Ant And The Fire!
August 29 is the UN declared International Day against Nuclear Tests.
The Day is meant to galvanize the United Nations, Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world. Each year, the day has been observed by coordinating various activities throughout the world, such as symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, instruction in academic institutions, media broadcasts and others. Similar activities are planned for the 2013 observance.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated with great clarity: “A world free of nuclear weapons would be a global public good of the highest order. The International Day against Nuclear Tests, together with other events and actions, has fostered a global environment with more optimistic prospects towards a world free of nuclear weapons. There have been visible signs of progress on various fronts but, equally, challenges remain. It is the hope of the UN that one day all nuclear weapons will be eliminated. Until then, there is a need to observe International Day against Nuclear Tests as we work towards promoting peace and security world-wide.”
On this day, one person who is remembered most is our own Sunil Dutt, the eminent actor-director-producer but above all truly a man of peace. In 1988 Sunil Dutt walked on his peace march against the nuclear bomb from Nagasaki to Hiroshima in Japan. He stayed and lived off the roads for nearly three months from June to August, bathing in spas, sheltering for the night in temples and churches along the way, and ending it on August 6, the anniversary of the bomb, under the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima. En rout, he visited hospitals dedicated to those still affected by the bomb and many of these were children born to parents or grandparents who directly came under radiation in 1945.
“Hindsight and history have shown us the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons. Within the first two to four months of the bombing, the acute effects killed 166,000 innicent people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occuring on the first day. Over four decades after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6000 people were still dying every year in Japan due to the after effects of nuclear bombing”. Shouldn't we stop this madness of making nuclear bombs so that our future generations do not meet the same fate some unfortunate day such as the ones in August of 1945?”, he asked on the occasion.
When a reporter remarked that aren't we too insignificant a voice to end this madness of the most powerful, Sunil Dutt reminded him of the story of a small but spirited ant:
There was a wild fire in the jungle. All the animals were terrified and running for their lives. In this chaos an ant was repeatedly filling its mouth with water, carrying it to the edge of the fire, and splashing it in hope of dousing the fire. This exercise obviously appeared too futile to the other animals who were watching the ant in astonishment. Someone asked the ant, “What are you doing. Don't you know you are ill equipped to bring down the fire?” Tha ant replied, “On the day of reckoning, God will segregate us in three groups. The first group will comprise of those who lit the fire. God will give this group the appropriate punishment. The second group will comprise of those who saw the fire and did nothing. This group will be reprimanded by God. And the third would be a group who tried to douse it. This is the group that gets a hug from God for its effort. I'm doing my bit to find a spot in that third group.”