Chennai, August 09, 2016: On Aug 6th and 9th nuclear bombs were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which caused unparalleled mortality and suffering among the people. However this hastened the end of World War II since it was obvious that nuclear bombs are capable of human annihilation. This led to Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein prepare their famous manifesto whose critical message is “Remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way is open to a new paradise; if you cannot, there has before you the risk of universal death”.
Joseph Rotblat who was a member of the Manhattan team resigned and joined the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs started in 1957 by several Nobel laureates. The Pugwash Movement was mainly concerned with the end of nuclear weapons and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 along with Joseph Rotblat. The fact that there has been no use of nuclear weapons since the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a tribute to the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Joseph Rotblat set an example by resigning from his position in the Manhattan project as soon as he came to know that nuclear weapons may be used in Japan and probably Germany. This is one of the reasons why the Nobel Peace Prize went jointly to him and to Pugwash.
I served as the President of Pugwash Conferences from 2002-2007. I then enlarged the concept of threats to human survival by including HIV / AIDS and hunger among the other major killers. Thus, the Pugwash agenda was widened to cover key threats to human survival, although a nuclear weapon free world is still priority no.1. On the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of the Pugwash Movement, we should continue to be vigilant so that the threat of nuclear warfare does not become a possibility. At the same time we should promote peace and harmony and a better quality of life on this earth by applying the Pugwash formula to other major threats like hunger and diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola etc.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.