Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-s5ss2 Total loading time: 0.452 Render date: 2021-02-27T07:30:57.220Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

The search for a scientific temper: nuclear technology and the ambivalence of India's postcolonial modernity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 July 2010

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between India's nuclear programme and its postcolonial identity. In particular, I argue that making sense of the anomalies and contradictions of India's nuclear behaviour, such as the gap of two decades between its nuclear tests, its promotion of nuclear disarmament and its failure to sign non-proliferation and test-ban treaties requires an understanding of the racially gendered construction of India's postcolonial modernity and the central roles given to science and morality within it. I suggest that India's postcolonial identity is anchored in anticolonial discourses that are deeply ambivalent toward what was viewed as a Western modernity that could provide material betterment but was also potentially destructive. What was desired was a better modernity that took into account what was believed to be Indian civilisation's greater propensity toward ethical and moral conduct. India's nuclear policies, such as its pursuit of nuclear technology and its promotion of disarmament cannot be seen in isolation from the successes and failures of this broader project of fashioning an ethical modernity.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 Government of India, ‘The Indian Memorial Submitted to the International Court of Justice on Status of Nuclear Weapons in International Law’, Seminar 468 (1998), pp. 7274.Google Scholar

2 Singh, Manmohan, ‘Suo-motu Statement on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation with the US’, Hindu (2006)Google Scholar , {http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/nic/suomotuu.htm} accessed on 2 May 2006.

3 Jayant Prasad, ‘Statement by Mr Jayant Prasad, Permanent Representative of India, at the Conference on Disarmament on nuclear disarmament’, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India (2006), {http://www.mea.gov.in} accessed on 10 May 2006.

4 Malik, J. Mohan, ‘India Goes Nuclear: Rationale, Benefits, Cost, and Implications’, Contemporary South Asia, 20 (1998)Google Scholar ; Mohan, C. Raja, Crossing the Rubicon: The Making of India's New Foreign Policy (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2003).Google Scholar

5 Vanaik, Achin, ‘Making India Strong: The BJP-Led Government's Foreign Policy Perspectives’, South Asia, 25 (2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 See Darby, Phillip (ed.), Postcolonizing the International: Working to Change the Way We Are (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006)Google Scholar ; Chowdhry, Geeta and Nair, Sheila (eds), Power, Postcolonialism and International Relations: Reading Race, Gender and Class (London: Routledge, 2002).Google Scholar

7 See Jepperson, Ron, Wendt, Alexander, and Katzenstein, Peter, ‘Norms, Identity and Culture in National Security’, in Katzenstein, Peter (ed.), The Culture of National Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).Google Scholar

8 Abraham, Itty, The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy and the Postcolonial State (London & New York: Zed Books, 1998)Google Scholar ; Biswas, Shampa, ‘“Nuclear Apartheid” as Political Position: Race as a Postcolonial Resource?’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 26:4 (2001), pp. 485521CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Muppidi, Himadeep, The Politics of the Global (Minneapolis: University of MinnesotaPress, 2004)Google Scholar ; Varadarajan, Latha, ‘Constructivism, Identity and Neoliberal (in)Security’, Review of International Studies, 30:3 (2004), pp. 319341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9 Chatterjee, Partha, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).Google Scholar

10 CNN, ‘Indian nuclear test sparks concerns of arms race’, CNN (12 May 1998), {http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9805/12/india.nuclear.on/} accessed 27 October 2005.

11 Nandy, Ashis, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983).Google Scholar

12 Mill, James, The History of British India, vol. 2, 4th edition (London: James Madden, 1848), pp. 465, 517.Google Scholar

13 Mill, The History of British India, p. 150.

14 Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Critical and Historical Essays, Contributed to the Edinburgh Review (London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1870), pp. 517, 611.Google Scholar

15 Macaulay, Critical and Historical Essays, Contributed to the Edinburgh Review, p. 611.

16 Risley, Herbert Hope, The People of India (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1999), pp. 275276.Google Scholar

17 Bhabha, Homi K., ‘Signs Taken for Wonders: Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under a Tree Outside Delhi, May 1817’, Critical Inquiry, 12:1 (1985), pp. 144165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18 Nandy, The Intimate Enemy, p. 32.

