Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nuclear Power and lord krishna

I was recently reading the chapter, 'India and the Bomb' of the book 'Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen and I was quite moved and enlightened too as it highlighted the devil hidden in the nuclearisation of nations, especially long time enemies and brothers, India and Pakistan. I've used the term brothers since both of us share the same kind of people with similar thoughts. If you go anywhere abroad, you'll find Indians and Pakistanis being the best friends. Although we become totally different when we reach our home countries.

Going back to the early days of the bomb, the father of the atoic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer qouted the bhagawad Gita after his team,Los Alamos tested the atom bomb, in the trinity test in New Mexico.

"If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

That was the reaction of the father of the son, which went out to kill around 200,000 people instantly during World War II.

In response to the nuclearization of china, India tested its first atomic bomb at pokharan in 1974, followed by the nationalist BJP, which then went on under the guidance of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam to test six more bombs in 1999. Our brother turned foe, Pakistan then replied with the testing of 6 more. The Indo-Pak nuclear cold war had begun then.

The 2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff was a military standoff between India and Pakistan that resulted in the amassing of troops on either side of the International Border (IB) and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the region of Kashmir. This was the second major military standoff between India and Pakistan following the successful detonation of nuclear devices by both countries in 1998 and the most recent standoff between the nuclear rivals.Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said on June 5 that India would not use nuclear weapons first, while Musharraf said that he would not renounce Pakistan's right to use nuclear weapons first. In December 2002, Musharraf said he warned India "not to expect a conventional war from Pakistan" if troops crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir. India's Defense Minister replied that India could "take a bomb or two or more but when we respond there will be no Pakistan."

That was the first time the clouds of nuclear war gloomed over Asia as both countries were preparing for the worst. But when I read this, it was the first time I doubted lord Krishna's argumemt with Arjuna of the righteouness of war. Krishna insisted Arjuna to fight, irrespective of its consequences of the war. But the consequences of a genocide would cease to heal in two countries already plagued by poverty and a host of other economic problems. The consequences have been best described the Arundhati Roy, in a phrase mentioned in 'The Argumentative India'
Our cities and forests, our fields and villages will burn for days. Rivers will turn to poison. The air will become fire. The wind will spread the flames. When everything there is to burn has burned and the fires die, smoke will rise and shut out the sun. The earth will be enveloped in darkness. There will be no day. Only interminable night. Temperatures will drop to far below freezing and nuclear winter will set in. Water will turn into toxic ice. Radioactive fallout will seep through the earth and contaminate groundwater. Most living things, animal and vegetable, fish and fowl, will die.
These lines are the perfect representation of the consequences of a nuclear war, which makes Lord Krishna's argument of war, totally nullified.