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The day earth turned brighter than a thousand suns

Seventy-five years ago, Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came face to face with nuclear catastrophe, witnessing an unprecedented scale of death and destruction. A look back at the event and why it’s time to abolish the nuclear bomb.

Bhuvan Lall

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Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, August 1945

Seventy-five years ago, as dawn broke on 6 August 1945, Major Claude Eatherly, a 26-year-old pilot from Texas, was at the controls of the Straight Flush, a weatherscouting USAF B-29 bomber. His secret reconnaissance mission was to check the weather over Hiroshima. The happygo-lucky aviator picked a hole through the clouds over Japan, flew over the city, and radioed back the go-ahead message that the weather was lovely. Following his lead an hour later, Colonel Paul Tibbets, flying ace and the commanding officer of ‘Enola Gay’, the B-29 bomber, arrived over Japan. He had departed five-and-a-half hours earlier from Tinian, a small Pacific island under American occupation since June 1944. His nine-man crew’s adrenaline was up. They were carrying the ultimate weapon on war — the uranium atomic bomb named ‘Little Boy’. This 8,900-pound device was packed with such destructive power that it could end World War 2.

 The United States and Japan had been at war since Japanese forces humbled the nation after bombing Pearl Harbor on 9 December 1941. American theoretical physicist and a student of Sanskrit at Harvard, Robert Oppenheimer was named the head of the classified $2 billion Manhattan Project and tasked with designing an atomic bomb to ensure victory in WW2. Leading a group of super-brilliant engineers and physicists under extraordinary secrecy at the remote desert facility in New Mexico, Oppenheimer worked day and night to get military superiority over the Axis powers. At 0529 hours on 16 July 1945, a flashlight caused by a manmade device that scientists considered was visible from as far as Mars signaled the birth of the Atomic Age. That morning after the first successful atomic test in history, codenamed the Trinity explosion, a section of the ancient Indian scripture, ran through Oppenheimer’s mind, It was the Chapter 11, Verse 32 of the Bhagavad Gita, “Shrībhagav n uv cha, k lo ’smi loka-k haya-k it prav iddho, lok n sam h a r t u m i h a prav itta ” (Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds). In July 1945, Japan ignored the demand for unconditional surrender and Radio Tokyo announced that its forces would continue to fight. This forced the United States to attack the headquarters of Japan’s Secord Army located in Hiroshima. The navel cruiser USS Indianapolis had successfully delivered the enriched uranium required for the assembly of the ‘Little Boy’ to the US base at Tinian Island.

On the morning of 6 August, Tibbets had a clear view of the city of Hiroshima. He had practiced flying for this top-secret mission with countless runs of the B-29 over Salton Sea testing range in Southern California. Each time he had missed the target. Flying without escort fighters he carefully guided his four-engined plane to the site of an army headquarters. Morris Jeppson, the electronics expert, checked the circuits for the last time. The crew wore special goggles designed to protect their eyes. The bomb bays were opened. Then the countdown began. “10, 9, 8, 7, 6…” Major Freebee pushed a lever in the B-29. Freebee shouted, “Bomb away”. The heavy bomber’s nose lurched up as ‘Little Boy’ departed with its nose down and headed towards the target. Tibbets in a well-executed move steered the bomber into a steep 160-degree turn to avoid the flare-up.

The bomb fell for 43 seconds and at 1,890 feet above ground zero it exploded in a nuclear inferno. The fire released by the bomb swallowed the whole city. The cockpit of the violently vibrating bomber was lit up with a dazzling blaze that nearly blinded the crew. After the shock wave a giant multicoloured mushroom cloud rose to 43,000 feet over Hiroshima. They knew their fateful mission to detonate the atomic bomb was successful. Below them, on that regular morning, the citizens of Hiroshima saw something much brighter than the brightness of the sun with temperatures around ten million degrees. About 80,000 lives were lost instantly and an estimated 200,000 human beings died subsequently due to a new scientific invention that used nuclear radiation to massacre on a scale unknown previously. An area of 13 sq km in Hiroshima was transformed into an expanse of debris and ruins. From infants to the elderly 140,000 people died by the end of the year.

On that day WW2’s most closely held secret was no longer a secret. For the first time, our planet witnessed the destructive power of an atomic bomb. The ghastly man-made tragedy altered the rules of human warfare forever. But Japan still refused to surrender. Washington swiftly ordered a second nuclear strike.

