War and Peace (Jang Aur Aman) is a 2002 Indian documentary film directed by Anand Patwardhan. The film covers the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons tests in 1998, as well as the nationalist rhetoric that accompanied these tests. It also explores the ill-effects of the Indian test on the surrounding population and the reactions to the test among the government and the public. The latter part of the film also covers the perception of nuclear weapons in Japan and the United States. Upon the film’s completion, the Indian censor board demanded that Patwardhan make 21 cuts before it could be released, including cutting all speeches by politicians. Patwardhan refused and took the matter to court; the Bombay high court ruled in his favor a year later, and the film was released without any cuts.
The documentary begins with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by the religious extremist Nathuram Godse in 1948.
The film then describes the years after Indian independence. In a voice-over, Patwardhan describes several events, including the United States’ use of the nuclear bomb, the nuclear arms race during the cold war, and India’s first nuclear test in 1974.
Patwardhan summarises them in the following manner: “The collapse of socialism saw a revival of bigotry. America had now become our role model.”
The film then examines the growing nuclear nationalism in India. It covers the Hindu-nationalist rhetoric of the Bharatiya Janata Party that surrounded Indian nuclear weapons tests in 1998.
The film covers the “Global Peace March” that occurred following the nuclear tests at Pokhran, and the opposition it faced from activists of the Sangh Parivar. It also covers the rise of religious extremism in both India and Pakistan.
Patwardhan travels to Pakistan, where he interviews several people, including school-girls participating in a debate on the use of the bomb.
In the second half of the documentary, Patwardhan travels to Japan to interview the hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.
The film then moves to the United States, where Patwardhan interviews curators of the Smithsonian Institution. The curators describe how the United States Congress blocked an attempt to create an exhibition on the American use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the effects of nuclear weapons.
A postscript to the film shows the September 11 attacks, and the response of the US.
Production & Filming Details
- Director: Anand Patwardhan.
- Cinematography: Anand Patwardhan.
- Editors: Anand Patwardhan, Monica Wahi, and Sanjiv Shah.
- Release Date: 2002 (India).
- Running time: 135 minutes.
- Country: India.
- Language: English and Hindi.