Can One Man Trigger a Chain-reaction That Destroys (or Builds) a Civilization?
“Now I have become death, the destroyer of the worlds.”
-Sri Krishna in the Bhagwat Gita
A Review of Blockbuster Movie “Oppenheimer”
Director: Christopher Nolan
Oppenheimer: Played by Cillian Murphy
Film script based on the 2005 biography “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird
Can one man, say, India’s Prime Minister Narender Modi, trigger a chain reaction that destroys “modern India” — a civilization still being built by William Carey’s successors?
The question that haunted “the father of atom bomb,” theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was: Will his atom bomb start a chain reaction that destroys the world? Nuclear enemies, Pakistan and India, could turn Oppenheimer’s nightmare into reality.
This month two Hollywood Blockbusters were released in India on the same weekend — Barbie and Oppenheimer. Barbie made ₹27.5 crore during the opening week, while Oppenheimer earned more than twice that amount, ₹73.15 crore! Oppenheimer beat Barbie because it made many Hindus proud that their Scriptures had a huge impact on a scientist of his stature.
Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Manhattan Project, was reasonably certain that Adolf Hitler’s antisemitism will make it difficult for Nazi Germany to build the bomb. Back then, the Fascists saw Quantum Mechanics as “Jewish science.” As a communist leaning intellectual, Oppenheimer and his critics agreed that the American bomb will provoke Communist Soviet Union to make its own bomb. Oppenheimer dreaded that hatred between America and Soviet Union will turn the Cold War into Hot. Atom Bomb could become the power that destroys the world.
The Bhagwat Gita helped Oppenheimer resolve his inner conflict. In a sex scene with his lover Jean Tatlock, played by Florence Pugh, Oppenheimer reads aloud one of the Gita’s shlokas. Vishnu’s incarnation Sri Krishna encourages reluctant champion-warrior, Arjuna, to forget ethical questions and do his caste’s duty to fight and kill.
Why? Because God himself is Death and Destruction.
After Nagasaki and Hiroshima were bombed, Oppenheimer told the media that the Bhagwat Gita was influence #2. The first influence that soothed his conscience was the collection of Baudelaire’s poems, “The Flowers of Evil” (Les Fleurs du Mal). In Baudelaire’s Foreword, Satan, identified as an Alchemist, says, “If rape, poison, dagger and fire, have still not embroidered their pleasant designs on the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies, it’s because our soul, alas, is not bold enough!”
To build his diabolical weapon of mass destruction, Oppenheimer indeed needed great boldness, just as Arjuna needed a bold philosophy to direct his morally reluctant, oscillating soul. Oppenheimer’s Bomb did trigger a chain reaction. Not just Russia but many other nations have developed nuclear weapons and mind-boggling delivery systems. Some of the nuclear powers are led by souls without inner moral struggles. They are bolder than Oppenheimer. One example is Sri Narendra Modi, India’s militant Prime Minister who has cultivated an adversary – Islam – which is second to none in a capacity to hate and destroy.
World War 2 started because militarily, Fascist Germany was stronger than its rivals. Yet, Germany paid a heavy price to learn that arrogance is neither virtue, nor safe. Modi’s Hindutva Brigade believes that it is powerful enough to crush Islam.
Hindu-Muslim conflict appears to be a battle between an arrogant Goliath and a shepherd-boy, David. In such unequal conflicts, “Who is better-armed” is irrelevant. The relevant question is: who has the heart to strike first.
Can a man trigger a chain-reaction that destroys a civilization? Sri Krishna says, YES … and Modiji is out to prove that he has the inner resolve to destroy modern pluralistic, tolerant India in order to build a Hindu Rashtra.
The good news is that an individual can also trigger a movement that BUILDS a civilization. That is the history, Ruth and I have told in our book The Father of Modern India: William Carey. Carey began the movement that built modern South Asia. Now a diabolic spirit of hate is seeking to destroy it.
(August 14 is Pakistan’s Independence Day; Aug 15 is India’s Independence Day; Aug 17 is William Carey’s birthdate)
Please get your copy of “The Father of Modern India: William Carey” in the USA from manager@SoughtAfterMedia.com and in India from www.Triaze.com
-Vishal & Ruth Mangalwadi