”As long as we have life, there will be this world.”
2007 Man Booker Prize finalist “People Call Me Animal” is based on a real historical event: December 3, 1984 In the early morning, a serious poison gas leakage accident occurred in a chemical plant of United Carbon Corporation located on the outskirts of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, India. About 40 tons of methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic substance used in the manufacture of pesticides, leaked and spread rapidly. , like the devil’s claws, reaching out to the sleeping local residents. Thousands of people died on the spot as a result of gas inhalation, and countless survivors have since been disabled for life and endured the pain of life rather than death. According to the recollections of witnesses, there were corpses lying on the desolate streets at that time, and the tragic scene was indescribable. The worst industrial chemical accident in history killed more than 20,000 people, injured 500,000 people, and affected 1.5 million people. After the tragedy, the perpetrator, United Carbide, repeatedly evaded responsibility, and the main person in charge went unpunished. The average compensation paid to each victim was only 300 to 500 US dollars, and even the basic medical needs of the injured could not be met. In 1999, the Dow Chemical Company announced the acquisition of United Carbide, and refused to bear the losses caused by casualties and environmental pollution. To this day, Bhopal residents still have not received the compensation they deserve, and the trauma is difficult to heal. Indira Singhaben, the author of “People Call Me Animal”, is a senior advertising writer. Like many people of insight in India, after being exposed to the Bhopal incident, she deeply He was touched, and even more angry about the irresponsible behavior of United Carbide, so he resolutely gave up his flourishing advertising career and changed his career as a writer. The piercing pain brought by people, “People Call Me Animal” is the crystallization of his efforts.
In this work full of tears and tenderness, the city of Bhopal, where the accident occurred, becomes Kaufpol (meaning “City of Terror”), and Union Carbide becomes Company (transliteration of cormpany). . The novel’s conception is ingenious and unique. The author turns each chapter into an audio tape, which is recorded by a 19-year-old boy named “Animal”. The progress of the story is like a tape slowly turning and playing, and the curtain is drawn in the fast or slow telling of the “animal”, which gradually becomes clear.
Human or animal?
”I used to be a person. People told me that. I don’t remember it myself, but those who knew me since childhood said that I was walking on two legs like a human being…”, the protagonist of the novel “Animal” One of the victims of “that night”. When he was still an infant, the disaster made him an orphan overnight, and he himself suffered from deformed bones due to the poisonous gas, unable to straighten his back and walk normally. The word “once” is full of bitterness. The originally handsome boy now has to walk on both hands and feet, and is nicknamed “animal” because he is laughed at by others. The narration of “Animal” is vulgar in ridicule, full of disdain in humor, but shockingly cruel and heartbreakingly real: he lives in the ruins of Kompany, the source of all misfortune in Kaufborough. The factory – where there are still a lot of toxic chemicals, rusty pipes and rotten black iron shelves around: the bed is made of hay that can ignite a fire at any time, repeating the tragedy: the quilt on the body It’s a half-human-height file from Kompany: when he is hungry, he fights with the dog for scraps, but he also becomes friends with him because of sharing food: his deep self-esteem makes him afraid to love… “I am not a human being, I don’t want to be a human being” is his catchphrase, his inaction and non-law-abiding are based on the so-called “animal” standard, his words are vicious, cunning and savage, and love to take advantage, but he does not know that these characters are the protective colors of his wounded heart; His self-sabotage is not only for the animal-like way of walking, in fact, as early as the day the tragedy happened, his way of life has long been unable to be equated with “human”. The original disaster occurred because of a complete disregard for human life and human rights. Ironically, after the accident, a considerable number of people lived life that could not be called “human”!