19 Ibid., p. 52.

20 Ibid., p. 94; Nandy, The Intimate Enemy, pp. 8–11.

21 Ibid., p. 89.

22 Krishnaswamy, Effeminism, p. 45.

23 Ibid, p. 19.

24 Nandy, The Intimate Enemy, p. 48.

25 Gandhi, M. K., The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. 49 (New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1999), p. 57.Google Scholar (hereafter CWMG).

26 Ibid., p. 9.

27 Ibid.

28 Fox, Richard G., ‘Gandhi and Feminized Nationalism in India’, in Williams, Brackette F. (ed.), Women Out of Place: The Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality (New York and London: Routledge, 1996), p. 42.Google Scholar

29 Gandhi, M. K., Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Press, 1938), p. 39.Google Scholar

30 Gandhi, M. K., CWMG, vol. 73, p. 63Google Scholar ; Bilgrami, Akeel, ‘Gandhi, the Philosopher’, Economic and Political Weekly, 38:26 (2003), p. 4164.Google Scholar

31 Gandhi, M. K., ‘Science and Civilization’, in Iyer, Raghavan (ed.) The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 310.Google Scholar

32 Nandy, Ashis, Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 136.Google Scholar

33 Nandy, Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias, pp. 137–8, 60.

34 M. K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, pp. 93–5.

35 Gandhi, M. K., CWMG, vol. 49, p. 92.Google Scholar

36 Nehru, Jawaharlal, The Discovery of India (Calcutta: The Signet Press, 1946), p. 512.Google Scholar

37 Nehru, Jawaharlal, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, vol. 28, 2nd series (New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, 2001), p. 31.Google Scholar

38 Nehru, The Discovery of India, p. 564.

39 Nehru, Jawaharlal, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, vol. 14, 1st series (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1981), p. 556.Google Scholar

40 Nehru, The Discovery of India, p. 511.

41 Ibid., p. 511.

42 Ibid., p. 512.

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid., pp. 514–5.

45 Nehru, Jawaharlal, Jawaharlal Nehru: An Autobiography (New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, 1980), p. 429.Google Scholar

46 Nehru, The Discovery of India, p. 563.

47 Ibid., p. 50.

48 Ibid., p. 95.

49 Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, p. 432.

50 Nehru, The Discovery of India, p. 563.

51 Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, p. 432.

52 Nehru, , Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, 32:2(New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, 2003), p. 40.Google Scholar

53 Nehru, Jawaharlal, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, vol. 1, 2nd series (New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, 1984), pp. 377378.Google Scholar

54 Nehru, , Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, vol. 32, p. 42.Google Scholar

55 Ibid., p. 40.

56 Weber, Cynthia, ‘Performative States’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 27:1 (1998), pp. 7795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

57 Nehru, Jawaharlal, India's Foreign Policy: Selected Speeches, September 1946–April 1961 (Delhi: The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1961), p. 11.Google Scholar

58 Government of India, India and Disarmament: An Anthology of Selected Writings and Speeches (New Delhi: External Publicity Division, 1988), pp. 75, 110.Google Scholar

59 Ibid., pp. 60–1.

60 Government of India, Disarmament: India's Initiatives (New Delhi: External Publicity Division, 1988).Google Scholar

61 Nehru, , Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, vol. 32, p. 204.Google Scholar

62 Government of India, ‘Statement by the Indian Atomic Energy Commission on Nuclear Explosion, May 18, 1974’, Documents on Disarmament 1974 (Washington D.C.: US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1974), p. 146.Google Scholar

63 Mirchandani, India's Nuclear Dilemma, p. 48.

64 Abraham, The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb, p. 125.

65 Husain, Azim, ‘Statement by the Indian Representative (Husain) to the First Committee of the General Assembly: Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, May 14, 1968’, Documents on Disarmament, 1968 (Washington D.C.: US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1968), p. 332.Google Scholar

66 Trivedi, V. C., ‘Statement by the Indian Representative (Trivedi) to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee: Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, May 23’, Documents on Disarmament, 1967 (Washington D.C.: US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1967), p. 234.Google Scholar

67 Government of India, ‘Statement by the Indian Atomic Energy Commission on Nuclear Explosion, May 18, 1974’, p. 146.

68 Singh, Swaran, ‘Statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister (Singh) on Nuclear Explosion, May 21, 1974’, Documents on Disarmament, 1974 (Washington D.C.: US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1974), p. 147.Google Scholar

69 Documents on Disarmament 1974, pp. 150–5; Mishra, B. C., ‘Statement by the Indian Representative (Mishra) to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament [Extract]: Nuclear Explosion, May 23, 1974’, Documents on Disarmament, 1974, pp. 171172.Google Scholar

70 ‘India Not “Nuclear Weapons” Country: Mrs Gandhi's Interview With US Newsmagazine’, Indian and Foreign Review, 11:17 (1974), p. 7.

