Updated on: Friday, December 03, 2021, 12:29 AM IST

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: That disaster weighs heavy upon the heart of Bhopalis

They demand an answer for the man-made disaster that took place 38 years ago.

Bhopal: Thirty-seven years to the day since the city saw the greatest industrial disaster in the history of human civilisation, also known as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The elderly people look back in disbelief and horror: hundreds of people lying dead in the thoroughfares in the morning of December 3, 1984. The reckoning will take decades to pick over.

For the families and friends bereaved by the tragedy, it is a day to contemplate those they have lost. For the survivors, it is a reminder for the bodies they are trapped in that do not work like they used to. For the present generation, it has gone into the pages of history: so many taken before their time. Wails rent the air.

Those pages are like Salvador Dali’s famous painting ‘Dreamscape’ that delineates time through a clock.

Many painters have limned the tragedy. Their strokes of brush have turned many art-lovers into tears. The tragedy comes alive on their canvases.

Artists like TR Chouhan and Mahesh Pal Gobra portrayed the tragedy vividly. Such works have had appreciation from across the world.

Yet, a painter in Bhopal, Faisal Mateen, has traced the man-made tragedy through a leafless tree. It is just like a dream. It brings back the memory of what happened 38 years ago. That also indicates the hope that lies in the womb of the future.

That reminiscence has turned into a reflection that appears like scattered images in a broken mirror.

The Bhopalis have the flair for survival in all situations. They have shown the guts to endure that catastrophe. They endured the corona pandemic that consumed millions of lives across the world with a smiling face.

Many are, however, still angry with the government for its attitude towards the calamity-stricken people.

A retired government officer Rajendra Kumar Shrivastava who has been living in the city for over 45 years said, “Someone needs to give us answers and be held accountable for this calamity.”

“I’ve never witnessed so many people dying in such a short space of time. The statistics are frightening. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

Now that the calamity caused by the coronavirus has dimmed the memory of the gas tragedy, the question is how will a Bhopali remember this catastrophe and the one caused by the pandemic, in a decade from now? It will be etched on their mind like a dying daylight whose shadows linger till the darkness descends. Yet, nothing can pluck from the recollection that rooted despair.

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Published on: Friday, December 03, 2021, 12:29 AM IST