Hiroshima day is a grim reminder of the dropping of the first atom bomb (ironically named Little Boy), 63 years ago, by the U.S. on the helpless and innocent citizens of Hiroshima . The Uranium bomb detonated at precisely 8.15 am, 2000 feet above the ground surface, turning a beautiful Monday morning into an inferno of unprecedented destruction.
As of today, the death toll ( due to immediate loss of life and the long drawn out radiation impacts) stands at 242,437. About 270,000 A-Bomb affected people ,called Hibakusha, live in Hiroshima today.
The second round of terror was unleashed 3 days later (9 August) with the exploding of a Plutonium bomb (called the Fat Man), directly above the Urakami Cathedral, annihilating the city of Nagasaki.
Even military experts felt that these bombs were not necessary to win the war, whose fate was virtually sealed against Japan . They were a brash announcement of the arrival of the new leader of the capitalist world, the US imperialism. Since then the US' ambition to be controller of the world has found reflection in their tactics in national and foreign policies. Atomic weapons have now given way to the more lethal nuclear weapons threatening lives world wide, as never before.
Today, Hiroshima stands tall as a picturesque and clean city; a city of peace that is almost crime free. It bears testimony to the indomitable spirit of the Japanese people, to their faith in life and in the goodness of humanity.
On this sombre day let us join hands with all like minded, peace loving people of this planet to shun war and violence in any form.
The possibility of a nuclear attack in the 21st century is not far fetched. Terrorist attacks by the so called 'jehadis' , the 'cocking a snook behaviour' and the brash insolence of the economically/ politically powerful, the communal violence perpetrated in the name of religion, the inhuman treatment of women in many parts of the world--- all these are acts of terror that can never be justified. What sometimes start as seemingly small acts of childhood intolerance and aggressive behaviour eventually end up in abject disregard for human life and cruel intolerance towards others.
Hiroshima Day should remind us of the importance of peaceful coexistence so that we never start a war. Militarism is wrong and there is no glory in war. Taking a human life is the most inhuman act and does not justify any end.
It would be pertinent here to quote from the memoirs of Dr. Richard Feynman, an eminent physicist, who was closely associated with the famous Manhattan Project ( for the making of the atom bomb) headed by Dr.Bob Wilson. Feynman recalls: "After the thing went off, there was tremendous excitement at Los Alamos . Everybody had parties, we all ran around. But one man, I remember, Bob Wilson, was just sitting there moping. He said, It's a terrible thing that we made."
It is high time we brought the terror of annihilation to an end so that our children grow up in a world free of nuclear weapons and communal prejudices.
Let us vow to celebrate life and not glorify death. Let us live and let others live. Let us as citizens, reject the Indo US Nuclear Deal.
- Shobha Shukla
The author teaches Physics at India's Loreto Convent and has been writing in English and Hindi newspapers since past 30 years. She serves as Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS)