सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Science fiction with social twist: Pressing button on Hiroshima day to save human race

By Rathin Das* 

There was nothing unusual about Mitun's birthday bash. He turned 15 today, having born in the centenary year of mankind's first use of destructive power of the atom. His father had told him several times that exactly a hundred years before Mitun's birth, human race had tasted the essence of mega deaths by dropping the first atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was the significance of the year 2045 A D when he was born.
As the guests left one by one, he did not care about the mankind’s horrible deeds of a century before his birth. Instead, he concentrated on the packets left on the table by his near and dear ones, and even by those not so dear to him but befriended his father just to get their bills passed on time, if possible even before the contract work has started.
All the birthday gifts were of routine nature. The same old ‘click-and-throw’ cameras, the micro recorders, the computronics game books, the lunar gravity suit or the Neptune gravity suit. None aroused Mitun’s curiousity as he was tired of all such items for the last few years. He had been receiving all these gifts on his birthdays or even otherwise, whenever a business associate of his father visited their home. He took some quick snaps with the camera, ejected the prints, slipped them into his cupboard and threw the camera into the kitchen gutter connected to the municipal pipeline for waste disposal and bio-chemical recycling. He knows that in another 48 hours, these articles would be turned into some other usable item and enter yet another home or office.
Likewise, Mitun tried out the other presents too. He put on the lunar gravity suit, jumped around like a rabbit for some time, got bored with it and hung the suit in the old almirah where all other gravity suits received earlier were already gathering dust. The Neptune gravity suit also met with the same fate, but the only difference was that the old wooden cot, a memento of his great grandfather, broke into pieces when he jumped over it unmindful that his body weight had increased manifold.
Minutes later, their neighbour from the ground floor flat rushed up and complained that plasters from their ceiling are peeling off. Mitun's father was apologetic, but at the same time pointed to the peeled off plaster from their own celling. Only then the ground floor’s gentleman realised that it was he who had presented a Uranus gravity suit to the girl on second floor.
Mitun's father attempted an honourable patch-up and said that it was not the fault of any of them. These flats were constructed by the Indian National Housing Board 63 years ago, he argued. Way back in 1997, even the lunar gravity suit was in conceptual stage and thus the Housing Board officials could not be expected to imagine that scientists would design all other planetary gravity modules in the next few decades. Mitun's father also took the opportunity to reiterate his oft repeated argument that the government should either ban the manufacture of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune gravity modules or provide alternative accommodation to the people living in Housing Board flats built towards the close of the twentieth century.
This remark led to an instant verbal duel as the neighbour commented that he was aware of Mitun's father having many shares in the Lunolight Toys Limited, the company which has the sole manufacturing licence for the lunar gravity suits. Mitun's father retorted by saying that he also knew that all the family fortunes of his ground floor neighbour could be attributed to his grandfather being the Housing Minister in 1997 when hundreds of people had died as newly occupied Housing Board flats had collapsed.
Rathin Das
Mitun did not bother to establish a correlation between house collapses and the fortunes of housing minister's grandson. He discovered one interesting item among the presents he had received. It was the only new thing he saw in this year's birthday harvest. This was probably the latest invention of the tele-electronic industry. He unpacked it hurriedly, went through the manual and gathered that it was something which could recall the television transmissions of the past on pressing of the year, month, day and time of the desired event.
“This is exciting, Dad”. Mitun couldn't control his joy and immediately started fiddling with it. The first event he wanted to view on his televiewer was the hoary incidents he has read about in history. Mitun pointed the device towards his televiewer on top corner of the room and pressed the number buttons. He pressed 1945, followed by 08, the month of August, and then pressed the date 06. But he was disappointed. Nothing came on the screen of his televiewer. It was only full of dots.
Mitun ran to his father and complained that the faulty device must have been presented by one of his business associates now displeased with him for some reason. Both father and son came to the televiewer room. The father told his son "Now tell me the year, month and date you want to view”. Mitun said “the event you have talked so much about, dropping of the atom bomb exactly a hundred years before my birth". Father pressed the keys, one by one, 1.9.4.5 0.8 0.6. But nothing came on the screen. He too was puzzled, as much as his son. He went through the manual repeatedly but could not make out what was wrong.
Scratching his head for some time did not yield any result. Then, suddenly, he realised that there might not have been any telecast of the Hiroshima bombing incident. He is not even sure whether humans had been able to invent such things like televiewing 115 years ago. He immediately tried with the year of Mitun's birth. He went on pressing 2.0.4.5 0.8 0.6 and the screen came to life immediately. A news reader said “A hundred years ago on this day, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Under our weekly feature This Day Last Century we will beam to you a special report on the dropping of mankind's first atom bomb.”
Mitun was elated to see the programmes of the year of his birth. He snatched the device from his father's hand and pressed the fast forward key to bring the schedule to 3 p.m slot, around the time he was born on 6th August, 2045.
It is the time for afternoon news. The newscaster read “Hundreds of thousand people from all continents gathered at the memorial at Hiroshima today and took a pledge not to use science for destruction of the human race. The Hiroshima Bombing Centenary Committee, comprising the heads of Governments of all the United Nations countries were specially flown down to the town for today's special memorial service. Meanwhile the Government of India today reiterated its stand that it will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unless the 123 of 198 UN members, which already have nuclear weapons, disband them forthwith. This was India's 473rd rejection of the NPT proposal during the last seventy years."
Mitun put off his televiewer. He pressed some other year and date into it. The televiewer started again “the foreign dignitary also visited the samadhi of our last Prime Minister who was cruelly assassinated five years ago. Later in the evening, he will be the chief guest at the national awards ceremony for outstanding contributions in various fields.
Like past many years, this year too no one has been named for the Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civilian award. It may be recalled that no one has received the Bharat Ratna during the last 23 years since it was made mandatory for the recipient to have made some positive contribution towards the eradication of spitting paan in public places and stopping the use of loud-speakers for agitational and religious purposes. Such a drastic condition could be made mandatory for all probable Bharat Ratna awardees as the ruling party then enjoyed absolute majority in both houses of Parliament as well as in more than two-thirds of all the state assemblies.”
Mitun got disgusted and put aside his device. Dejected, he remarked "then no one will get Bharat Ratna for another century”.
---
*Senior journalist based in Ahmedabad. This story was written before mobile phone was invented. It forms part of the book Aspersions: Between the Lines by the author

