Visualising Trauma:a Photo Essay of Endosulphan Victims

On this earth, where millions of various creatures exist, humans are the only race that can annihilate its own people ruthlessly and cause trauma even to the future generations. The present world is a ‘global village’ where market determines the mechanism of life and commercial priorities rule the roost. In such a scenario, the capitalists have only one mantra to follow, which is maximum profit with minimum investment. So, when the state connives with such industrial predilection, catastrophes such as the Endosulphan hazards are bound to happen. Thousands have been affected by this state – sponsored terror where people’s right to live was mercilessly crushed. In fact, the victims are still struggling for survival as they are devoid of the compensation and rehabilitation they rightly deserve. The frivolous manner in which the authorities handled this grave issue has to be condemned as the ill-treatment meted out to those hapless victims is appalling and totally inhuman. The kind of trauma suffered by the Endosulphan victims need to be analyzed in order to search and promulgate how these horrendous effects can be erased from the collective memories of the sufferers and to instill confidence in them.

Endosulphan victims are trauma – personified; they have to put up with myriads of woes which are capable of ruining a person’s spirit. The fatal physical disorders of newborn babies point to a continuing menace which had plagued the place years ago. Endosuphan was sprayed from choppers as a pesticide in cashew plantations in places like Kasaragod in Kerala and it seemed innocuous at the beginning. The natives realised its monstrous effects only after the continuous health hazards which started to hassle an entire community. Women have severe physical disabilities which result in frequent abortions and many a woman of the affected land is still living in absolute fear. Justice is alien to them, as they belong to a world where state conspires against its subjects. The courts have issued ban on this poisonous pesticide which is the sole consolation for ordinary people to well-known activists. However, the plight of the victims sheds light on the viciousness of man, the sole animal on this entire universe who can harm even generations for commercial interests and material benefits.

Trauma is a condition of severe emotional wound that can have long- standing effects on a person. The representation of the traumatic people can be a problematic endeavour considering the inner psychic manifestations of the affected who could end up in a state of believing themselves as fragile. Gender aspect needs to be examined closely so as to unravel the manner in which the trauma has affected both sexes. As gender is a social construct and our patriarch al social set up has relegated women as the inferior gender, the true fact is that such social maladies have multi -pronged consequences. News reports of women who belong to Endosulphan- affected areas are remaining unmarried and people’s reluctance to marry from such places signify the unimaginable effects of the tragedy which can never be compensated. Such aspects add to the exploration of the various perspectives of trauma on an individual as well as a community. Green Revolution was the phenomena which resulted in the frenzied use of hitherto unheard, unused pesticides with a sole aim of increased production. This paved the way for such venomous pesticides barging its way into Indian markets and the farmers had no reluctance to accept it. It was the inception of one of the darkest phases of social tragedy, man has ever faced. It resulted in unbearable trauma which was physical as well as psychological. The appalling story of the victims and the traumatic episodes they have encountered, raise an alarm that cannot be ignored anymore…

Conceived as a photo essay, the following visuals are poignant enough to narrate the unbearable agony meted out to a whole section of innocent people, particularly from Kasagord, Kerala.

12 year old Badusha with his mother

19 year old Venkadesh from Enmajake

9 year old Shilpa. Her bones may get fractures even with a slight movement of the body.

8 year old Afsal from Neeleswaran

21 year old Abdul Rahiman from Chenkala

16 year old Sreevidya and her father Krishnamaniyani. Both have lost their eyesight

6 year old Shahd Sherein from Mooliyar

28 year old Sheelavathy. She can neither stand nor move her body except hands. The chopper is placed near her by her mother, as once a snake came there and she was helpless.

15 year old Suhali from Bovikkanam

6 year old Chaitanya from Mooliyar

38 year old Kamalakshmi who had to undergo continuous abortions

7 year old Martin De Susa with his mother

20 year old Hussain from Enmakaje

9 year old Naveen Kumar from Karadukka who cannot even stand

28 year old Chnadra from Bovikkanam

40 year old Unni from Cheemeny

8 year old Sabanam with her mother

Protest against State’s inaction to rehabilitate the victims

Endosulphan has inflicted trauma to hundreds of innocent humans who were destined to be the scapegoats of a feckless state that cares only for the covetous corporate and commercial interests. Many of the above victims are still outside the state’s official list of the sufferers; thus, the government rehabilitation programmes and compensations are inaccessible to them. In a way, this is nothing short of the breach of the constitutional right which grants every citizen the right to live. The fourth estate, Media too should be held answerable as they failed to tackle the real issues when sensationalism overwhelmed all ethics associated with journalism. Though there are exceptions, the mainstream media miserably failed to follow up the issue which added to the woes of the hapless victims. Here, the academic community has an immense role to play as little has been done worthwhile as far as the gravity of the disaster is concerned. It is high time the academia interfered in such situations imaginatively by paving the way for other fraternities to come forward with a vision and mission. It is a crime to keep silence when atrocities are done ruthlessly and human rights are violated recklessly. One can only hope that the collective conscience of the society will wake up to foster a much – needed positive change where the real meaning of the word ‘humanity’ is realised…


HARINARAYANAN S. Is freelance writer and post graduate in English.

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Is freelance writer and post graduate in English.

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