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Colorado College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

India: Health and Human Rights


Standards of health, human rights, and development are typically defined and dictated by policymakers instead of the populations directly affected by so-called development efforts. This paper seeks to contextualize global development efforts by highlighting specific local realities among the community of Bhopal Disaster survivors in Madhya Pradesh, India. As the site of the world’s largest industrial disaster, a disaster which is not over but ongoing, Bhopal represents an important population to highlight as the disaster continues. The Political Ecology of Health model was used to highlight political and environmental influences on community health. Within Political Ecology, this study takes a rights based approach to health, emphasizing the Structural Violence influencing health patterns among Disaster survivors. While these frameworks are useful, both focus on the political, social, and environmental systems individuals are embedded in, making an Anthropological perspective necessary to highlight the agency of the people within the “system.” Through a critical review of the literature, interviews with Disaster survivors being treated at Sambhavna Trust Clinic, and key interviews with activists and medical professionals, this study seeks to better understand community health and development on the community’s terms and, when possible, in Bhopali’s own words.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Health Policy | Industrial Organization | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Public Health


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