Magnum Photographer Raghu Rai Traces back the Tracks of Bhopal Gas Tragedy...

Magnum Photographer Raghu Rai Traces back the Tracks of Bhopal Gas Tragedy : A Striking Photo Story

Magnum Photographer Raghu Rai Traces back the Tracks of Bhopal Gas Tragedy : A Striking Photo Story
Magnum Photographer, Raghu Rai traces back the tracks of Bhopal gas tragedy. He reached Bhopal hours after the incident happened. What he captures in his frame then, leaves all breathless. A Photo Story by: Raghu Rai.

Bhopal Archive Photographs - Raghu Rai
Image courtesy Amnesty International © Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos

In the early morning hours of Dec 3rd, 1984, in the town of Bhopal (State of Madhya Pradesh), a tank of methyl isocyanate gas blew up in the Union Carbide plant, due to a sudden rise in temperature. A toxic cloud stretched over 40 sq/Km and about 30 tons of gas were released into the air. 8000 people died during the night, mainly while sleeping, due to the lack of an alarm system of any kind. Those who tried to escape from the disaster got sicker, by exposing themselves. Its the worst chemical disaster of the century.

INDIA. Bhopal disaster. 1984. Seated in front of the Union Carbide bulding, victims blinded by the gas await medical transport to take them to hospitals
These women have all lost their husbands in the Bhopal tragedy. They now live in one-room tenements in a seperate widows’ colony in the outskirts of the city, built by the state government.
Mohammed ARIF has pulmonary fibrosis due to the toxic gas, a condition that can only be cured by replacing the lungs.
Many people suffered from irritation, blindness or ulcers.
Mass cremation of victims held alongside the communal graves. Today the number of death stands at 20000. 


Skulls discarded after research at the Hamida Hospital. Medical experts believe that the toxic gas inhaled by the people of Bhopal may have affected the brain.
Muhammed AZIZ returns to the cemetery where 4.000 people were buried in the first days of the 1984 disaster.



Over the span of nearly half a century Raghu Rai has won many national and international awards and accolades including being nominated in 1971 by Henri Cartier Bresson to Magnum Photos. His solo exhibition has travelled worldwide and he has shown in London, Paris, New York, Hamburg, Prague, Tokyo, Zurich and Sydney. His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers including “Time”, “Life”, “GEO”, “The New York Times”, “Sunday Times”, “Newsweek”, “The Independent,” and the “New Yorker”.

Raghu Rai currently lives and works in New Delhi.

1992 Photograph of the Year, USA
1971 Padmashree Award, India

Credit: Magnum Photos

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