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I had participated in the 30HourWaterLess fasting to mark the 30 years of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. This was also the 51st Tuesday I was fasting. Despite me fasting every Tuesday going waterless for 30 hours was very tough, extremely tough especially after 16 hours or so. It gave me a migraine and a sleepless night too.
In a way it disrupted my daily routine. Now imagine someone’s daily routine, someone’s daily life getting disrupted for the past 30 years. Now multiply that someone by hundreds of thousands and getting disrupted for the past 30 years – that in short is the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Also during these 51 Tuesdays of fasting, I asked myself why I was fasting and so did lot of my friends and well wishers as to what was the point in fasting, what was i trying to achieve etc etc.
Why are you fasting?
Me: why shouldn’t I be fasting 🙂 ?
Me: Let me do it at least now
What did you achieve?
Me: May be nothing.
The compensation wasn’t announced
The site wasn’t cleaned
The provisions for clean water and better health care wasn’t provided
The environment laws were not fortified
Nothing changed because I fasted.
Then why did you do it?
Me: if everything was that straight forward, that every action would yield a definitive outcome then Bhopal Gas Victims wouldn’t have fought for this long. Because they did everything to fighting it in the courts to fighting in the streets, making appeals in the media to making appeals in the street, appealing to the politicians to appealing to the people, protesting in front of the disaster site to protesting in front of Dow chemicals, fasting without food to fasting without water – so I didn’t fast in the hope to achieve something I fasted to show that I care about the victims and that I’m willing to do whatever little I can to help in their fight for justice.
So you feel content now that you finished fasting?
Me: Not sure yet. One thing I did with fasting was to create an opportunity for myself to talk about the disaster, the survivor stories, the fight for justice on every single Tuesday for a whole year – on Twitter, on Facebook, in emails, as stories to kids, yes in that sense I do feel good that I used the Tuesday fasting excuse effectively to talk about the disaster.
So what’s next?
- I sincerely hope that this 30th year be the last year the victims fight for their justice.
- I sincerely hope that this 30th year be the year the victims get a sense of closure around this injustice
- I sincerely hope that this 30th year goes down in history marking the beginning of end of injustice
What gives you hope?
Me: The women, the kids and the men from Bhopal have been relentless in their pursuit. Not just for one day, one month, one year, one decade, but for 3 long decades. In the process they forced the govt. to review the compensation, review and correct the official victim details and may be they will force the govt to consider the other demands
As per me I would like
1) The lessons of Bhopal Gas Disaster to be taught to school kids. But why stop at school kids, why not university graduates. But why stop at university graduates, why not politicians and ministers, why should they not be taught. And who better than the victims to teach all of them. We can not just learn about our mistakes in the past but do something to stop from happening in the future.
2) Victims day – Bhopal gas disaster symbolizes everything that’s wrong with our politics, our media, our judiciary, our community, our national/international interests – which further victimizes the victim. It’s only appropriate to remind ourselves that it’s not enough if you and I can get opportunities to live a decent livelihood, it’s equally important people around us have these opportunities. Come to think of it, this should be our responsibility and we shouldn’t be reminded of this but since it ain’t happening, a victims day can help serve us a reminder.