Three days after obliterating Hiroshima, at 3:47 am on 9 August, another B-29 lifted off from the Tinian airbase. After eight hours of flying, it dropped the ‘Fat Man’ over the port city of Nagasaki. The shockwave and the atomic heat generated were estimated at 21 kilotons, forty percent greater than that of the Hiroshima bomb, killed 74,000 people in Nagasaki by the end of 1945. Sidney Lawrence, a British POW held in a camp on the edge of Nagasaki, recalled, “I remember saying to the Japanese what have we done to you?” The tears rolled down his eyes and he said, “What have we done to each other…”

Seventy-five years ago on Saturday, 11 August 1945, The New York Times ran a banner headline, “Japan offers to surrender” as ecstatic Americans crowded the Times Square in Manhattan. The rain of ruin capability of the two bombs brought an abrupt end to the war. After dropping death Hiroshima and Nagasaki the crews of B29 bombers that destroyed were hailed as heroes across America as also were the subjects of a complex moral debate. In an interview with the Virginian-Pilot, Tibbets expressed no regrets over his role in launching atomic warfare. “I viewed my mission as one to save lives. I didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor. I didn’t start the war, but I was going to finish it.”

 It was later revealed that after the successful test, a petition signed by 70 scientists of the Manhattan project had urged US President Harry Truman that Japan should be given a chance before the bombs were dropped. And the inventor of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer had comprehended that he had set a course for a future apocalypse. Unable to deny his moral responsibility the famed scientist told Truman that he had blood on his hands. The reconnaissance pilot of the Hiroshima bombing mission Major Claude Eatherly blamed Hiroshima for his mental agony and was frequently assigned to psychiatric institutions. His remorse underscored the moral dilemma behind the decision to use atomic bombs that led to an enormous toll in human lives. In the 1960s with his deep-seated desire for compassion, he became something of a cause célèbre and a symbol of the global anti-nuclear protests in war-ravaged Europe and Asia.

To this day, Japan is the only Abombed nation and the United States is the only nation-state to have used atomic weapons deliberately on fellow human beings. The explosions over Japan revealed to the world that humankind had been given the means of destroying himself pushing the world closer to Armageddon. The Hibakusha (survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) have since those days continue to campaign against employing the nuclear devices.

Now in 2020, three-quarters of a century after Hiroshima and Nagasaki we no longer need to be convinced those nuclear weapons were absolutely evil. No nuclear weapon has been employed in the last 75 years but there is no assurance for the next 75 years. Furthermore many of the global structures that control the spread nuclear technology are crumbling. Consequently the vision of a nuclear-free world must be a global effort. To denuclearise our planet, we must transcend nationality, race, religion, and other differences, value soul-to-soul and person-to-person relationships, and build a world that allows forward-looking dialogue. In 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize. On 7 July 2017 — following a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners — an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed and ratified it. Saint Kitts and Nevis’ have ratified the nuclear weapon ban treaty on 9 August 2020 following ratifications by Ireland, Nigeria, and Niue on 6 August. Just six more ratifications are now needed to bring the treaty into force. Hopefully, on another day not so far in the future, the nuclear states around the world will remove all nuclear weapons from our planet.

It’s time humankind gave peace a chance as a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Bhuvan Lall is the author of ‘The Man India Missed The Most Subhas Chandra Bose’ and ‘The Great Indian Genius Har Dayal’. He can be reached at writerlall@gmail.com.

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VASU HEALTHCARE FORAYS INTO EXCLUSIVE BRANDED OUTLETS WITH ‘VASU NATURALS’

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With an aim to strengthen the direct consumer connect and give first-hand experience of existing and new product offerings, Vasu Healthcare, Herbal Cosmetics, Personal Care, and Nutritional Supplements brand, has launched the company’s first exclusive brand outlet (EBO)—‘Vasu Naturals’ in Vadodara, Gujarat.

Vasu Naturals outlets will have the entire range of products from Vasu Healthcare: haircare, skincare, personal care, men’s care and other health and wellness products. The company has 200 plus products covering segments including Urology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Respiratory care etc.

