Journalists Against Nuclear Weapons

STOP THIS 'SCIENTIFIC' JINGOISM:
AN APPEAL

The Journalists Against Nuclear Weapons (JANW) draws the urgent attention of the public in general. and specially the scientific community to disturbing attempts at identifying Indian science with militarism. These attempts need to be countered and curbed before it is too late.

The country has been witness in recent days through our mass media, to the unedifying spectacle of a nuclear militarism being peddled in the name of an allegedly patriotic science.

The nuclear tests themselves have right from May 11 last, continued to be described and defended, above all, as a proud scientific achievement. Any opposition to the nuclear tests and what they signify has, thus been projected as an affront to Indian science and scientists. That was bad enough. Worse by far is what has followed.

Those at the helm of the science establishment, associated and identified with Pokharan II, have been lionised in well-publicised fora. And. they have been feted as patriots par excellence. These scientists have seized the occasion to make observations of a partisan character and even Statements approximating to policy pronouncements.

One of them, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has been quoted as contemptuously directing the opponents of the tests and the nuclear-weaponisation programme to go stage their protests and demonstrations in Washington and Moscow -- as though those against India's bomb were not opposed to nuclear-weaponisation elsewhere and everywhere. Like other organisations that demand dismantling of all nuclear arsenals and universal nuclear disarmaments the JANW cannot but repudiate the presumption. In the latest example another of these scientists. Dr. K. Santhanam of the DRDO. is reported to have declared that India can make the neutron bomb and added: "We have no plans as of now to do so, but should anyone ask us (the scientific community) to do so, we will do it."

The implications of leaving national security issues to be pronounced upon by such a section of scientists are evident. Even more dangerous, however, is the trend towards identifying science, and Indian science itself with jingoism.

Some sections of the scientific community have, fortunately, come out before against the tests and the nuclear-weaponisation drive and exposed the hollow claims behind it. The JANW assures these sections of full support in efforts to prevent Indian science from being misused to further a militarist agenda.

J. Sri Raman.
Convenor, JANW
September 15, 1998

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JANW
Convenor J.Sri Raman
Co-ordinators R. Gopalakrishnan, Suresh Nambath, K.Venkataramanan, S.Radhakrishnan and R.Revathi


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