About 500 people, most of them children, were feared killed by a poisonous gas, which leaked from the local pesticide manufacturing plant of Union Carbide.
According to official sources, 408 bodies had already reached the morgue of the local Medical College Hospital. “This is not the final figure,” sources said.
(According to PTI over 20,000 inhabitants, affected by the worst-ever environmental disaster in the country, were undergoing treatments in various hospitals here.)
As the rescue operation was progressing in the affected localities, many more bodies were being brought in by trucks and other vehicles. Several people took bodies directly to the cremation and burial grounds.
This correspondent, who undertook a tour of the affected localities on Monday morning, saw scores of bodies on the roadside and other public places. Hundreds of cattle also perished in the worst tragedy of Madhya Pradesh.
Bhopal has emerged as the epicentre of BJP’s Hindutva ideology. And the new mascot of this ideology is the feisty Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in Malegaon bomb blast case who has now become the BJP MP from Bhopal. With the BJP recapturing power with a thumping majority on ultra-right nationalist plank, how do Muslims feel about the election results? Continue reading “Resilience in difficult times”
“Madhya Pradesh is a faceless state, without a personality of its own. When we mention MP, it does not create an image that one may recognise easily, an image that is ingrained in our collective memory. But when we mention Punjab or Gujarat or Bengal, it immediately conjures up visions of those states, images that symbolise those states.”
— Rajendra Mathur, 31 October 1965
Eminent journalist Rajendra Mathur wrote these lines nine years after the state of MP was formed in 1956. The new born state initially suffered from an identity crisis.
The problem was accentuated by squabbles among rival politicians and warring pressure groups from different regions amalgamated into the newly-formed state. They were all jockeying for more shares in the power structure.
MP was a geographical oddity when it came into existence. Its boundaries have undergone changes thrice, enough to bewilder both its inhabitants and administrators. Before Independence, it was a fragmented entity. Continue reading “A Passage to Madhya Pradesh”
“You cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad,” said French president Jacques Chirac, in a public put-down of his British neighbours.
The remark could as well have come from an Indorean about the neighbouring town of Bhopal. On the other hand many Bhopalis think that Indore’s national food is sev, which they tend to mix with everything that they eat.
Most Indoreans think Bhopal is a town of Babus, which they have to visit out of necessity to grease the palms and get their paperwork done. No blue-blooded Indorean ever thinks of spending a night in Bhopal. Their work done, they head back home, even if it is past midnight.
Bhopalis think Indore is a town of moneybags. One prides itself for natural beauty and vibrant art and culture scene and the other flaunts its Mini Mumbai status. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Cities”