Speaking on the launch, Hardik Ukani, Managing Director, Vasu Healthcare Pvt Ltd, said, “Vasu Naturals outlet is the fifth division of the company—direct consumer division to give the consumers first-hand experience of all existing and future launches of Vasu Healthcare. Going forward, the company is planning to launch more Vasu Naturals outlets in Gujarat: Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot etc. and gradually expand nationally. Focused on direct consumer connect, the company is looking to strengthen a network of retail touch-points including company outlets, exclusive kiosk, and shop in shop model.”

The company has the vision to establish itself as a science-based, head-to-heel brand harnessed from nature’s wealth. The company’s flagship brand—Trichup, is omnipresent worldwide and offers a range of hair care Solutions including oil, shampoo, serum, hair conditioner, cream etc.

“Inspired by nature, Vasu Healthcare offers a range of innovative products enthused by Ayurveda’s rich heritage and backed by strong R&D, modern science, and technology. The company will consider setting up Vasu Naturals brand outlets in overseas markets based on the response in domestic markets. Our R&D team is further working on expanding the personal hygiene and oral healthcare,” said Sagar Patel, Director, Vasu Healthcare Pvt Ltd.

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Ticketing platform Yellowheart launches app to stamp out middlemen

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In an apparent bid to stamp out middlemen that seek to profit from tickets resale of live events and concerts, ticketing platform Yellowheart recently announced the launch of NFT ticketing mobile application YellowHeart Wallet, which eliminates the need for a physical ticket and connect users directly to its Web3 Ethereum-based NFT ticketing platform and marketplace.

The Wallet enables credit card fiat and cryptocurrency payments via Ethereum and Polygon integration, to be used for live event NFT ticket purchasing and on-site redemption and integrates with on-site activations and the concert-going experience.

“The YellowHeart Wallet is a major milestone for the live event industry. The App allows fans, artists, and venues to interact with Web3 marketplaces, which will greatly evolve the fan experience and create long-term recurring revenue opportunities for artists, teams, and venues. Artists, teams, and venues that don’t adapt will get left behind,” said Josh Katz, CEO of Yellowheart.

“Providing fans with a technology that grants exclusive access to concert tickets and event-specific content is a real win for us; combining this with our focus on artist community tokens, exclusive album-connected NFT content, and the possibilities for creativity from here are endless,” added Katz.

Running ticket sales through an open-source blockchain via the new app and wallet will give artists and event organisers the ability to track the entire ticketing cycle including monitoring secondary market resale and potential ‘scalping’.

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Jai Bheem app to give young Indians a platform to enhance their skills through short videos

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The country’s young generation will now be able to express their creativity through short videos. Girish Wankhede, a well-known entertainment professional and trade analyst of mainstream cinema, has announced the 4 December launch of the Jai Bheem mobile application in India, allowing users to record, discover, and share short videos.

“Jai Bheem is a short videos application that hones the skills of the youth in small towns that don’t get the opportunity to express their creativity. It will shape their careers by sharing the revenue with those whose videos go viral. It is an opportunity for youth offering them a career in entertainment as well as it makes them our ‘Revenue partners’,” announced Wankhede.

The app maker claims that ensuring data privacy has been the priority with all the data stored on servers in India.

The app also allows creators to enjoy full ownership and control of their videos, which they can download, anytime they want. Jai Bheem App is fully developed by an Indian team.

The teaser launch event of the Jai Bheem app was recently held amidst huge fanfare in Dubai in the presence of top Bollywood stars and corporate bigwigs.

Wankhede also unveiled the motion creative of the Dhamma Chakra Pravartan diwas especially created by the app team that fetched stupendous applause from the press persons. Along with Wankhede, Aman Kamble of Awaaz India was also present on occasion.

This app would not only talk about entertainment; it will also be focusing on entrepreneurship apart from entertainment.

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GOVT FOCUSING ON STRENGTHENING INDIA’S LOGISTICS SECTOR

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The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) is giving enormous thrust on improving logistics in the country and taking steps to bring efficiency into logistics management.

Delivering a talk on “Improving Operational Efficiency in Logistics Infrastructure; Multimodal Integrated Logistics Parks; Technologies” at Smart Mobility Conference 2021 at Pragati Maidan in the Capital on Tuesday, Suman Prasad Singh, Joint Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, said, “Our present focus is to have integrated planning of transport network development. We should not develop it in silo, that’s why the Gati Shakti portal has already come.”

