Disability, Disease and the Deceased:Reading Health and Justice in Animal’s People

© Media Watch 12 (1) 58-66, 2021
ISSN 0976-0911 | E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2021/v12i1/205458


Disability, Disease and the Deceased:
Reading Health and Justice in Animal’s People


Rahul Vijayan & Nagendra Kumar
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India



The interaction between disability studies and ecocriticism has attracted effective responses from academia. This paper investigates how toxicity deteriorates environmental health and also engenders chronic illnesses and disability in the backdrop of the Bhopal gas tragedy. Animal’s People (2007) by Indra Sinha portrays the life of a disabled boy who takes the readers to a post-apocalyptic fictional city, Khaufpur,  where he introduces the readers to his disability and the shame and stigma attached to it.  The novel vividly discusses the gas leak, the plight of the exposed people, and the medical response team’s failure, who stood clueless in assisting the victims. The novel dramatizes ‘that night’ when the chemicals were spewed into the air, affecting the exposed, killing fetuses, and later disabling the survived. The paper also proposes to scrutinize how slow violence affects the marginalized people and how it distorts a person’s identity by attributing him an ill body that is continuously under the siege of the ableist and normative society. It further looks into how the diseased and disabled bodies navigate a world that only privileges the non-disabled in the novel’s backdrop. The article explores how the injustice inflicted by both the government and the multinational corporations permanently disables the environment, thereby depriving the people of their right to a healthy life.


Keywords: disability, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, toxicity, environment, illness.



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Rahul Vijayan is a Research Scholar in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. His research interests include environmental humanities, disaster narratives, disability studies, and postcolonial studies.

Nagendra Kumar is a Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. His research interests include South Asian literature, dalit studies, soft skills, Indian writing, critical theories, and technical communication.


Correspondence to: Rahul Vijayan, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee-247667, Uttarakhand, India