Bhopal

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I am very, very happy to announce that for the first time, Dow is accepting full responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe... And I would also like to say that this is no small matter, Steve. This is the first time in history that a publicly owned company of anything near the size of Dow has performed an action which is significantly against its bottom line simply because it’s the right thing to do. And our shareholders may take a bit of a hit, Steve, but I think that if they’re anything like me, they will be ecstatic to be part of such a historic occasion of doing right by those that we’ve wronged. - The Yes Men

Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of Bhopal district. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State.

Quotes[edit]

Kim Fortun:*The city of Bhopal that stands today was established by Afghan chief Dost Mohammed Khan during Aurangzeb’s reign...
BadaTalaabBhopal3.jpg
Sultan Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal, 1872.jpg
Taj-ul-Masjid, the largest mosque in India.
  • The power of the Marathas already established in the South, began to be extended to the North, so that by the middle of the eighteenth century, Rustam Ali, who was compelled to “travel from city to city in search of employment and subsistence”, writes in his Tarikh-i-Hind (composed C.E. 1741-42) that “from the day he left Shah Jahanabad (Delhi), and travelled through the country of idolatry, it was here (at Bhopal) only that he found Islam to be predominant.”
    • Rustam Ali, Tarikh-i-Hind (E and D, VIII, p.58.) quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • Bhopal is an old town with Moghul past...situated at the centre of India, surrounded by hills, forest and fields...has two large lakes, the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake built 1000 years ago.
    • AvIngrid Eckerman, in "Bhopal Saga: Causes and Consequences of the World's Largest Industrial disaster (1 January 2005)", p. 9
  • Bhopal has never been pastoral locale. It has drawn people into itself out of violent currents. It has been a place of migrancy, of continual upheaval and re-inscription. What has not changed is the way the poor of Bhopal are swept into grand narrations, in scripted roles. ... The city of Bhopal besides being the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is popularly known as the cultural capital of India. The city, situated in the plateau of Malwa in Central India, can be divided into three distinct areas. The old city, which was established during the reign of Nawabs, where most peole are dependent on wage labour and petty trade for their livelihood. The New city where the government officers and staff quarteres were built after Bhopal was made the capital of the State, is to the south of the Old City. Most of the residents of this part of the city are government officers and other employees. The industrial township of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is the third distinct segment of the city of Bhopal.
    • Kim Fortun, in "Advocacy After Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders (24 July 2001)", p. 160, 196
  • ... 'Bhoj pal', which became Bhopal, was the nucleus of a walled city which the successive rulers improved continuously. Gates were built and named after the days of the week: Pir and Jumerati on the north side, Itwara and Budhawara on the east. Others were added to these four; Imami, Ginnori, Kila Darwaza. Until the rule of Qudsia Begum, the population consisted of mainly Afghan adventurers seeking military service and with no intention of settling down permanently. Things started to change in the mid-nineteenth century.... During the colonial era, the Begums and the Nawabs added many new buildings, mostly in the Old City, or in the adjoining northern area. Shah Jehan Begum initiated the Taj-ul-Masjid, the largest mosque in India, which started in 1887, being built on the model of Delhi’s Jama Masjid and was completed in the 1970s.Her daughter created the suburb of Ahmedabad.... the communalization of Bhopal politics and society remained limited. First the Hindu and Muslim intelligentsia shared one common grievance vis-à-vis the Nawab.... In 1934, local Hindus and Muslims launched together the Mulki movement whose motto was ‘Bhopal for Bhopalis’. Local Hindus and Muslims continued to join hands against the Nawab, when as Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes, he tried to defend his domination. He tied with rulers who wanted ‘to form an organization of those states which were scattered from Bhopal to Karachi’ with the support of Jinnah. Partition destroyed these plans. But then the Nawab of Bhopal resisted the merger of his state with the rest of the Indian Union. And like the 1930s with the Mulki movement, Hindus and Muslims rallied round the Congress to mobilise the masses in favour of such a merger. The Nawab conceded defeat in 1948, and Bhopal state became a Part C state of India in 1949.... Bhopal grew quickly after independence, especially after the city was made the capital of Madhya Pradesh in 1956... The relative communal harmony reflected forms of tolerance and syncretism symbolized by a practice that is today recalled with nostalgia by the elderly people in Bhopal…Certainly Hindu merchants were interested in communal peace also because their shops were often located in the vicinity of the three mosques of Bhopal, including Taj-ul-Masjid, which became the largest in India at the turn of the twentieth century... The communal peace which prevails in Bhopal is all the more remarkable as the city welcomes thousands of Muslim pilgrims every year when they come to celebrate Tabligi Ijtema, in the Taj-ul-Masjid.
  • The Old Nawabi Jewel [Bhopal], today capital of Madhya Pradesh, brought to mind the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Nizami Hyderabad was the only Muslim state that outsized Bhopal. Both offer a rich built and culinary Nawabi heritage, and both offer glimpses of varieties of food eaten in all the corners of their respective states. ... Old Bhopal, like Old Delhi, is a Muslim city and takes its time waking up. Sensibly, its streets are widest awake by 7PM.
  • Split by a pair of lakes, Bhopal offers two starkly contrasting cityscapes. In the north is the Muslim-dominated old city, a fascinating area of mosques and crowded bazaars. Bhopal’s population is 40% Muslim – one of India’s highest concentration of Muslims – and the women in black niqabs (veils) are reminders of the female Islamic rulers who built up Bhopal in the 19th century.
  • I have resided in Delhi, Bhopal and Hyderabad (Deccan) for many years. In all these places I could hardly locate any temples left of the medieval period. Hindu learning was dependent on schools and Brahman teachers, and both were attached to temples mostly in urban areas. And all the three - schools, teachers and temples - were systematically destroyed.
    • Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
  • Tradition assigns to him [Raja Bhoj] the construction of the great lake in Bhopal that once covered the district of Tal. A village near the ancient embankment is called Bhojpur, and the word Bhopal, indeed it is said to be derived from Bhoj pal – pal signifying embankment. After a long reign it is probable that Bhoj died, near the close of the eleventh century.
Jerry Pinto:...a fascinating combination of a traditional city, rich in history, and a modern one, with a strong emphasis on urban planning and industrialization. Bhopal is informally divided into two parts – the Old City and the New Bhopal. The Old City (often referred to in Bhopal as just the 'City') is the one built and developed by the Begums of Bhopal.
  • ...a fascinating combination of a traditional city, rich in history, and a modern one, with a strong emphasis on urban planning and industrialization. Bhopal is informally divided into two parts – the Old City and the New Bhopal. The Old City (often referred to in Bhopal as just the 'City') is the one built and developed by the Begums of Bhopal.... You can see their legacy alive in all kinds of ways: in Bhopal’s zardosi work, a kind of embroidery done on bridal outfits, sherwanis, and purses; in the famous handicraft of batua, a small string purse usually used with Indian traditional clothes; even in the continuing popularity of shairi and poetry recitals and in the nafasat (or sophistication) of its old residents; or in nay recipes for the preparation of betel leaf or paan that are still consumed here... An integral part of old Bhopal culture are the eunuchs, who are intrinsic to the city’s public spaces and can still be seen roaming the streets and joining every major celebration.

