The persons creating the War Hysteria should first get educated about the consequences of a present day war especially between the nuclear armed countries!
After the attack on the Uri Army camp in Kashmir, and the subsequent “Surgical Strikes”, an orchestrated War Hysteria has been created throughout the country which has been given a boost by the corporate media by turning its studios into virtual War Rooms. People have even been advocating the use of nuclear weapons. In fact, some people from the Pakistani side have openly threatened the use of nuclear weapons. It is easy to talk about war and use of various kinds of weapons siting in comfortable air conditioned studios. It is only the people living in border areas who have been again displaced in anticipation of hostilities that know the impact and the consequences of a conventional war, forget for the time being a nuclear war!
The villagers living close to the border have been forced to leave their crops unharvested and take shelter in interior areas because of the threat of war looming over their heads. India and Pakistan have fought four wars since their creation as two separate countries in 1947. The wars of 1947 and 1999 were limited to the borders of J & K while as the wars of 1965 and 1971 were total wars all along their borders. In earlier wars, the most affected were always the border residents. There were some casualties due to bombing raids conducted on air bases, bridges, and other military targets. But now the two countries have graduated to the highest level. With missiles and some of these capable of carrying nukes, it is a different scenario. Even the rockets and missiles possessed by both sides even if carrying non-nuclear warheads can destroy entire localities. The use of nukes of which both possess more than 200 would be the Armageddon not only for the sub-continent but the entire South Asia. There would also be disastrous effects on the rest of the planet.
To give an idea of a nuclear explosion effects, it would be interesting to take a quote from the AtomicArchive.Com.“Nuclear explosions produce both immediate and delayed destructive effects. Blast, thermal radiation, and prompt ionizing radiation cause significant destruction within seconds or minutes of a nuclear detonation. The delayed effects, such as radioactive fallout and other possible environmental effects, inflict damage over an extended period ranging from hours to years. Most damage comes from the explosive blast. The shock wave of air radiates outward, producing sudden changes in air pressure that can crush objects, and high winds that can knock objects down. In general, large buildings are destroyed by the change in air pressure, while people and objects such as trees and utility poles are destroyed by the wind.Approximately 35 percent of the energy from a nuclear explosion is an intense burst of thermal radiation, i.e., heat. The effects are similar to the effect of a two-second flash from an enormous sunlamp. Since the thermal radiation travels at roughly the speed of light, the flash of light and heat precedes the blast wave by several seconds, just as lightning is seen before thunder is heard. Next is the “Fallout”. Fallout radiation is received from particles that are made radioactive by the effects of the explosion, and subsequently distributed at varying distances from the site of the blast”. Another quote from Scroll, “If India and Pakistan fought a war detonating 100 nuclear warheads (around half of their combined arsenal), each equivalent to a 15-kiloton Hiroshima bomb, more than 21 million people will be directly killed, about half the world’s protective ozone layer would be destroyed, and a “nuclear winter” would cripple the monsoons and agriculture worldwide”.The warmongers in the studios including some retired generals need to be shown the Hollywood movie “The Day After” to fully gauge the effects of a nuclear war if it breaks out now in the sub-continent. Unfortunately, if one follows the confrontation track with some “surgical” or “non-surgical” strikes, there is every possibility of quick escalation which can end in a nuclear clash!
One wonders why these two poor countries with teeming millions below poverty line should think of total destruction and annihilation.The answer is the presence of the “Beneficiaries of Conflict” within these countries and the “Merchants of Death” from abroad selling their wares to them! The total armament business in the world exceeds $ 1000 billion and India is the largest buyer. Similarly, Pakistan spends a major chunk of its budget on defence especially buying of armaments from abroad. For these “Merchants of Death” selling their wares to them, peace in the world means lesser jobs back home! This was even mentioned by Lockheed in one of its posters to its employees! Unfortunately, both the countries are not really ruled by the genuine and sincere people. One is an “Upper CasteHindu Corporate Republic” as described by Arundhati Roy and the other is the Country of “My Feudal Lord”! A coterie of feudal land lords!One fails to understand why don’t the leaders on two sides think of the teeming millions living in abject poverty? Had the money being spent on armaments on two sides been invested in ameliorating the lot of the poor, these two countries would have been the best welfare states!
Both the countries for all their differences and conflicts have the “Whipping Boy” of Kashmir. For last 70 years Kashmiris are being used as guinea pigs by the two countries to uphold theirconflicting ideologies of the so called “Secularism” and the “Two Nation Theory”. It is the worst misfortune of Kashmiris that they have got entangled in this mess for no fault of theirs. For last three months Kashmir is under total siege. People have been deprived of the basic human rights by the use of the most brutal and the harshest use of force. The “War Hysteria” is being created deliberately to divert attention from the issues confronting the two sides. India is creating a hue and cry to drown the woes of Kashmiris while as Pakistanis facing terrorism in every nook and corner, want to muzzle their own internal political problems. The conflict over Kashmir, an extremely sensitive emotional issue, suits both sides. The only sufferers in this match are the Kashmiris in particular and the millions of poor on the two sides of the divide.It is the right time now to end all “Surgical” and “Non-Surgical” strikes; bring down the “War Hysteria” and save Kashmir by giving relief to Kashmiris by restoring their fundamental human rights. The only choice is to hold an unconditional dialogue among all stakeholders to sort out the basic political problem once and for all. The alternative is a mass suicide!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir Email: firstname.lastname@example.org