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Doom Thy Neighbor: After Hiroshima and Nagasaki… Lahore and Bombay?

Note: The pictures for this story are copyrighted and not available for web publication.   Islamabad—-In the coded signal sent to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to announce India’s recent nuclear detonations, Indian scientists invoked the name of Shakti, a Hindu goddess. “Shakti is successful!,” they trumpted. In Indian mythology, Shakti and her myriad incarnations are the destroyers of evil. However, those in India who were repelled by what they perceived as the evil of atomic tests thought of another Hindu god which a troubled American scientist had invoked just over a half century ago. Lifschultz01.jpg Supporters of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee chanted slogans in front of the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi, the day after India finished conducting five underground tests of nuclear devices. At the first test of an atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 at Almogordo in the desert sands of the American Southwest, Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project stood silently beside his colleagues, and recalled a line from the ancient Indian epic, the Bhagavad-Gita.

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