If you haven’t met them, you should!

Since the sporting events have begun keeping the stadium here abuzz, here’s the who-is-who of the young athletes brimming with spirit and gumption. 🙂 Click here for interviews with some of the athletes.

Name      Age        Disability Gas Affected/water


1 Suraj Pratap Singh 16      Cerebral Palsy              with M.R. Gas affected assisted wheel chair 25 meter race
2 Siddhesh 11 Cerebral Palsy Gas affected assisted wheel chair 25 meter race
3 Amaan Qureshi 11 Cerebral Palsy Gas affected assisted wheel chair 25 meter race
4 Zehra Javed 5 Cerebral Palsy Gas affected Crab walking
5 Mohd. Ali Iqbaal 4 Developmental delay Gas affected Crab walking
6 Umar Farukh 4 Cerebral Palsy (Spastic quadriplegia) Gas affected Crab walking
7 Sachin 19 Deformities in lower limb (Kyphosis with paraparesis) Gas affected tricycle race
8 Payal Rajak 9 Hearing Impaired with speech problem Gas affected 25 M race (female),softball throw
9 Ankada 8 Hearing Impaired with speech problem Gas affected 25 M race (female),softball throw
10 Alisha 11 hearing Impaired with speech problem Gas affected 25 M race (female),softball throw
11 Mamta Yadav 10 Hearing Impaired gas affected 25 M race (female)
12 Ishrat 14 Mild M.R. Gas affected 25 M race (female),softball throw
13 Sara 12 Mild M.R., balance issues present Gas affected 25 M race (female),softball throw
14 Minakshi 8 delayed milestone and lower limb multiple deformity water affected 25 M race (female)
15 Muskan 10 Mild M.R. + Cerebral Palsy Gas affected 25 M race (female)
16 Zoya Nadeem 7 M.R. with hemiparesis Gas affected 25 M race (female)
17 Tanu 6 Hearing Impaired with speech problem water affected 25 M race (female)
18 Payal Kushwaha 5 Hearing Impaired water affected 25 M race (female)
19 Sana 4 C.T.E.V., foot deformities Gas affected 25 M race(female)
20 Ayaan Fatima 5 deviant speech and language skill with cerebral Palsy with sensory integration disorder Gas affected 25 M race(male)
21 Ayaan 8 delayed speech and language development with cerebral palsy Gas affected 25 M race(male)
22 Harsh Barhoniya 6 Hearing Impaired with speech problem Gas affected 25 M race(male)
23 Shyam Babu 11 cerebral Palsy water affected 25 M race(male)
24 Shifon 13 cerebral palsy (spastic paraplegic) Gas affected 25 M race(male)
25 Arij 10 left hemiplegia (congenital) Gas affected 25 M race(male)
26 Huber 12 M.R. (down syndrome) Gas affected 25 M race(male),football
27 Shiraj 17 M.R. (down syndrome) Gas affected 25 M race(male),foot ball,softball throw
28 Ashran 13 M.R. (down syndrome) Gas affected 25 M race(male),football,softball throw
29 Nawab 12 cerebral Palsy (ataxia) with delayed speech and language development water affected 25 M race(male),football
30 Hassan 16 cerebral palsy spastic( ataxic component) water affected 25 M race(male),football
31 Kartik Sen 16 cerebral palsy Gas affected 25 M assisted walk
32 Mannan 11 cerebral palsy paraparesis Gas affected 25 M assisted walk
33 Harsh Rajak 9 cerebral palsy Gas affected 25 M assisted walk
34 shahid 14 M.R. water affected softball throw,football
35 Gautam 8 attention deficit hyperactive disorder Gas affected softball throw,football
36 Vikas Ahirwar 11 Hearing Impaired with speech problem gas affected softball throw
37 Moin Khan 12 Hearing Impaired Gas affected softball throw,football
38 Arbaaz Ali 7 Hearing Impaired Gas affected football
39 Dewesh 14 M.R. (mild) gas affected football
40 Sajid 18 hand deformities, ankle deformities,foot drop(spasticity) gas affected football
41 Sufiyaan 7 mental retardation with G.T.C.S. Gas affected football
42 Jatin 6 bilateral severe to profound hearing loss with speech imparement Gas affected football
43 Mohan 15 congenital hemiparesis Gas affected football
44 Rakesh 8 M.R. gas affected football
45 Abdullah 15 voice process shunt, muscle weakness, spastic(lower limb) gas affected football

D – DAY!!

