to Bhopal
- The toxics still flow in their water, leaving multiple generations gravely ill. Genuine compensation and punishment is still elusive.
We have all spent sleepless nights during the last few weeks, as the second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) unfolded. We tried being useful, without becoming infected. Even for a healthy person, it’s been a difficult time.
Amidst all of this, one is reminded of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. What was it like to wake up, choked? To be attacked by a killer in the air? Watch your loved ones die? My father would routinely quiz me on the news of the day, before dinner, after school homework. The day after the gas leak, he asked what I thought about it. He answered the question himself, saying approximately that it was a tragedy of the highest order.
Looking around today at the intensity of the pandemic, I wonder if Indians would have reacted differently if the Bhopal Gas Tragedy happened not in the past, but after COVID? Would there be more empathy, help and voice? We can’t sequence history differently, but we can lend heft to the needs of the Bhopal Gas victims.
The toxics still flow in their water, leaving multiple generations gravely ill. Genuine compensation and punishment is still elusive. Toxics still flow unabated into the ecosystem, poisoning people. Having collectively experienced loss and injustice in recent times, do we not owe support to those who need it to recover and move on from the world’s worst industrial disaster? As we heal from the pandemic, shall we not seek healing for all others?