In parallel–Bhopal and Khaufpur

As we all know, Sinha’s Animal’s People recounts a story of a manmade disaster and its victims in the city of Khaufpur, a fictional setting that is based on an actual incident–the Bhopal gas tragedy. Last session we discussed the purposes and effects of this book as a fiction based on a true story, and I thought it might be worth comparing the two stories side by side, noting the similarities and differences that the author might have made on purpose while creating this fictional account of the devastating disaster.

Among the subplots of this story, the legal battle between Khaufpuris and the Kampani is crucial to the plot development. There were ongoing legal issues during the Bhopal tragedy as well, and the actual incident and the fiction have many things in common. The lawsuit was a long battle, which ended up benefiting only the company. The government turned its back on people whom it was supposed to protect. As also mentioned in the novel, the company refused to reveal any toxicological information on the chemicals as it was a part of “trade secrets”. The details can be found here: “Insight to Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A case lost before trial”

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