The Untold Story of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Hero - Knew Today

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The Untold Story of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Hero

Written by Chittaranjan Panda · 4 min read >
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The Bhopal gas tragedy remains a horrific event, but amidst the devastation, a hero emerged. Deputy station superintendent Ghulam Dastagir, in a selfless act, potentially saved countless lives. His quick thinking and decisive actions during the disaster helped prevent a further catastrophe.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A Night of Devastation

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Thirty-two years ago, on the night of December 2, 1984, Bhopal witnessed a catastrophe unmatched in industrial history. A leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant spewed nearly 30 tons of methyl isocyanate, a deadly gas, transforming the city into a vast gas chamber. Panic erupted as thick clouds choked the air. Thousands fled blindly in the night, gasping for breath. Hospitals were inundated with the sick and dying, their screams echoing through the chaos. The gas left a trail of devastation – thousands perished immediately, while countless others suffered agonizing pain, blindness, and long-term health problems. Bhopal continues to grapple with the aftermath of this tragedy, a stark reminder of the potential dangers of industrial negligence.

On the evening of December 3, 1984, while Bhopal reeled from the invisible grip of a poisonous gas leak, Ghulam Dastagir, oblivious to the unfolding disaster, sat in his office finishing paperwork. By 1 a.m., he emerged to check on the arrival of the Gorakhpur Mumbai Express.

Stepping onto the platform, a wave of discomfort washed over Ghulam Dastagir. His eyes stung, a peculiar itch crawling up his throat. Disorientation flickered – the Bhopal night, usually cool and clear, felt thick and unnatural. Unaware of the poisonous shroud silently creeping over the city from Union Carbide’s nearby factory, Dastagir scanned the horizon for the approaching Gorakhpur Mumbai Express.

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Highlight Dhurve’s Heroism and Dastagir’s Potential Role

Dastagir choked, his throat constricting painfully. Little did he know, twenty-three of his railway colleagues, including his boss, station superintendent Harish Dhurve, had already succumbed to the poison. Dhurve, it would be revealed later, had acted swiftly upon hearing of the gas leak, attempting to halt train traffic through Bhopal before collapsing in his own office. Blinded by the invisible killer, Dastagir continued to scan the tracks for the approaching train.

Dastagir’s health plummeted, a sickening feeling twisting in his gut. Years of experience honed a sixth sense for trouble. Though the full picture remained obscured, instinct screamed something was terribly wrong. The unanswered calls to the station master confirmed his growing unease. Without a moment’s hesitation, he reached for the communication console, alerting senior staff at nearby Vidisha and Itarsi stations.

Dastagir’s breath hitched, his lungs burning. Years honed his instincts, whispering a chilling truth. One train, the Gorakhpur-Kanpur Express, a human oven crammed full of unsuspecting passengers, stood ready to depart in a mere twenty minutes. Time was a cruel adversary. Taking a deep breath, Dastagir shouldered an unthinkable burden. “Clear the train for immediate departure!” he commanded his staff. “I take full responsibility.”

Later accounts painted a chilling picture – Dastagir, barely clinging to consciousness, his voice a rasp against the choking air, managed to bark out the order. Rules were shattered in the face of this silent killer. With his team by his side, Dastagir, in a feat of extraordinary will, personally flagged off the train. But would it be enough? The fate of countless lives hung in the balance as the train roared into the unknown.

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That night, the stationmaster’s quick decision sent the Gorakhpur-Kanpur Express hurtling away from the toxic cloud, its hundreds of passengers whisked away to relative safety. But the Bhopal gas tragedy was far from over. Dastagir, his health deteriorating rapidly, would continue to play a crucial role in the unfolding chaos.

The Bhopal station transformed into a nightmare – choking gasps, panicked screams, a desperate scramble for escape. Dastagir, despite his own struggle to breathe, knew he couldn’t falter. Turning his attention to the immediate crisis, he rallied his remaining staff. An SOS message crackled through the lines to nearby railway offices – medical help was desperately needed. His plea found an answer – four ambulances, sirens wailing, carrying paramedics and railway doctors, sliced through the night towards the beleaguered station.

The station morphed into a nightmarish emergency room – bodies convulsed, wracked with coughs, fear etched on their faces. Besieged by a tide of human misery, Dastagir, a soldier amidst the civilian chaos, worked tirelessly. His own breaths came in ragged gasps, a constant reminder of the invisible enemy. Yet, the gnawing worry for his family, somewhere out there in the poisoned city, threatened to cripple him. He pushed it down, channeling his fear into action, a silent vow for their safety fueling his every move.

Gulam Dastagir’s devotion saved countless lives, yet his heroism remained largely unrecognized for years. A silent guardian, he bore the physical and emotional scars of that night until his passing in 2003, a testament to the courage and sacrifice often unseen

End with a Call to Action

A memorial stands at platform number one, a solemn reminder of the sacrifice made by many on that horrific night. However, the tale of Ghulam Dastagir, who defied protocol and illness to save hundreds, remains largely untold. This forgotten hero deserves a place not just on a single platform, but in the hearts and history books of his country. Let us ensure his story becomes a beacon of courage and a call to remember the unsung heroes who rise in the face of tragedy.

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I have a request to my readers

Anybody passing through Bhopal railway station or heard any story please share it in comment section.It will be a great tribute that little-known HERO.

Written by Chittaranjan Panda
Dr. Chittaranjan Panda is a distinguished medical professional with a passion for spreading knowledge and empowering individuals to make informed health and wellness decisions. With a background in Pathology, Dr. Chittaranjan Panda has dedicated his career to unraveling the complexities of the human body and translating medical jargon into easily understandable concepts for the general public. Profile
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