Out of love for Nisha, “Animal” joined the civil justice organization headed by Zafar, which was dedicated to fighting against Kompany. The “animal” mentality of “not being a human being” made him stand on the sidelines and indifferent to the activities of the organization. However, in the process of work, he was gradually convinced by his rival Zafar’s fraternity, bravery, and strong “Mahatma” quality, and was willing to pay for himself. Ellie, an American who opened a clinic for the people of Kaufborg, became a good friend, and received Nisha’s care and Faroch’s friendship. At this point, the human nature of “animals” is gradually returning to its place. In the heart of “animals”, the wrestling between “being a human” and “being an animal” has never been interrupted. The life philosophy of “animals” makes him only want to ensure the most basic things for survival, such as eating and drinking, and forget the pain of that night. Escape from the warmth of human nature; but the friendship with the people around him makes him face up to the disaster, fills the gap of blood and tears little by little, and finds the faith and courage to be a “human”. The biggest climax of the novel is the hunger strike and spontaneous riots by Zafar and his party to resist the secret deal between the American representatives of Kompany and the government. People shouted angrily: “There are no Muslims, no Hindus, only people. In the terrifying realm of Kaufpol, the serious religious conflicts in India are insignificant at all, because human attributes are still unsustainable, human beings cannot be human, and human dignity and the right to live are wantonly trampled on! This movement once made the “animal” think that his friends had left him. He swallowed a mandala pill in pain and prepared to commit suicide. Under the influence of the drug, he lost his mind, ran to the forest, took off his clothes, and ate wild fruits. For a living, prepare to be an animal thoroughly. However, human nature cannot be changed, and human emotions cannot be removed from the body. Finally, the return of friends and deep friendship make the “animal” choose to be a real “human”. This is the power of love, the victory of human nature, and even more The author’s call for human rights.
Beauty in every corner
”That night” imprints an exclusive imprint on the body and mind of each Kaufborg, which is indelible and even more difficult to touch. In the sad song written by this disaster, the experience of each person in the novel constitutes a sad note: the spine of the “animal” is difficult to recover, and the famous musician Somraj, who was once known as the “Voice of Kaufpol” Can no longer sing, his daughter Nisha lost her mother forever, went to the city of Coffpole more than forty years ago to spread the oracle, and the French nun Marie Francis, who helped the poor, lost part of her language function: there are more in the story Numerous unknown sufferers: mothers whose milk was poisoned, women who were killed by cancer, thousands of people with frequent fainting, convulsions, hemoptysis, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, and “pay in a bottle” as a representative Countless babies who died before being born… The wounds of the body are still shocking, and the wounds of the soul are even deeper. The madness and aphasia of Mar-François is a heavy blow to the heart of the disaster. At this moment, words are powerless to express the pain. The horror shadow shrouded in my heart is like the poison that seeps into the soil and wells, and it affects Kauf for a long time. Bol people.
Nineteen years after the accident, the tragedies have not stopped, and Compagni has tried his best to avoid taking responsibility. Over a long period of time, the courts have even replaced countless judges, justice has been constantly suspended, human rights have been ignored and denied, and the Kaufpoor people have turned from despair to numbness. However, “despair is the same as hope.” As Zafar said, the Kaufpol people living in the abyss will definitely win, because they have the same invincible courage, that is, nothing. “The power of nothing” often appears in novels. What motivates it and pushes it forward is the instinctive resistance that eliminates all utilitarianism, and does not even hold any hope. It is the desire of people living in the bottom of the valley and the dark for the right to survive. ; And once people’s hearts are lit, the power of humanity that has nothing will have a brilliance beyond imagination. The last stormy struggle of the Kaufpols speaks volumes, and despite the bloody suppression of the popular uprising, the Kompany’s conspiracy was finally sabotaged by a mysterious local woman, and the people’s spontaneous war was successful. . In the author’s opinion, “the power of nothing” has awakened the paralyzed nerves of the people, and Kaufbol’s victory is just around the corner.
”The power of nothing” allows the Kaufbor people living in the abyss to survive and regain hope. The beauty of survival is precisely the spirit of the entire novel. The near-death experience during the “animal” fire festival, and the re-fire in the Compani factory at the end of the novel all push the story into the Jedi. However, the plight makes people realize the meaning and value of life, and it also stimulates the beauty of people’s souls: After the Fire Festival, the “animals” realized the pain caused by the injustice of the world, and the true and beautiful elements of human nature gradually recovered: the doomsday reenactment of “that night” was also not due to the sacrifices of Ma Francie and Alia’s grandparents. let anyone get hurt. In this way, there is also a reasonable explanation for the slightly idealized ending of the novel. This catastrophe that has occurred for nearly two decades is due to the love between people. Together, the “animals” can even go to the United States for surgery and form their own families. Of course, various realities tell us that this is just the author’s beautiful conception and sincere hope, but readers would rather imagine this, because the story has shown too much of its cruel and tragic side, and no one is willing to give up this sincere joy and darkness. The light of humanity that easily flashes.
