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The world could have been a more peaceful place…

January 4, 2012

The world could have been so different if Sir CP (as he is known in Travancore and the rest of Kerala, and not the technically more correct Sir Ramaswamy), Diwan of the princely state, was able to persuade Albert Einstein to head the newly started University of Travancore. It was 1937, and Einstein was already at Princeton for several years. He was not welcome in Nazi Germany being a Jew and the establishment looked askance at him in the US because of his well known pacifist leanings. He could have travelled to God’s Own Country (though nobody knew about the divine nature of the land till the adman researched it out a few years ago). After all, Jews were living in this land, er, a few hundred thousand metres away from the seat of the new University, peacefully without any pogroms, for two millennia. And the people of Travancore had been “pacified” by the East India Company’s arms more than a hundred years earlier after Velu Thampi’s revolt. The state army had been disbanded and only a ceremonial vestige remained.

Nuclear fission of uranium had already been realised by Fermi, but he never knew it because he “did not know enough chemistry”. Meitner and Frisch discovered the fact only in 1938 by which time Einstein would be ensconced from all sorts of Nazis, Fascisti and warmongers in his tropical paradise in the low rolling hills of Trivandrum. He would not have signed the Szilard letter to Roosevelt and the Manhattan project would not have got started and the atom bomb would not have been made. He would be playing Swati Thirunal’s ragas on his violin against the backdrop of the peaceful waves of the Arabian Sea.

Germany was any way doomed to be carpet-bombed by the British and their more efficient and resource-rich American allies. Notwithstanding Kamikaze fighters, Japan would be bombarded flat by the warships of the US from the sea and their bombers from the air, and her armies in Asia blasted out by the cannon fodder provided by the British colonies. All with conventional explosives, and the bamboos of South East Asia.

No one would have heard of doctrines of nuclear “deterrence” or  mutual assured destruction. Nor dirty bombs in the hands of terrorists. In fact, not afraid of a US with its atom bombs, Stalin might well have annexed the whole of Asia and the Middle East to his Gulag paradise and there would have been no terrorists.

Kipling would have been happy that all was well with the world. And there would be peace for all men of good will…

Tailpiece: Since nuclear chain reaction would not have been achieved at all, the people of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Jaitapur and Koodamkulam would have slept sound.


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  1. Murali permalink

    Wow, all this because a dyslexic decided to forego the Malabar hospitality and decided to settle down in Princeton to discuss obscure paradoxes with even more obscure Rosen and Podolsky.

  2. Induchoodan permalink

    It is an interesting thought. But could Einstein have stayed long enough here ? In any case, hats off to Sir C.P.. Only he in India had the courage and vision to do something like that.

  3. Setty permalink


    You are thinking about that visionary CP and I am thinking about Nehru.

    Thinking about the turmoil in the Middle East with millions on the boil with no clear future in their minds except possibly reading about how they are viewed in the West !

    I am not sure if Nehru’s India would have been as mute as today’s India is.May be I am wrong as Nehru did nothing as Hungary burned in 1956.If our poliliticians are not as spineless and brain-dead as they are ( as they are here too ) ,they will have brought the diverse culture of India into play to bring ALL conflicting parties to the conference table to talk,bring the temperature down,explain if such an imposible country like India with its million Gods / cuisines can live together,although with constant skirmishes,so they can too.Normalcy there brings oil prices down to bring cheer to millions in China and India.With USA cutting oil imports because of shale oil,with EU stagnant and Asia in slow mood,oil prices should be crashing instead of booming,don’t you think.This is all the well laid-out plot of the OPEC shadow mafia and the Big Oil.

    What do you think,SK ?

    Setty,your 1970s pal !

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