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

दाँव उल्टा पड़ा: राहुल गांधी के रूप में हम एक साधारण इंसान को नायक होते देख रहे हैं

-  अमिता नीरव  संघ औऱ बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी पर जो सोचकर ‘इन्वेस्ट’ किया था, उसके परिणाम गंभीर रूप से नुकसानदेह आ रहे हैं। ये थोड़ी अटपटी बात लग सकती है, लेकिन सोचिएगा कि संघ और बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी को जितना गंभीरता से लिया, उनकी संभावनाओं को लेकर वे जितना श्योर थे, उतना तो खुद राहुल और कांग्रेस भी नहीं थी।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

બે પુખ્ત યુવક-યુવતીન જીવનસાથી બનવા નક્કી કરે તો સત્તાધારીઓના પેટમાં કેમ ગોળો ચઢે છે?

- બિપિન શ્રોફ   “લવ જેહાદ”! કેવો લાગ્યો આ  શબ્દ?  શું મારુ કે તમારું નાકનું ટેરવું તો ચઢી ગયું  નથી ને? લખનાર અને વાંચનાર બે માંથી કોઈના મા-બાપની કોઈ ગરાશ તો લૂંટાઈ ગઈ નથી ને ? એ તો જેને વીતે તેને ખબર પડે? પરોપ દેશે પાંડિત્યમ! કેમ? ખરી વાત ને? 

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।