Saturday, October 01, 2005

Weapons of Peace

Fresh from reading a book by Strobe Talbott, I picked up "Weapons of Peace" by Raj Chengappa from the Library. The book gives a detail account on India's dream of becoming a Nuclear and Missile Power. I finished 200 pages of the 500 page book in 1 day and I could not continue at the same speed. Thereafter I had to take Nap breaks every 10 pages... Oh man the author details into so many irrelevant things. He talks about every bureaucrat and scientist who was involved in the Nuclear and Missile programs.

At times these details get irritating because he takes off his eyes from the core part of the chapter and moves on to describe the Minister, His Secretary, His Life etc..For instance the chapter about our Agni Missile has a big paragraph about K.C Pant.

Come on Mr Raj, I do not want to know what Indira Gandhi's Principal Secretary was like, Tell me more details about the Weapons.

I read rest of the book cursing two people, One Raj Chengappa, second the person who recommended me this book (no prizes for guessing)

The book clearly depicts lack of coordination between various government agencies, bureaucrats, ministers etc. For instance BARC did not know what DRDO is doing and vice versa. Every 50 pages, there is an indication of a Project failure due to lack of funds, coordination and vision. I felt that if somebody like Dr. R.Chidambaram and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam during early days in the quest to become Nuclear Power, We would have mastered the technology even before China.

On the positive side, I really felt proud being born in Tamilnadu. I was thrilled to find that more that 85% of the scientist who took India to the Nuclear Haves Group were from Tamilnadu. Chidambaram, Kalam, Subramanian, Santhanam, Raghavan, Srinivasan and many others. I can tell with no doubt in my mind, If there was no Chidambaram there is no Nuclear India and If there was no Kalam, there is no missiles. I really admire them, as with so many constraints they achieved things which were only dreamt and achieved by economic superpowers. We also need to factor in that many of their achievements would have been gone unnoticed, due to "Top Secret" nature.

On Completion, I felt thrilled and jubilant about our success in Missile and Nuclear Technology. The book is worth a read, if you could tolerate the off context information that Author gives.

Next on Agenda(Kind of a Gamble) - "Kashmir" by Sumantra Bose


At 10:50 PM, October 01, 2005, Blogger Kaps said...

haven't heard of this before.....will check it out soon

At 11:49 PM, October 01, 2005, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Looks like a nice book. I'll check it out here. Do you know the credentials of the author? What was the reaction to this book in India?

Interesting to note about TN's contribution. Didn't know that.

I wish India the very best. A Nuclear Self sufficient India would do a lot of good..not only to herself but for the whole world.

I honestly believe in Nuclear use for constructive purposes. For example Power.

At 12:45 AM, October 02, 2005, Blogger Rags said...

Narayanan Sir - I believe that India now is being taken seriously due to the fact that we have mastered the Nuclear Bombs. Peaceful purposes is all fine, but we need the bombs to maintain peace.

Raj Chengappa is managing editor of India Today; the sub-continent’s largest circulated and most respected weekly newsmagazine. An award winning journalist of 27 years standing, he is one of India’s foremost writers on science, environment and security issues and has done over a hundred cover stories and exclusive reports on these subjects for the magazine.

He was a Stimson Fellow for Security Issues in Washington DC in 1995 and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1990-91.

This book is one of the best sellers.

At 2:58 AM, October 02, 2005, Blogger Eshwar said...

Dude, every book has a few pages of painfull reading. Otherwise how will the author fill up the pages !!??

Anyways, glad to hear you enjoyed the book.

At 1:54 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Rajmahendra said...


Good articles on books.

Plese visit my blog

The Argumentative Indian

This too a really great book. It talks every intch of the topic it speeks.


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