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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 34, New Delhi, August 7, 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Aug 7, 2021

Saturday 7 August 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, August 7, 2021

People might recall the news from a year ago of how a huge explosive blast in Lebanon virtually demolished the city of Beirut. Had that been a nuclear explosion it may have also killed thousands of people while decimating the city at the same time. A massive accidental blast is one thing but a conscious decision to bomb and destroy on a gigantic scale is a criminal act. August 6, and August 9, 2021 mark the 76th anniversary of the US attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. These were the world’s first atomic bombings, that too on inhabited cities and not on any military target, the bombing left a big trail of the death, destruction. The Americans told a huge lie to the world suggesting that the atomic bombing was needed to end the war … but that was not true, the Japanese were already defeated and were ready to surrender at the time of the bombing in 1945. The motive of the atomic bombing was clearly to test the weapons and demonstrate the possession of destructive power. That show of possession of destructive military power has led nine countries to embark on an expensive Nuclear weapons programme. Over and over we’ve been told that bigger atomic bombs will bring peace. But we have seen that that is not true. India and Pakistan have seen tensions and confrontation after they went officially nuclear in 1998. The Soviets first and then later the Americans despite their huge military might have both had to quit Afghanistan after decades of war and the possession of Nuclear weapons made no difference. Countries with Nuclear arsenals must tread with extreme caution and continue to show extreme restraint. It is time to reaffirm the Reagan-Gorbachev joint statement of Dec. 1987 that ’A Nuclear War Cannot be Won and must Never be Fought’. India should resist any reckless pressures from hawks and must retain a ‘No First Use policy’ in its official nuclear stance.

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The stand-off in India’s Parliament over revelations in the media, on the use of Pegasus Israeli spyware for surveillance against constitutional appointees, politicians, journalists and businessmen continues. It is very disturbing that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (SCIT) could not hold its planned hearing on the Pegasus affair with a no-show by top officials invited from the ministries and a boycott by members from the ruling party. This shows unprecedented disrespect towards the established conventions of Parliamentary governance in India. We hope the Speakers of both houses of Parliament will be shown the rule book and they will take note.

Tributes:

Comrade V.V. Rama Rao a long-time member of the Communist Party of India and a Trade Union leader from days of united Andhra Pradesh died on August 1, 2021 in Visakhapatnam.

Padma Sachdev, the poet, and novelist died in Mumbai on August 4, 2021

R. Aravamudan the aerospace engineer who served as the Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre and also as the Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre passed away on August 4, 2021

We pay our tributes to the above figures

August 7, 2021 – The Editors

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