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Exploding the Myth - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • May 1, 1998

    Exploding the Myth

    Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. Thank you for showing the world the real face of this government and of this country. For 4,000 years India has maintained a tradition of being peaceful and non-violent. While the soldiers of other religions and beliefs went about conquering lands with swords and cannons, Indians went about their daily life searching for more philosophical answers like: What is the meaning of Life. True, we have had our moments of glory. There was a man called Buddha, so our history books tell us, who understood the meaning of life. From some remote part of eastern India Buddha conquered most of Asia with his thoughts and words. Buddha did not use swords or nuclear bombs. He just used his message. I am glad that you chose the day of his birthday as the day for exploding the nuclear bomb. I am sorry, three bombs. I did not mean to offend the manhood of Hindutva.

    Yes, we know that the world is a different place and a complicated place. We know that there are many other countries in the world that are doing wrong things and getting away with it. Russia, China, France, USA, UK, all have nuclear arms and want others not to have it by pushing through a one-sided non-proliferation treaty. France killed the spirit by exploding nuclear bombs while talking about restraint. China kills its students, explodes bombs, and yet gets a subsidy of US$ 60 billion every year from USA through all the exports that it makes to those forever-shopping American capitalists. The CIA says that China is exporting missile and nuclear technology to Pakistan and, yet, USA continues to export sensitive materials to China. Israel surely has the capability to build a bomb but its lobby in the US is strong enough to make sure that no sanctions are imposed on it. Yes, it is an unfair world out there, Mr. Prime Minister, and you have shown us how to deal with this situation. An eye for an eye, is the new message from India. The kind of communication you see between 5 year old children in a playground. But trading blows is not new to you: you have done that before. Your party is good at this sort of thing. In December, 1992 it was a temple for a mosque.

    Few may remember the phrase "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", spoken by an Indian. That Indian happened to be Mahatama Gandhi. But, of course, some members of your party may know him. One of your compatriots was the man who gunned him down. And now, since a dead Buddha could not be assassinated, I guess the next best thing was to explode Buddha's ideals on his birthday.

    I do not understand why I am sad. I should be rejoicing at the manhood of my country. At its show of strength to the world. At this act of defiance. At this act of self-preservation. At this act of scientific achievement. I really liked your comments to the press immediately after the explosions: "The measured yields are in line with expected values". You really sounded like a man who knew what he was doing and knew exactly what every action means, and what every word means. Just like a mask.

    It may be that I always believed that India was different. That the Mrs Gandhis of the world who triggered nuclear bombs and the Rajiv Gandhis who wished to be Asian superpowers were aberrations of the western-educated Indians exposed to the culture of violence in the west. I had wrongly believed that the true Indian stood by some other values that may not be quite measurable by your brilliant scientists. Your government, sir, has taken the country a jump ahead in the arms race. Pakistan will now spend more money on guns, and your government will also increase spending on guns instead of spending money on making people happy.

    I truly hope, sir, that there is something else in this madness. Maybe the knowledge of knowing your strength will humble you to surrender all nuclear material that this country has. And enforce a unilateral cut in our defence spending. Buddha was a prince and he surrendered the wealth of his kingdom for the peace of his mind. The Mahatama was a man of the laws and he surrendered his words for humble actions. Will you surrender your measured yields for mankind's gain? Then I will be proud to be an Indian. Till then, I will shame in the knowledge that I am a citizen of one of the tin-pot superpowers responsible for leading mankind to destruction.



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