71 ‘India Not “Nuclear Weapons” Country’, p. 7.

72 ‘India's Peaceful Nuclear Experiment’, Indian and Foreign Review, 11:17 (1974), p. 8.

73 Ramana, M. V., ‘La Trahison des Clercs: Scientists and India's Nuclear Bomb’, in Ramana, M. V. and Reddy, C. Rammanohar (eds), Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2003), p. 225.Google Scholar

74 Nandy, Ashis, ‘Between Two Gandhis: Psychopolitical Aspects of the Nuclearization of India’, Asian Survey, 14:11 (1974), p. 966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

75 Ramanna, Raja, Years of Pilgrimage (New Delhi: Viking, 1991), p. 89.Google Scholar

76 Weber, ‘Performative States’, pp. 92–3.

77 Abraham, The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb, pp. 164–5.

78 Ibid., p. 103.

79 Vajpayee, Atal Bihari, ‘Shri Vajpayee's Address to General Assembly Session’, Foreign Affairs Record, XXIII:10 (1977), p. 185Google Scholar ; Vajpayee, Atal Bihari, ‘Shri Vajpayee's Speech at Seminar on “Continuity and Change in India's Foreign Policy”’, Foreign Affairs Record, XXIV:5 (1978), p. 210.Google Scholar

80 Perkovich, George, India's Nuclear Bomb: The Impact on Global Proliferation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 242243.Google Scholar

81 Ibid., p. 243.

82 Subrahmanyam, K., ‘India's Nuclear Policy–1964–98’, in Singh, Jasjit (ed.), Nuclear India (New Delhi: Knowledge World, 1998).Google Scholar

83 Government of India, India and Disarmament, p. 282.

84 Subrahmanyam, K., ‘Narasimha Rao and the Bomb’, Strategic Analysis, 28:4 (2004), p. 593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

85 Ghose, Arundhati, ‘Negotiating the CTBT: India's Security Concerns and Nuclear Disarmament’, Journal of International Affairs, 51:1 (1997), p. 239.Google Scholar

86 Cortright, David and Mattoo, Amitabh, ‘Public Opinion and Nuclear Weapons Policy in India’, Asian Survey, 36:6 (1996), p. 550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

87 Perkovich, India's Nuclear Bomb, p. 379.

88 Abraham, Itty, ‘Notes Toward a Global Nuclear History’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39:46 (2004), p. 4999.Google Scholar

89 Savarkar, V. D., Hindu Rashtra Darshan: A Collection of the Presidential Speeches delivered from the Hindu Mahasabha Platform (Bombay: Laxman Ganesh Khare, 1949), pp. 302, 201.Google Scholar

90 Quoted in Corbridge, Stuart, ‘“The Militarization of All Hindudom”? The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bomb, and the Political Spaces of Hindu Nationalism’, Economy and Society, 28:2 (1999), p. 227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

91 Ibid.

92 Banerjee, Sikata, ‘Armed Masculinity, Hindu Nationalism and Female Political Participation in India: Heroic Mothers, Chaste Wives and Celibate Warriors’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 8:1 (2006), p. 67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

93 Quoted in van der Veer, Peter, Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), p. 96.Google Scholar

94 Quoted in Nandy, Ashis, At The Edge of Psychology: Essays in Politics and Culture (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 83.Google Scholar

95 Ibid., p. 91.

96 Ibid.

97 Savarkar, V. D., Hindutva (New Delhi: The Central Hindu Yuvak Sabha, 1938), p. 146.Google Scholar

98 Jaswant Singh, ‘What Constitutes National Security in a Changing World Order?: India's Strategic Thought’, Centre for the Advanced Study of India (1 June 1998), {http://www.sas.upenn.edu/casi/} accessed on 31 August 2005.

