STRUGGLE that surrounded Indian nuclear weapons tests



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The movie War
and Peace (jang aur aman) released in 2002 after 21 cuts demanded by the censor
board including the chipping off of some of the speeches of politicians. It was
an Indian documentary directed by Anand Patwardhan highlighting the India and
Pakistan nuclear weapons tests in 1988 as well as the nationalist rhetoric that
accompanied these tests including the aftermath of the nuclear weapon test. The
film captured the nuisance between the government and public that was created
on the surrounding population due to the nuclear test by India. The concluding
part of the movie also reflected the perception of nuclear weapons in Japan and
United States.


documentary begins with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by the religious extremist
Nathuram Godse in 1948. The film then talks about the years after India got independence.
Director lent his voice describing several events, including the United States’
use of the nuclear bomb, the nuclear arms race during the cold war, and India’s
first nuclear test in 1974, he quoted saying “The collapse of socialism
saw a revival of bigotry. America had now become our role model.”  The film has canvased the Hindu-nationalist
rhetoric of the Bharatiya Janata Party that surrounded Indian nuclear weapons
tests in 1998. The film also envelops the “Global Peace March” that
occurred at Pokhran, and the opposition it faced from activists of the Sangh
Parivar, the rise of religious extremism in both India and Pakistan. Patwardhan
took route to Pakistan, where he interviewed several people, including school-girls
participating in a debate on the use of the bomb. In the second half of the
documentary, Patwardhan travels to Japan to interview the survivors of the
atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. The film then
moves to the United States, where Patwardhan interviews curators of the
Smithsonian Institution. The curators describe how the United States Congress
blocked an attempt to create an exhibition on the American use of the atomic
bomb on Hiroshima, and the effects of nuclear weapons. A postscript to the film
shows the September 11 attacks, and the response of the US.


The film is
enclosed by the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, an act whose portent and
poignancy remains undiminished half a century later. It included footage shot
in India, Pakistan, Japan, and the United States. “Jang Aur Aman” is a documentary film
tracing the development of nuclear weapons in both India and Pakistan.
Patwardhan, the director, addresses issues of nationalism and religion in order
to explain the basis of this rivalry. He takes the audience into the realm of
each country, interviewing common citizens and politicians alike. Patwardhan
succeeds in portraying both perspectives of the situation objectively. Even the
most oblivious viewer is able to follow the gradual progression of events with
the sufficient amount of historical information given. In light of the events
that have taken place since 9/11, the backdrop of political unrest and
terrorism, in third world countries, is, now more than ever, of global concern.
This film is only a glimpse of the harsh realities that are commonplace in many
struggling countries. After having seen this film, the viewer is left
dumbfound; yet well informed. Patwardhan truly does an excellent job in
portraying the atrocities committed by these two warring countries and the
horrors of what may come, if the issue is left unresolved.


In a pre-title,
the film begins with black and white archival material of Gandhi’s
assassination in 1948 establishing the ground for national history with the
amalgamation of soundtrack in the background of director’s voiceover by setting
the date in relation to his own date of birth two years later and throws Patwardhan
projected that Gandhi’s assassins included upper-class Hindus. This is
momentous for Patwardhan, who asserts that, as a result, he rejected for all
time the legitimacy of a caste system that posits superiority in such a group
and relegates other people to “untouchable” status… Documentary imagery and
directorial voiceover therefore combine to underscore Patwardhan’s conviction
pertaining to the equality of humans and the moral equality of nations.
Moreover, solidifying this conviction is the commitment to peace that Gandhi’s
example inspired. To establish all this in a mere few moments of introductory
material is typical of the wondrous concision of Patwardhan’s filmmaking.

