Under the right-wing BJP party, India witnessed the rise of nuclear nationalism during the 1990s. An anguished Patwardhan sought to understand this phenomenon, attending pro-escalation rallies, travelling to America to interview scientists who question the reasons US politicians gave for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, attending Remembrance Day in Japan. Allied to a positive reassessment of Gandhi’s pacifist philosophies, what emerges is an epic yet diaristic monument to principled dissent in the face of ballistic boosterism. Plus Ribbons for Peace (1998, 5min), an MTV-aired music video, sometimes likened to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, that overlays a vintage Kishore Kumar song whose lyrics (‘Let me take you to a world without sorrow’) are ironised by archival images of mushroom clouds, footage of anti-nuclear protestors and statistics comparing the relative costs of weapons and food.
- Anand Patwardhan
- 135 min