So the 26th is here, its well past 11.30 IST and the Bhopal Special Games are well underway!

The Games kicked off with a song versifying the theme ” From the East India Company to Dow Chemical Company”, accompanying a poignant BROOM STICK march by the participants – some on their feet and some on wheelchairs assisted by their parents.

To trace the broomstick’s associations with the Bhopal campaign, asserting “Women’s power against Dow Chemical” women leaders of organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal had launched the “Jhadoo Maaro Dow Ko” [Beat Dow with brooms] campaign.

“We will take care of all Dow’s designs and all their advisory panels with our jhadoos” said a confident Mrs. Hajra Bi [40] from Jaiprakash Nagar, a community just opposite the Union Carbide factory. She described their current plans to collect used brooms from individual households in the affected communities and deliver them to Dow Chemical’s head quarters in Mumbai.

 “We will bury Dow in a mountain of Jhadoos so they know that they cant survive in this country unless they clean up the continuing mess in Bhopal”, said a confident Mrs. Sheila Thakur [50] who is still grieving the death of her severely exposed husband after years of confinement in bed. Mrs. Sheila played a prominent role in the relay fast that was joined by over 1500 hunger strikers from ten different countries. She described their plans to visit different parts of the country to launch a nation-wide ‘Jhadoo Maaro Dow Ko” campaign. “The broom is one of every woman’s personal weapon against injustice. We will turn it in to a political weapon for justice in the worst corporate crime in history” said Mrs. Sheila.

The inaugural song went thus :

From East India Company to Dow Chemical Company

The East India company unleashed depression on Indians. It won the Battle of Plassey and started capturing India. It collected taxes from Indians and sent it to Britain.

In 1770, there was a serious famine in Bengal. The company stipulates cultivation of Indigo and opium. Because the cultivation of paddy stopped, people died of hunger. In all the famines created by the British, over 50 million Indians died. Now the British rulers are supporting Dow Chemicals.

Don’t help them”, said Winston Churchill. “If you help them, they will never do any work. They breathe like rabbits, these Indians”. They paid no attention to the starving millions and sent 71000 tonnes of food grains to Sri Lanka. Raised taxes while people were still dying and now the British Government is supporting Dow Chemicals.

In 1857, Dalhousie came to India. The British attacked Jhansi. They got Tantia Tope and Lakshmibhai killed. They hung Mangal Pandey. Thousands were massacred in Delhi. “Divide and rule” was the policy they followed. And now the British Govt. is supporting Dow Chemicals.

Now listen to the stories of the brutalities of Dyer. He spilt the blood of innocent people. He ordered shooting on the people in the meeting at Jallianwala Bagh. Over a thousand were killed that day, and he earned praise for this massacre. Never did he express any regret for what he had done. And today, the British govt. is supporting Dow Chemicals.

Now listen to the story of the gas disaster, because of which people are still suffering. 25000 people have died, and the city has turned into a graveyard. There was an order for the arrest of Anderson. Poisons from Carbide’s hazardous waste have gone into the ground water. In the exposed population, children are being born with deformities. People are still denied justice, health and adequate compensation. Meanwhile, the British govt. is helping Dow Chemicals. The British Prime Minister should not have defended Dow. There is much for every Britisher to be ashamed o . Union Carbide Company committed a horrible crime, and this criminal company was purchased by Dow. The British govt. showed no love for humanity. Now, the gas affected people are seeking justice. Through its sponsorship, Dow chemicals has stained the Olympics. And the British govt, has supported the sponsorship.

And the chief guest, ex-Hockey gold medallist and Olympian Aslam Sher Khan had this to say : 