“So far as the infrastructure of MoRTH is concerned, our basic purpose is to reduce the travel time. There are instances near ports, when a distance of 10 km, sometimes, takes more than 24 hours to cover. The reason is not the distance but many other factors like traffic restrictions,” he said.

The JS (Logistics) said the Ministry is trying to develop a dedicated highway to the port so that the travel time gets reduced, and it is operational all the time. “Similarly, whenever there is congestion, we are coming up with flyovers, bypasses, ring roads etc. All such aspects have been studied and incorporated in the Bharatmala Pariyojana,” Singh pointed out.

He said a number of steps have been taken to strengthen the logistics in the country. “The seriousness of the government towards addressing the logistics issue can be understood by the fact that a dedicated logistics department has been set up to bring down the cost of logistics. The government is trying to bring down this cost,” said the JS (Logistics).

Calling upon the private sector to join hands with the government in a true spirit of “partnership”, he said the policies introduced by the Ministry should be complied with in a positive manner. “Compliance attitude needs to be developed by the users of these policies,” said Singh.

The session was also addressed by Amrit Lal Meena, Additional Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Prakash Gaur, CEO, National Highway Logistics Management Limited; and Vaibhav Dange, Advisor National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), besides others.

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DOCTORS GUIDE CORPORATE LEADERS ON DEALING WITH OBESITY AND MENTAL STRESS

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‘Exercise alone cannot make you lose too much weight. Diet plays a more important role. Meal replacements through various diet plans can work for only certain periods of time. Eventually, the body goes back to its original weight and in the long term, you don’t seem to have results. Bariatric surgery leaps ahead of any other non-surgical method as it can make you lose weight and maintain it”, said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, Director, Dept. of General Surgery & Minimal Access Surgical Sciences, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital at an engagement of Thought Leaders of India (TLOI).

The meeting was held under TLOI’s Wellness Impact initiative last Thursday and the well-known laparoscopic, GI, and bariatric surgeon was addressing leaders of India Inc., who are members of the business community. He was the Chief Guest. The exclusive meeting was also addressed by renowned psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, Founder of Maitri, who has been appointed as a member of the National Testing Agency (NTA) by the Government of India. He was the Guest of Honour. Given the work stress, haphazard timelines, and sedentary lifestyles, leaders of the corporate world often face challenges to physical and mental wellness. The two medical experts were invited to help the business leaders understand the two biggest health challenges—obesity and mental wellness— and realign their lifestyles with their bodies and mind in a more cognisant manner.

“Obesity is linked to less fertility, less sexual desire, varicose veins, and sleep apnea,” said Dr Lakdawala, while busting many myths on body weight, food habits, exercise, and lifestyle management. “It not only impacts the weight-bearing joints but also the non-weight bearing joints as it leads to high levels of uric acid”, he said. The Honorary Surgeon to the Vice President of India also informed about the non-fatty liver syndrome, saying that fatty liver is linked to not only alcohol but to obesity too. “Studies also show that it is not necessary for rice-eating people to put on weight”.

There were many cautions in Dr Lakdawala’s address. While guiding the business leaders on the way to check their BMI according to the specially curated index for Indian physiology “as obesity is classified differently for Indians and Asians vis-a-vis other countries”, he spoke about the danger of obesity leading to diabetes. “We have 90 million diabetics in India, and are next only to China,” he said adding that most obese people are malnourished as they face a deficiency of vitamins B and D.

However, fat should not be completely driven off our dining table, advised Dr Lakdawala, who was given the Best Surgeon in the World Award by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in 2019. “Fat is important for vitamin A, B, D & E”, he said and explained how a balance could be arrived at. When asked about an ideal diet or eating routine he backed the practice of having dinner prior to sunset as it allows the person to get three to four hours of gap between their meal and sleep, which is important and healthy.

Dr Harish Shetty, identified as one of the 17 young mental health workers by the World Health Organisation, highlighted the need to reconnect in his address. “We have all lost connection. Connectivity in people has gone down and emotional contact time in the family has declined. Globalisation has caused the disconnection. We need to reconnect”.

