Musings on Pokharan
Itihaas May, 24th, 1998
© Akhilesh Mithal
Is Pokharan 11 and 13 May 1998 a kind of watershed, a turning point in the
history of world and humanity? It certainly has the potential of being made into a kind of
symbol, a jhandaa or flag of the colonies and slave camps of yesteryear bouncing back to
take their rightful place in the comity of nations.
The year 1498 saw the arrival of the first Europeans into India and that
event occurred on May 20, 1498. Five centuries have passed. As can be seen these five
centuries of European expansion into the non-White, non-European world has been to the
detriment of the latter.
It is now time that this five-century period, a half millennium was
studied in depth and an assessment made of the damage caused by the White people of the
world to the non-Whites and their land.
World bodies such as the UN and the Unesco should hold seminars and
workshops where the scholars of the individual countries can meet, exchange details and
work out estimates of the loss, damage and destruction of life, property, environment and
culture caused by the expansion of Europe.
Some areas are permanently cleared of the native or aboriginal
populations. Notably in Australia, New Zealand, North America and the area between Russia
and the Pacific Ocean. Such an exercise would show that the Western ideas, that
scourges of God have of necessity to be coloured (Attila, the Hun, Chengeyz,
the Mongol, also known as the Ocean Wide or the Kha Khan and his acolyte from
Tartary Amir Teymour) are wrong.
That self-proclaimed Caucasian White Europeans are equally
adept and have shown their proclivities since Spaniards sailed to the New
World. In recent times, the My Lai Massacre, the Jallianwala Bagh outrage and the
annihilation of small nationalities by the expansionist Russians whether Czarist or
Soviet, Leninist or Stalinist, Gorbachev or Yeltsin show that colour has nothing to do
with perpetration of atrocity.
It is, like religion, morality neutral.Perhaps the two real issues of the
world today are colour and gender. This is not a commonly accepted viewpoint. More is the
pity as the surge of joy witnessed at the announcement of Pokharan was not confined to
Hindus or to India.
It overflowed the national boundaries and even the faraway countries which
were once in bondage to the Whites rejoiced with Indians. The recent past heard talk of an
Islamic bomb. Whether it came about or not is a matter of debate.
The Pokharan Five, Panchatantra? (implosions/explosions/detonations or
whatever) are, however a fact. It is a fact that the devices were manufactured by Indian
scientists working in the face of a world boycott, resistance and obstruction to their
The object should be to make this achievement a common cause
one with other countries of the ex-colonial developing world. The event does
not represent screwdriver technology which means that the object was created elsewhere and
bought to India, in what is called CKD and reassembled here with screwdrivers.
India should offer the knowledge and skills developed to any democracy
which wants to go down this path. Including Pakistan. Perhaps a goodwill gesture could be
made. Something like a unilateral suspension of visas for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
The Nepalese require no visas to come to India and this favoured nation
treatment can be extended to all neighbours who were a part of India. The powers that be
should act in a manner that behoves the dignity of a great country being rebuilt brick by
brick after two centuries of being mulcted, despoiled and impoverished.
Which brings the Pokharan musings to a point of real fanciful and fabulous
imaginings. In this scenario the relations of India and Pakistan have moved away from
gratuitous insults like naming missiles Ghauree. There is a genuine bonhomie.
In such a scene, the Pokharan event would have been something the
Pakistanis would expect. Not inside knowledge but hints and winks and nudges. Then the
response would be Good Show Old Boy, Delighted one of us blackies could do it.
What is needed is that India get out of its go it alone
mentality and make common cause with the others who suffer from colour discrimination.
Although the Japanese have been declared White by no less an entity than the
masters of Apartheid in South Africa, they are coloured.
Their students have terrible stories to tell of treatment received in US
universities. It was unfortunate that the date chosen for the Pokharan event was Buddha
Jayanti. This thrice blessed day saw his birth, his enlightenment and his
The Japanese are, many of them, Buddhist. They are also the only people in
the world to have suffered the horror of atom bombs at the two cities of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. Perhaps some special effort needs to be made in their direction.
A cultural event catering to their taste may well help. After all, we
Indians were the only people who refused to exact reparations from a defeated and
humiliated Japan at the end of the World War II. This shows that sometimes we can show
Now is the time for more of this kind. Perhaps this unfortunate choice of
date would not have occurred if the focus had been anti-colonialism. The world
in general and India in particular have been victim to Europes greed and atrocities.
The beginning (during the Christian Era) occurred with the landing of
Vasco Da Gama in Calicut on May 20, 1458. The Pokharan event could have occurred on this
date in 1998 and a clear, anti-colonial signal given. Alas, an opportunity missed!
© Akhilesh Mithal, 1998. All rights reserved.
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