Diary from Murshidabad

October 2010, Murshidabad District, Bengal, India

Fields of Kash
-Fields of Kash;

No particular intention had brought me a Murshidabad District in Bengal, I might search my excuses and I can fabricate several. Making some pictures for a friends mother's NGO perhaps, a made-up magazine assignment etc. The simple matter is that I had decided one morning to leave and gets on a plane and then a car and reach there that very night. I had it in mind to travel around for two weeks and then go back.

 What was I looking for. I don't know myself. Looking back at myself through time, I have partly become a stranger to myself, feeling things utterly lost to me now. And yet I can explain him better than my present self, I was buried under my skin. My life was unfocused and directionless, I still had not made a home for myself after several half hearted efforts. All my belongings then were divided between an un-used flat in Bangalore and I spent months wandering around from one spare room in my parents house to another, mostly in Delhi. It had begun to feel as if I had never lived in any other way, nor will I ever settle down. It seemed that I couldn't seem to connect properly with the world. I felt this not as a failure of the world but as a massive failing in myself, I would have liked to change it but I didn't know how. In my clearest moments I had thought that I had lost the ability to love, people or places or things, most of all the person and place and thing that I was. Without love nothing has value, nothing can be made to matter very much. It wasn't a good place to be if you're a observer of the world, a photographer if you must insult me.

The Bhopal Legacy

At around midnight on Dec. 3, 1984, a Union Carbide plant manufacturing the pesticide Sevin suffered a terrible malfunction, accidentally releasing poisonous gas into the air over Bhopal, India. Thousands of people died that night and in the days, weeks and months that followed. Since then, very little of the toxic residue around the plant has been cleaned up, while the local population suffers from a high rate of birth defects, cancer and other maladies that activists say are tied to the pollution.

The Legacy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - 1

First : In 1989 Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to settle its liability in the accident. Five years later, the company sold its controlling interest in the site to its Indian partners. In 2001 Union Carbide itself was acquired by Dow Chemical. Today, the site, including its control room, above, are under the stewardship of the Madhya Pradesh government.
 Second :Saira, 16 years,this body is underdeveloped because of severe cerebral palsy and multiple muscle dysfunction that appeared shortly after his birth. They continue in JP Nagar a colony on the South Wall of the former UC factory.]

The Legacy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - 3 [

[First : On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the disaster, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Ministry, which is currently responsible for the plant and its grounds, has declared that the facility shall be opened to the public for a week — in order, says a spokesman, "to get rid of the apprehension and misconception that the chemical wastes lying in the factory are still harmful and are polluting the groundwater of nearby localities."
 Second :Among the many organizations that have sprung up to help the victims of the disaster is the Chingari Trust, which offers assistance, education, physiotherapy and advice to children whose parents lived through the disaster or who have become ill from consuming contaminated water.]

The Legacy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - 2

[ First : Union Carbide 2012.
 Second : Many of the families living near the disaster site are poor, urban slum dwellers unable to afford the cost of relocating. In a city where safe drinking water is already a scarcity, they are forced to drink the affected water lying underneath their homes.]

  The Legacy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - 4

[ First    : Union Carbide 2012.
 Second : Sachin, 18,centre after getting out while playing street cricket. He is paralyzed from waist down from birth,in Oriya Basti, one of contaminated slums.]

  The Legacy of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy - 5
Originally commissioned and published in Yard Magazine, France.