By S. Mukherjee

On December 2-3, 1984, India witnessed arguably the area s worst business catastrophe in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which keeps to today as an financial, scientific, environmental, and political catastrophe. Surviving Bhopal attracts on oral testimonials of the affected neighborhood and analyzes the reason and aftermath of the catastrophe from the point of view of these who suffered the serious results of systemic failure and travesty of justice. the development led to a resistance circulation, led by means of ladies, opposed to company and nation energy. Mukherjee explores the underlying gender politics, displaying how activism challenged and redefined the modern version of improvement.

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Extra info for Surviving Bhopal: Dancing Bodies, Written Texts, and Oral Testimonials of Women in the Wake of an Industrial Disaster (Palgrave Studies in Oral History)

Sample text

It was easy to miss out on the consequences of minor accidents that happened sporadically and whose long-term effects were uncertain. Therefore, “events” projected into an uncertain future could not capture the “potential” character of hazards. But it is important to remember that the hazards went undetected primarily for the community living near the factory, because they did not possess the means for detection. In a sense the most important lesson of Bhopal was that detection of hazards is not merely a scientific process, involving dissemination of specialized knowledge or the question of who controls information.

It first entered India in 1905 as the National Carbon Company (India) Ltd and subsequently became Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL). After 1947, the year of India’s independence, UCIL started diversifying from the manufacture of battery cells in its modern plant in Calcutta to the distribution of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics, and allied products. It opened facilities in other metropolitan cities. In 1968, UCIL shifted its agricultural products division from Mumbai to Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh (MP).

The company brochures continued to draw an optimistic picture for the plant’s future despite the cutbacks. It was a double bind. The brochures were meant only for the technocrats and not for the local residents. So, specialized knowledge of the company circulated in 22 / Surviving Bhopal closed-door forums. The conscious attempt was to keep scientific knowledge apart from issues that were viewed as polemical. At the same time, promotional literature was widely disseminated for the sole purpose of advertising the plant as safe.

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