Jabber Bhai: The Fighter for Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Jabber Bhai: The Fighter for Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Jabber Bhai: The Fighter for Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Abdul Jabbar, a gas victim, is a social fighter for scores of victims in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. He has been dedicatedly fighting this lonely, and seemingly never-ending battle for the survivors. He stood for the rights of the victims and finally succeeded in providing medical and economic rehabilitation to the victims of the gas tragedy. For his struggle, and hard-earned success, Abul Jabbar is getting rewarded with the Padma Shri title, at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Jabbar Bhai, as his locals call him, lived in dire poverty. He stayed with his wife, three young children in a one room asbestos shed, sharing a common toilet with his younger brother, till the latter, died in November 14, 2014 from the after effects of the lethal vapours. Son of a mill cloth employee, the intervening tragic night of December 2-3, 1984 made him a bore well contractor. On the date of the calamity, Jabbar fled with his mother, brother and father from the city to Obaidullaganj to escape from the deadly contamination. They returned safe, but over the years, he lost them owing to repercussions. His own lungs and eyesight was severely harmed. The sight of dead children, people with losing vision searching for the last hope of survival, devastation, their helplessness has touched and moved Jabbar Bhai to fight for their causes. 

For three decades, he had made his daily routine searching for medical and economic support of the survivors, lodging judicial complaints against corrupt officials, and demanding bed and medicines for the tragic descendants. 

He and his Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) never took corporate funds and foreign agencies' help. Jabbar declined support from governments, politicians and friends from corporate houses to stay with the victims to stand in their waging wars. 

Instead of monetary help, he provided vocational training to the widows of the gas tragedy, and others from the weaker strata of the society. Generating self-employment through skill enhancement was his toughest decision, but he passed it with flying colours. Making the beneficiaries self-independent, he contracted them with orders for tailoring, bag making, and sticking traditional unique Bhopal batau for big shop owners. 

With such meagre means, Jabbar filed several judicial petitions through public spirited lawyers, seeking relief for victims, medical care, more compensation, and clearing of toxic waste dumped in the premises of the Union Carbide factory since the tragic night. He has shown the path for the struggle, leading street agitations, taking part in similar people's movements, standing beside riot victims, opposing demolition drives and protesting against construction of buildings, hotels near the lakes. Soon, his rallies and protests found more space for women.

He has lived his life fighting for climate change, against environmental disruption, providing support to the weaker sections of gender, castes and lower economic classes. He has suffered through his family loss, and his contribution and work for rebuilding the life of the victims help him speak out of his helplessness, do something for the tragic death of his mother, father and younger brother. 

The nation's unsung hero truly deserves the Padma Shri award for standing in the forefront for waging the struggle for justice for Bhopal victims. 

Source: The Hindu

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