Death In The Face of Industrial Revolution

Since childhood we have been asked to contemplate if science is a boon or a bane. While as students we have always embraced it is a necessary evil, the practical life outside academia might teach you otherwise.

Death In The Face of Industrial Revolution
Death In The Face of Industrial Revolution

Newspapers in Uttar Pradesh have an unequivocal headline today. “NTPC boiler blasts, 16 dead”. Uchahar (Raibareily) division of NTPC has boilers with the capacity of producing 500 MW of power and in the 6th of such boilers at the site, a blast has occurred yesterday that has taken the lives of 16 workers as per the information as of now. While many more are feared dead and buried in the pile of ash that has accumulated at the site, over 100 more are confirmed to have received severe burn injuries and are being treated at nearby hospitals.

This industrial disaster has happened due to a blast in an exhaust pipe that transports hot ash from the boilers to its dumping pit. The temperature of the steam and ash is said to be more than 140 degrees C and the pressure that builds on per millimeter square of these pipes is more than 765Kgs. That is, as per the information provided by NTPC officials, the pressure is so high that it can splatter in pieces anyone that comes in its vicinity of about 100 Mtrs. Undoubtedly, within a few days, the news would reveal an alarmingly higher number of workers dead and injured than currently being claimed.

A case in point is the prompt disclosure from government sources of a compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs each being offered to the kin of the dead. This, one must understand is way too less than the expectations, whether any monetary compensation could justify the loss of lives at the hands of such industrial mishaps or not. One begins to compare it with the Rs. 50 lakhs being offered to the martyrs of Indian army at the borders of India and Pakistan. And it directly makes one realize, if industries are actually exploiting the human resource of India, mistreating them, exposing them to life threatening vulnerabilities, probably in the absence of much required safety aspects, that most Indian industries are accused of quite frequently.

The incident makes a grown up to remind himself of what he learnt in school, and how he was made to understand that scientific development that is the force behind industrial revolution is more of a necessary evil that often stops being the evil if used cautiously. But how can caution prevail, when the real life situation commands competition and demands performance in the face of limited resources and an expectation of maximum revenue? Industrial revolution shall always remain, thus, an insatiable evil. Any caution could not, and will not be devised until the value of human lives is deemed to be supreme, and this shall only be found in the reversal of what we see as progress today.

If we believe some of the historians who have studied the ancient practices of medicine in India, the British made all attempt to destroy, discourage and show that the advancements into the field of medicine in India, which was much rooted in Ayurvedic and ancient philosophies of naturopathy was useless. This happened, while the west was still bleeding their patients to death as they believed bleeding to cure the illness. While modern scientific revolution into medicine claims to have saved lives, it often conceals the fact that it has given birth to many illnesses which did not exist prior to it.

If we calculate the population of humans before industrial revolution at par with today and find out the number of casualties to natural, industrial, accidental and even medical factors, we might easily realize that the progress has been a regress. The number of untimely deaths has been enormous and mostly horrific. The peace, satisfaction, happiness and security from the lives of people have been swindled away. How can modernity and scientific progress be any good to anyone other than capitalists who dominate and dictate the world into utter submission?