99 Ibid.

100 Ibid.

101 Ibid.

102 Corbridge, ‘“The Militarization of All Hindudom”? The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bomb, and the Political Spaces of Hindu Nationalism’, p. 241.

103 Sukumar Muralidharan and John Cherian, ‘The BJP's Bombs’, Frontline (23 May–05 June 1998), {http://www.flonnet.com} accessed on 20 April 2006.

104 Ibid.

105 ‘Nuclear Anxiety; Indian's Letter to Clinton On the Nuclear Testing’, New York Times (13 May 1998), p. 14.

106 Government of India, ‘Press Release issued in New Delhi on UN Security Council Resolution on India's nuclear tests’, Embassy of India (15 May 1998), {http://www.indianembassy.org/pic/PR_1998/May98/prmay1598.htm,1998} accessed on 20 May 2006.

107 Vajpayee, Atal Bihari, ‘“We have shown them that we mean business”’, India Today, 25 May 1998Google Scholar , <http://www.india-today.com/itoday/25051998/vajint.html> accessed 30 October 2005.

108 Ibid.

109 Ibid.

110 Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ‘Suo Motu Statement by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Indian Parliament on May 27, 1998’, Government of India (1998), {http://www.indianembassy.org/pic/pm-parliament.htm} accessed on 30 August 2005.

111 Government of India, ‘Paper laid on the table of the House on “Evolution of India's Nuclear Policy”’, May 27, 1998’, Government of India (1998), {www.indianembassy.org/pic/nuclearpolicy.htm}, accessed on 25 May 2006.

112 Vajpayee, ‘Suo Motu Statement by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Indian Parliament on May 27, 1998’.

113 Government of India, ‘Paper laid on the table of the House on “Evolution of India's Nuclear Policy”’.

114 Government of India, ‘Official Spokesman's statement on Pakistan's allegation’, Government of India, (1998), {http://www.indianembassy.org/pic/PR_1998/May98/prmay28(2)98.htm} accessed 25 May 2006.

115 Government of US and Government of India, ‘Joint Statement Between President George W. Bus and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’, The White House (2005), {http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/07/print/20050718–6.html} accessed on 24 April 2007.

116 National Security Advisory Board, ‘Draft Report of National Security Advisory Board on Indian Nuclear Doctrine’, Government of India (1999), {http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/CTBT/nuclear_doctrine_aug_17_1999.html} accessed on 25 May 2006.

117 ‘Accord will help end nuclear apartheid’, Hindu (16 July 2008), {http://www.thehindu.com/2008/07/16/stories/2008071655501200.htm} accessed on 10 March 2010.

118 Bidwai, Praful, ‘Sanctifying atomic apartheid’, Frontline (30 June-12 August 2005)Google Scholar , {http://www.flonnet.com/fl2216/stories/20050812003410500.htm} accessed on 25 May 2006.

119 Vishvjit P. Singh, ‘Statement by Mr Vishvjit P. Singh, Member of the Indian delegation at the thematic debate on nuclear weapons in the first committee of the UN General Assembly on October 16, 2008’, UNGA (16 October 2008), {www.un.int/india/2008/ind1475.pdf} accessed on 13 March 2009.

120 Shultz, George, Perry, William, Kissinger, Henry, and Nunn, Sam, ‘A World Free of Nuclear Weapons’, Wall Street journal (4 January 2007), p. A15Google Scholar ; ‘Toward a Nuclear-Free World’, Wall Street Journal (15 January 2008), p. A13; Barack Obama, Remarks by President Barack Obama, Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic' (5 April 2005), {http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered/} accessed on 13 March 2010.

121 ‘India For Global Deal on “No-First-Use” of Nukes’, Outlook (22 February 2010), {http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?675077} accessed on 16 March 2010.

122 Interview, Fareed Zakaria GPS (29 November 2009), {http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0911/29/fzgps.01.html} accessed on 13 March 2010.

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 212 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The search for a scientific temper: nuclear technology and the ambivalence of India's postcolonial modernity
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The search for a scientific temper: nuclear technology and the ambivalence of India's postcolonial modernity
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The search for a scientific temper: nuclear technology and the ambivalence of India's postcolonial modernity
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *