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August 21, 2019

Let the silent majority rise


August 21, 2019

The recent statement of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has sent a shiver down the spine of a tiny minority of pacifists in this part of the world, battling the insanity that seems to have gripped the region.

Conventional superiority should not make New Delhi believe that it can defeat Pakistan. The USSR had one of the largest armies in the world. The US and its Western allies were no match for the mighty Soviet army in conventional warfare. Did America and its Western allies ever give an impression that they would allow Moscow to devour Western Europe on the basis of its conventional military might or did they send a clear message that if attacked they would not feel any reluctance in responding in a befitting manner, going to the extent of using anything that could save them from defeat?

Why does New Delhi expect a different response from Islamabad in case of any conventional conflict? What would Modi do if he were in the shoes of Imran Khan? So, any conventional conflict can easily escalate into a nuclear holocaust that would incinerate every trace of humanity.

Let us remember what happened when Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered from the barbaric nuclear attacks. On August 6, 1945, when an American bomber dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, within no time, 90 percent of the city was wiped out, 80,000 people perished instantly and tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, another great destruction visited a second Japanese city. This time Nagasaki was targeted by the American ruling elite, intoxicated by the unconventional military might that it had recently acquired.

The bomb killed 40,000 people instantly. More than 226,000 people died in the two cities because of the acute effects of the nuclear bombing. Some estimates suggest close to 40 percent population of the cities were wiped out because of the attacks within a matter of a few months.

Hundreds and thousands of people went through tormenting experiences. According to a research report of University of California, Los Angeles, “Very large numbers of person were crushed in their homes and in the buildings in which they were working. Their skeletons could be seen in the debris and ashes for almost 1,500 meters from the center of the blast, particularly in the downwind directions

“Large numbers of the population walked for considerable distances after the detonation before they collapsed and died. Large numbers developed vomiting and bloody and watery diarrhoea associated with extreme weakness. They died in the first and second weeks after the bombs were dropped.”

It was the horror of these attacks that prompted millions of people to vehemently oppose this inhuman creation of science and its potential use. Even the mere imaging of such a conflagration could be very disturbing because the use of tactical nuclear weapons may also create a doomsday scenario. During the cold war, the US stockpiled thousands of tactical nuclear weapons to deter Soviet tanks from rolling through Western Europe. The idea was to make Moscow believe that if the West could use small nuclear arms, it could also resort to employing big ones – causing them to back down – but this strategy referred to as the Madman Theory turned out to be mad.

In 1955, the US conducted a wargame, using more than 300 simulated tactical nuclear weapons against the Soviet targets on German soil. The results were appalling. When the simulated dust settled, 1.7 million Germans had perished, 3.5 million wounded and an incalculable number of additional casualties resulted from radiological fallout. When the results of this wargame were leaked to the media, it triggered an outcry, prompting millions of Germans to question Washington’s nuclear strategy.

President Reagan, who had a great romance with lethal arms, imagined the possibility of a nuclear conflict, ordering another wargame, with the Nato launching limited nuclear strikes against Soviet targets in response to a conventional provocation. But to their utter surprise the USSR doubled down, instead of backing down, responding with an enormous nuclear salvo at the US which was proportionately retaliated by Washington but the catastrophic result stunned the conservative president.

The result indicated that one billion people would be killed in initial exchanges and from the subsequent radiation and starvation. Nato would be eliminated. A large part of Europe, the US and the USSR would be wiped out while major parts of the Northern Hemisphere would become uninhabitable for decades. The result shocked Reagan, forcing him to reveal to Americans a few weeks later, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Despite all that, the ruling elite of Pakistan and India are threatening each other with the lethal arms. Rajnath Singh is not the first. Earlier some Indian politicians made it clear that New Delhi did not acquire these agents of destruction for firecrackers on Diwali.

So, what might happen if a nuclear conflict erupts in the region? If the two countries just use 100 nuclear bombs it could cause millions of fatalities within no time, triggering a nuclear winter that could lead to starvation which might engulf two billion souls. Remember, this is not 1945. The world is armed with more than 15,000 nuclear arsenals and these bombs could be over 1000 times more destructive than the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities.

So, amidst this frenzy of war, the people of the two countries would have to spring into action before it is too late. They would have to boycott leaders threatening not only the land of Sachal, Bahu, Kabir, Lord Buddha, Jain and Ram but the very existence of mankind and every trace of life, love and beauty. It is time we taught our children about the nuclear holocaust that burdened the Japanese landmass with deformed children and agonizing souls. It is time we reminded our people of the horrors of Chernobyl and Fukushima. It is time we told our leaders: enough is enough.

The international community will have to make hectic efforts to ensure that war-mongers are prevented from playing havoc with the lives of millions who want no destruction, death or annihilation. People with great influence such as Bollywood stars should not be lured into buying the rhetoric of war-mongers. They should rather prove that art transcends borders and that artists cannot be fined to the geographical limits of the political world.

Let the silent majority rise, pressuring their governments to sort out issues peacefully. If France and the UK could be friends after fighting a hundred-year war and if several European countries can open up their hearts for one another after indulging in the Thirty Year War, then why can New Delhi and Islamabad not sort out their issues?

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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