”The world is made of promises,” says Ellie in the novel. Ellie is an American who chose a career as a doctor in order to help people who are sick like her mother. Later, after learning about Kaufpole’s situation, she resolutely came here to open a clinic at her own expense to treat people who can’t afford it. One of the main lines of the novel is that Zafar and others suspected that Ellie colluded with Company and sent “animals” to inquire about the news. In Ellie’s world, commitment is more important than anything else. Not only people need to keep promises, but everything in the world exists because of the promises they keep. Therefore, she hated Kompany’s irresponsible behavior, and vowed to use her own efforts to save the Kaufpoor people who were hurt and abandoned by Kompany. Another important character in the novel, the musician Som Raj, could not continue to sing after that night, and turned to comprehend and appreciate the essence of music with his heart. In his musical world, the only meaning of notes is when they are compared to the tonic sa, its curved and twisted form, so that all sounds fluctuate around sa to acquire their own tone. “Animal” expresses the true meaning of this syllable after careful consideration: it corresponds to the love in the world, and Somrajsa’s musical concept is to use love to tune everything in the universe. It is one of the most surprising plots of the novel that Ellie and Somraj, two people with very different personalities and sharp contradictions, fall in love. But from the theme of the novel, it is not difficult to find that the world promised by Ellie and the world of Somraj music seem to be separated, but they can be integrated into one, because the premise of commitment is trust, the secret of music is love, and faith is born from love , the two are closely connected by this bridge of love. They finally come together, and it is also the inevitable combination of the theory of love and the practice of faith.
The affection between Somraj and Ellie makes “love” a broader connotation. Compagni’s secret dealings with the government sparked public anger, and one of the lawyers represented was Ellie’s ex-husband. Ellie agreed to a quid pro quo to return to the United States with her ex-husband in order to delay the date of the deal until the end of the hearing. She would rather be misunderstood by friends such as her lover Somraj and “Animal”, and protect the rights and interests of the Kaufpol people to the greatest extent possible. And Somraj, who has never advocated violence, also changed his mild personality when the riot happened, and he came forward and never regretted being beaten to the bone. One of the two learned to compromise, and the other learned to fight, which is precisely the character of each other. Such a complementary couple makes the meaning of love complete. Their defense of justice and protection of human nature have elevated this minor tune of love into a hymn of fraternity.
Yet this hymn, as its fraternity name suggests, is made up of multiple voices, of which Somraj and Ellie are only a part. In this love chorus, the affection between Ma and “animals”, the friendship between “animals” and Zafar and Faroch, the love between Zafar and Nisha, and the warmth between Kaufbor people, Even the sympathy of the police during the popular riots is a beautiful and shocking part of the song of fraternity; and the courage of Zafar and Faroqi and Kompany to fight to the death, especially the courage of Ma, Hanif and his wife to sacrifice their lives to save others. The feat is the strongest sound of the movement that directly points to the heart.
”As long as we have life, there will be this world” is the most touching sentence in “People Call Me Animal”. This is a love story, which uses the apocalyptic Bhopal incident as the background, and uses cruel and true telling, vulgar and even filthy language to express the inner pain brought by the disaster. Beneath this pretentious appearance, what is carefully displayed is deep love, the most beautiful Bodhisattva and rare innocence, the most precious gold in human nature. Author Indira Sinha’s efforts to call attention to the events of Bhopal with an equally broad humanitarian spirit touched the hearts of a growing number of readers. In line with the author’s good expectations, the Bhopal incident has gradually attracted the attention of all walks of life: in addition to the uninterrupted civil propaganda and popular movements, after the twentieth anniversary of Bhopal in 2004, the Indian government has also formulated various plans to Make up for the damage done. Despite the slow pace, who’s to say this isn’t a good start?