“Children who have come to take part in Bhopal Special Olympics, their proud parents and sisters and brothers who have come to watch the games and encourage these players! As you know, I am a sportsperson, and a sportsperson does sports and not speeches, but you have invited me as a chief guest, and asked me to speak. So today, I will speak on the when, where, why and what of today’s Special Games.
First about ‘WHEN’. As you all know, tomorrow on the 27th July, the Olympic games will begin in London. Olympics is special in itself. It is not just a game. It’s a philosophy of life. The sheer joy of making an effort is encouraged through the Olympic Games, and it pays respect to fundamental ethical values. It is an effort for bettering humanity, creating a peaceful society where humanity is resoected. The Olympic Games pay respect to human rights and it asserts the right to play without discrimination as a human right. The Olympics doesn’t consider your race, your religion, whether you are a man or a woman and the kind of politics you believe in. Olympics sends out a message of solicarity and friendship. Am not saying these things about Olympics by myself. The Olympics originated about a 118 years back. Since then, thinking people from all over the world have contributed their ideas. With the change of situation in the world, its fundamental values have been defined. All that I have said about the Olympic games have been mentioned clearly and in detail in the Olympic Charter.
The next question is – where? As you all know and you can yourself see, this stadium is at the back of the abandoned Union Carbide Factory, so close that a good hit with a hockey stick can send the ball right into the factory. 25000 Bhopalis were poisoned by the toxins on that fateful day. The most painful fact is that even after 3rd December 1984, the factory has not stopped causing damage. Even today, 28 years after the disaster, lethal poisons from the factory are leaching into the soil and the water. Because of the parents’ exposure to poisonous gases, children are born with disabilities, and hundreds of children are also being born disabled because of the contamination of ground water due to thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste buried in and wound the factory. Recent scientific studies have shown that, there are cancer and birth defect causing chemicals in the ground water, upto 3 kms from the factory. Till recently, upto 40,000 residents from the neighbourhood of the factory were drinking water laced with chemicals that damage the kidneys, lungs, liver, brain and other organs.
The third question is why – Why are we organising this event today? Friends, it is a bitter truth that most of the world forgot about Bhopal and the Bhopalis after the gas disaster of 1984. Union Carbide abandoned the factory and went off to America. But, the hazardous waste that the company had recklessly dumped, is leaching poisons into the groundwater and soil. Nobody paid attention to this, and the poison kept spreading. In 2001, another American company, the Dow Chemical Company, took over Union Carbide. Thus Dow Chemicals inherited the liability for environmental damage. But this corporation that has billions of dollars and is the largest chemical corporation in the world, is refusing is fulfil its liabilities. Dow says it bought only Union Carbide, not its liabilities. Thus this chemical company is committing a crime against humanity, and as you can all see, a crime against unborn children
I am an Olympian and as an Olympian, I am ashamed that the organisers of the Oympic Games have made Dow Chemicals a sponsor till 2020. Instead of spending dollars on protecting the children of Bhopal from poisons, Dow Chemicals has given a 100 million dollars for the Olympics. This is a betrayal of the fundamental principles that I mentioned before of the Olympic Games. I and 25 of my fellow Olympians wrote to the organisers of the Olympic Games and requested them not to make Dow Chemicals a Sponsor, and provide it with an opportunity to greenwash its crimes. But the organisers which include British Olympians such as Sebastian Coe did not respond to our letter, let alone drop Dow as a sponsor.
The 4th question is WHAT – What are we Bhopal people affected by poisonous gases are doing for humanity? What are we doing against the pollution of the principles of the Olympics. We are organising a Special Games, and the people who are participating in the Games are children who are victims of Dow Chemicals. These children have been poisoned during the most vulnerable period of their existence, and through their sports, they are telling Dow Chemicals, despite your poisons, we are alive today. Not just alive, we are struggling against the difficulties that we are born with and winning against them. And the crimes that you are trying to greenwash, through our games we are exposing those crimes. As an Olympian, and particularly as a Bhopali Olympian, today I am proud that these children are keeping the spirit of the Olympics alive. I salute the spirit of these children, their courage and their sheer enjoyment in making the effort. Thank you!”


London Protest on 27 July 2012

Message from Drop Dow Now campaign group in London:

We have just today confirmed the final arrangements for our last pre-Olympic demonstration.

We have a protest at Stratford, outside of the main Olympic Gates, on Friday! So far as we are aware, we are the only group that has been granted such permission!

I was unable to send out any details of this before hand as we have only today, finally, agreed it with Olympic Security and the Police. They are only allowing us to do this as they know that the Bhopal Medical Appeal have been peacefully, and lawfully, demonstrating against Dow since their London Olympic Sponsorship deal was anounced and they trust us to continue in that vein.

We will be gathering just outside of Stratford tube station (time to be confirmed). We will be escorted, by security, around to Westfield Avenue where we will be allowed to have a die-in in full visibility of the main gates to the Olympic Park. We are also very close to Dow’s own main Olympic banner so that may help make interesting pictures.

The directions for our meeting spot are: Come out of the Northern Ticket Hall, Stratford Tube Station, turn right onto Montfitchet road and security will greet us in the roadway there.

I must have a definite number for this protest so it’s vital that you RSVP to colintoogood@bhopal.org