ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Counting Time, Slowly

Counting Time, Slowly

   Counting Time, Slowly Anniversaries mark passage of time; some are happy, some sad. But to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster this 16th anniversary of that awful night is another notch in the countdown to almost certain, untimely and painful death. To the rest of the world the Bhopal disaster is a tiny item lost in memory, one among so many

Anniversaries mark passage of time; some are happy, some sad. But to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster this 16th anniversary of that awful night is another notch in the countdown to almost certain, untimely and painful death. To the rest of the world the Bhopal disaster is a tiny item lost in memory, one among so many ‘accidents’ that have occurred, and will keep occurring. To the children born soon after that December day in 1984 in Bhopal, the disaster is manifesting itself every living moment – their growth is affected and there may well be other complications, which will come to light only when they begin to attain puberty. To the rest of the ‘now’ generation of 16-year-olds elsewhere, the Bhopal disaster, if they know of it at all, is an aberration in the emerging industrial and corporate scenario which will, as likely as not, provide for their futures.

Why, one may well ask, should what happened in Bhopal on December 2, 1984 cloud the memories of people everywhere? Why not let the disaster rest in peace. For, after all, compensations have been paid, Union Carbide (UC) claims to have done its sympathetic best, and no Indian court has quite held the company’s owners to be ‘criminals’ nor charged them with the death of the unfortunate thousands. And even less purpose is likely to be served by continuing to blame the governments in Delhi and Bhopal and the civic administration. The point, many will aver, is to ensure that Bhopals don’t occur again. This is in fact how the other industrial disaster of the late 20th century, in Seveso, has been relocated in people’s collective conscience. Today the disaster site is a park and Seveso, they say, has an extraordinarily clean environment, is a model town. Further, it produced the Seveso Directive, regarding disclosure and conduct formulated by the European Union which industries all over were forced to accept.

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