Bhopal gas disaster[edit]

AvIngrid Eckerman:Of course, it was a multinational that caused this catastrophe. Of course they will deny causing it. Of course, it was a very poor and powerless population that was hit. Of course, they will not get the support to which they should have the right.
Jacob Mani: Bhopal is a calamity without end...Today, fully a quarter of a century later, victims of this, the world's worst industrial disaster, are still being born.
  • I am very, very happy to announce that for the first time, Dow is accepting full responsibility for the Bhopal catastrophe. We have a $12 billion plan to finally, at long last, fully compensate the victims, including the 120,000 who may need medical care for their entire lives, and to fully and swiftly remediate the Bhopal plant site. .... And I would also like to say that this is no small matter, Steve. This is the first time in history that a publicly owned company of anything near the size of Dow has performed an action which is significantly against its bottom line simply because it’s the right thing to do. And our shareholders may take a bit of a hit, Steve, but I think that if they’re anything like me, they will be ecstatic to be part of such a historic occasion of doing right by those that we’ve wronged.
    • The supposed Dow Chemical spokesman, Jude Finisterra of the Yes Men, on Dec. 3, 2004, during an appearance on BBC World. Quoted in A.H. Kim, Yes Men Bhopal Legacy [1], and [2] [3] and in American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media by Neil Henry
  • The gas leakage from Union Carbide's plant (UC) in Bhopal, in 1984 is the largest industrial hazard ever experienced in the world. Over 500, 000 were exposed to the gases; between 3000 and 10,000 people died within the first weeks; and between 100,000 and 200,000 may have permanent injuries.
    • AvIngrid Eckerman, in "Bhopal Saga: Causes and Consequences of the World's Largest Industrial disaster (1 January 2005)", p. 9
  • Even today, 120,000 people exposed to the gas have chronic medical conditions.
    • Amnesty International, in “Twenty-five years on, the world's worst industrial accident continues to kill and blight many lives. And still there's been no trial (29 November 2009)”
  • Bhopal is a calamity without end...Today, fully a quarter of a century later, victims of this, the world's worst industrial disaster, are still being born.
    • Nina Lakhani, in “Twenty-five years on, the world's worst industrial accident continues to kill and blight many lives. And still there's been no trial (29 November 2009)”
  • We want to see a full clean-up of the disaster site and surrounding area, including the ground water aquifer – a huge undertaking, but reasonable considering this was the world's worst industrial disaster. The $470m compensation payout only ever pertained to people affected by exposure to the gas on that night. It does not, and never did, cover children born with terrible defects as a result of their parent's exposure; people being affected by the environmental or water contamination; and it does not cover the environmental contamination itself.
    • Colin Toogood, of the [[w:BMA, in “Twenty-five years on, the world's worst industrial accident continues to kill and blight many lives. And still there's been no trial (29 November 2009)”
  • Neither Union Carbide nor its officials are subject to the jurisdiction of the Indian court since they did not have any involvement in the operation of the plant... The government of India needs to address any ongoing medical and health concerns of the Bhopal people.
    • Tom Sprick of Union Carbide, in “Twenty-five years on, the world's worst industrial accident continues to kill and blight many lives. And still there's been no trial (29 November 2009)”

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