Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022
Outlook.com
Review

A Million Shadows

The N-word, as seen by scientists, polemicists, idealists and realists

A Million Shadows
Jitender Gupta
A Million Shadows
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

As fatiguing as a marathon run must surely be reading 66 essays—even though the 35 contributing authors wrote them in anger, anguish and despair. The nuclear 'debate' in South Asia has now moved from the simplistic levelsBooks of 'to test or not to test' into the complex bylanes of weaponising, deploying and establishing command and control. like this one will always enrich the debate by bringing in human values, ethics and morality into nuclear strategy, missile payloads and the Constant Error of Probability. Like the forgotten movement for nuclear disarmament in the UK in the '60s, which reintroduced moral concerns about nuclear weapons even amidst a bitter cold war, Out of the Nuclear Shadow must be read by all those in the business of establishing deterrence and creating nuclear stability. The book aptly begins with Mahatma Gandhi's statement on the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and follows up with Arundhati Roy's ever-readable The End of Imagination. These two essays lay the groundwork of the moral, human and ethical concerns against nuclear weapons. Joining them are a host of excellent authors with essays from both sides of the border, that include Anand Patwardhan, Praful Bidwai, Amartya Sen and Ashis Nandy from India, and I.A. Rehman, Pervez Hoodhboy and Zafarrullah Khan from Pakistan. These indeed are 'Voices of Conscience', and voices that occupy the moral high ground as any strategist would gladly concede.

Mixed up among these famous names are some other famous names who haven't written as 'voices of conscience' but essentially as suggestions of an alternative strategy. These essays are unlikely to exert much weight on the debate, for the authors have mixed up strategy and morality and often appeal for a more moral or ethical course of action because the present one is patently bad strategy!

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