By Suroopa Mukherjee

On December 2-3, 1984, India witnessed arguably the world’s worst business catastrophe in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which maintains to this present day 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 effects of systemic failure and travesty of justice. the development led to a resistance circulation, led through girls, opposed to company and kingdom energy. Mukherjee explores the underlying gender politics, displaying how activism challenged and redefined the modern version of improvement.

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Additional resources for Surviving Bhopal: Dancing Bodies, Written Texts, and Oral Testimonials of Women in the Wake of an Industrial Disaster

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Here the corporation had an upper hand because its efficiency could hardly be matched by the tardiness that is inherent in all other systems, legal or bureaucratic. Potentially Bhopal litigation could have redefined industrial disasters by getting full justice to the victims and creating new codes of conduct to govern transnational business operations. But right from the beginning, UCC wanted a settlement that would help the company to bury Bhopal forever and retrieve its tarnished corporate image.

Representatives from another sector tried to put up a fight in the factory. The Carbide workers unions were organized shortly after the MIC plant was commissioned in 1979, and the Union Carbide Karamchari Sangh (UCKS) was formed. A majority of Hindu workers joined the UCKS. Another union, Union Carbide Workers’ Union (UCWU) was started under the leadership of an activist affiliated to the ruling party (Vivek 1990, 19). This union was more or less sponsored by the management. Issues of safety and health were taken up only after the death of the worker from phosgene leak.

The Question of “Who” Paid the Price When a hazard goes undetected, it increases the vulnerability of a section of society most likely to get affected by an accident. At the same time, it undermines the ability to plan out collective action for dealing with the crisis in the eventuality of such an accident. This is precisely what happened in Bhopal. But what was the nature of the vulnerability? It was at the level of hazards faced everyday by the most vulnerable section of society—the poor and the disadvantaged.

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