introduction continues to sketch in post-World War II Indian history, , during
the Nehru era in 1962 as a result of “military debacle against China,” India
found its idealism shaken and pacifism had become the idea that failed.
Patwardhan expands his range of vision against black and white archival
material demonstrating the atomic tests, explosions etc. to note the nuclear
advances that neutered each vestige of pacifism on the world stage. They had a
fear that the atom bombs they had dropped on the Japan, in World War II would
someday come back to strike home ensured a permanent quest for nuclear
superiority.” The Soviet Union, Britain, France and China also joined the
nuclear club. The upshot of Patwardhan’s marriage of image and voiceover ,in
our minds created the scenes of destruction  and we are shown predict the possibility of
their expansion to include the entire planet. After  nuclear arm race india was considered and
recognised as part of world. In India, the collapse of socialism saw a revival
of bigotry. The ideology that had killed Gandhi was once more legitimate.
Nuclear nationalism was in the air, nations continues to war while activist
groups of ordinary human beings protest on behalf of peace. It is depicted that
War is the world’s modus operandi; peace, the idea that Gandhi embodied by his

Part I was
centered on the regional nuclear arms race with Pakistan that India’s explosion
of a nuclear device instigates. Since the British partitioning of India, in
1947, into two independent nations, Hindu-dominated India and Muslims dominated
Pakistan. Civil violence and mass exodus, in both directions, erupted when the
drawn border found Muslims on the Indian side and Indians on the Muslim side;
subsequently, both sides have claimed Kashmir as rightfully their own. Ironically,
Gandhi himself supported the partitioning of India that resulted in such
bloodshed. Both parts of the film proper are in color, suggesting, an expanse
of possibility between the horrible past of Gandhi’s assassination and the
holocaustic future. Also both this past and possible future are shown in black-and-white
which gave the glimpses scenes of atomic explosions and the barren landscapes
that are the result. The film includes interviews of persons, both Indian and
Pakistani, politicians, scientists, on the topic of nuclear nationalism ,on the
justice and the likely effectiveness of the regional nuclear arms race. My
favourite parts were those shot in Pakistan where the voices of dissent from
the hawkish party line spans the whole range, from those of schoolchildren to
those of retired military generals. Sufi dancers and pop bands emphasise love
and erasures of boundaries, appealing to the general South Asian propensity to
mystical abandonment and romantic longings — love is the only answer.
There’s another theme introduced in
the first part that’s essential for grasping the film’s motive: the need for
activism; the need for people to come together across national boundaries and
other divisive categories in the cause of peace.

The second
part of War and Peace, perhaps more astonishing than the first, takes us into a
deeper understanding of the United States’ infectious role in providing the
world with a model of nuclear irresponsibility. This part of the film is
subtitled “The Legacy.” Indian children are being shown a black-and-white film
about the U.S. atomic bombings of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Here, again, Patwardhan achieves an elastic sense of history where the past
seems to predict a god-awful future. Patwardhan’s overwhelming concern is that
the immersion of nations in their divisive and contentious nationalisms will
drown out the claims of conscience rooted in the horrors of actual atomic war.
Patwardhan delves a little deeper
into the Manhattan Project that resulted in the invention of the world’s first
atomic bombs and we learn that military considered it in offensive terms .Patwardhan
also contributes an anecdote of happenstance that subtly links the “just” war,
World War II, to the unluckiness that we associate with its predecessor, “The
Great War,” World War I. the film entails many people disclosing the after
effects of the nuclear bomb preparation ,how they are suffering from cancer,
deformation of children etc.


The film is
an almost 2hrs15 minute long which makes it a full-fledged film rather than a
documentary and audience loose interest when same thing is explained so
elaborately. Though the film gives a deep insight of whole scenario and
discusses every detail but the topic itself is subjected to the interest of the
viewer. Patwardhan is seen to be pro-Gandhi and he keeps on praising him
throughout the film and the images of him was juxtaposed with footage that depicts militant ideologies in both India
and Pakistan, such as footage of an Islamist rally in Pakistan calling for
Islamic world domination, followed by a rally of the Shiv Sena, which calls for
a world dominated by Hindutva. The content of the film was of immense interest
and importance in reminding the viewer of the threat to world peace, also the
skill of the director made it worth watching if once interest strikes on. The
themes of the film included the rise of religious bigotry and militarism in
Indian politics, the nuclear arms race triggered by the United States, and at
the largest scale, violence and non-violence.  Patwardhan’s depiction of the film’s complex
content has a sense of irony and humor.