Another anniversary of Bhopal Gas tragedy will pass by next month but still many poor people are suffering the after effects of the release of poisonous gas. Many activists are still engaged in struggle for justice. One of the oldest activist Abdul Jabbar led the largest group of survivors of the Union Carbide gas leak in 1984.
Abdul Jabbar taught people how to mobilize and fight for justice till his last breath and demanded jobs, compensation, monthly pension and medical relief.
“There are two kinds of struggles here in Bhopal”,Abdul Jabbar had recalled in an oral exhaustive history interview in 2014. “One is a quest for self- reliance. The other is against the injustice of the government ….”( Abdul Jabbar, Bhopal gas tragedy’s oldest activist,turned ailing survivors into warriors, by RAMA LAKSHMI, 15 November 2019, theprint.in). In the past three months though he had severe ailments including diabetes, he could not get proper treatment in Bhopal super speciality hospital. He passed away before the MP government proposed to airlift him to Mumbai on 19 November as reported by his close friends.
He lost his mother, father and brother to one of the world’s worst industrial disasters and he himself suffered lung fibrosis also lost 50 per cent of vision due to the accident. He never stopped fighting for justice. In 1987, he started the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghatan, one of the organizations championing the cause of the victims of the incident.( Bhopal Gas Tragedy Activist Abdul Jabbar Dies, Edited by Vaibhav Tiwari, updated November 14 2019, ndtv.com). His group fought not only for allowances and pensions to widows but also employment opportunities to the victims.
He was famous as ‘Jabbar Bhai’ to the old city residents many of whom were affected by the tragedy. In his lifetime, he imparted vocational training to around 5,000 women so that they could earn a livelihood for their families.( Abdul Jabbar, Man Who Helped Lakhs Of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Rebuild Lives, Dies At 61, by Vivek Trivedi, updated November 15, 2019, news18.com). At the time of the fatal accident, he was 27 and worked as construction worker. He tried to save as many residents as possible from the clutches of Mythl Iso cyanide.
He led many protest marches even in Delhi and brought to limelight the problems faced by the victims. His struggle for adequate compensation is still to be achieved. His zeal to march forward should be continued till final settlement is granted to the satisfaction of all the victims. The slogan “Hum Bhopal ki Naari Hain, Phool Nahi Chingari Hain” should continue to inspire the women seeking quick Justice to end their woes.
He was a great optimist. “Ladenge! Jeetenge! ” was his tireless slogan. ‘We will fight and win’ was his courageous way of struggle that would inspire not only gas victims but also future generations who need to take firm stand against corruption, government apathy and injustice
Sheshu Babu is a political commentator