Speaking on why leaders are more prone to mental stress and depression, Dr Shetty said, “In a globalised world it is very important to preserve empathy and it takes a lot of effort. You need to share your vulnerability with your hierarchy downwards. You can’t be the only pillar that holds the entire organisation.” Emphasising that our goal should be to build emotional health, Dr Shetty underlined the anatomy of Pathy Triad: apathy, empathy, and antipathy. “They co-exist,” he said guiding them about empowered vulnerability. “It is important to accept your vulnerabilities as that is what makes you empowered”.

Sharing specific data, Dr Shetty said that one out of seven Indians is mentally ill and shared a five-point solution to manage stress and prevent depression—deal, dissolve, deflect, distract, and disintegrate. “Continuous exhaustion and excessive guilt are signs of depression,” he cautioned. “Depression is a fracture of the mind and it is invisible”.

To a query on ways to destress in highly active life, Dr Shetty shared three simple ways: a) micro pranayama – using even a two-minute window to take a few deep breaths; b) showers – the water sprayed on the top of the head helps relax the skull muscle, which helps the body to relax; and c) short breaks – taking small breaks and processing one’s emotions. He stressed the need to vent out regularly. Dr Shetty, who also trains the judiciary, warned, “Obsessive exercise doesn’t work, joyous exercise works”.

He recommended every organisation to have a mental health policy. Dr Shetty gave five simple mantras to a good and happy life: yoga, exercise, diet, sleep and kindness. He had a strong piece of advice for women: “Do not try to be perfect in everything. It is ok to be imperfect.”

Thought Leaders of India (TLOI), an exclusive ‘by-invitation’ community that has made long strides in a short span is curated by Sapphire Connect, one of India’s premier B2B meeting specialists. Its members include top entrepreneurs, founders, chairmen, managing directors, and CXOs of corporate India across industries.

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When Vikram Bhatt called me for Sanak, I was taken aback: Rohit Bose Roy

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Actor Rohit Bose Roy recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX India A-List . As part of the interview, Rohit opened up about his latest series Sanak-Ek Junoon, what attracted him to the character, to the show and much more.

Speaking about the new series, which is now streaming on MX Player, Rohit said, “Quite honestly, the major attraction was Vikram Bhatt and his writing. I’ve been a longstanding fan of the way he writes, the kind of content that he creates. I’ve just done a show with him before this called ‘Memories’, which was one of the most anticipated shows. Unfortunately, at that time, it was another OTT. So, not many people got to see it but that’s where I got addicted to Vikram Bhatt. I’ve been addicted to him since Holland but I love the way he writes. He is a dear friend and when he calls, I don’t ask him what I’m doing. When he called me for Sanak, I was actually taken aback because it is not the kind of show that you would associate with me. It is not the kind of character that you would associate with me. If I’m going back to what I’ve done, I’ve never really did a character who is like this. It is not really about greys. I have played grey characters. He is a character who believes that there’s nothing wrong in what he is doing. Greys are decided by various people. What is right for me might not be right for you, which is what actually eventually drew me to the role.”

“Ajay, as a character, believes that there are certain compromises to be made and they are absolutely fair to make those compromises in life, if you want to move ahead . When we reach a a cross road, we have to decide whether I am going to make a compromise with my morals to get ahead to the next stage or should I trudge along till I need the next stage without compromising my morals. In real life, Rohit Bose Roy would never compromise on his morals to reach ahead in life or in his career. I’d rather work hard and keep at it, which is why it took me to be 25 years to get here,” he continued. “I would have been in a different space otherwise. Ajay doesn’t think there is anything wrong and you can’t fault him for that. You can’t sit on judgment and say what Ajay is doing is wrong. That was the challenge for me as an actor to take up Sanak because when people watch it, you realise that you can’t say does anyone do like this ? You will actually be in a conundrum whether to call him white or black.”

When asked does he as a viewer also like thrillers, he responded, “I love thrillers. I have two point of views here. Unfortunately right now, there is an overkill of thrillers on OTT. I feel there should be a little bit of everything. There should be comedy, there should be human interest drama, there should be romance. I miss romance on OTTs. Having said that, I love thrillers. That’s my major consumption, whether it’s on television or film or OTT worldwide. Thriller is a genre, which I am never tired of because there’s always constantly something happening. When I’m tired, I’d like to watch thrillers because it ups my BMR and my blood starts flowing. Vikram makes all those kind of shows. Even making the same genre, his writing is so different in all the shows. What I did earlier was memories, it was different. Sanak is totally different as far as my character is concerned and the show is concerned.”

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