Atomic Superheroes and ‘Item Bombs’
Smeeta Mishra
ATOMIC MUMBAI: LIVING WITH THE RADIANCE OF A THOUSAND SUNS by Raminder Kaur Routledge, New Delhi, 2013, 304 pp., 895
August 2013, volume 37, No 8

Raminder Kaur’s book primarily traces the history of nuclear power in India from 1945 which was marked by the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki until 2008 when India signed a treaty with the United States for increased nuclear cooperation. The author performs this majestic feat by steering away from a security and policy studies framework and adopting a cultural studies perspective instead, while using a combination of archival, ethnographic and textual analysis methods for her research.

As the title of the book suggests, the author focuses on a lesser known aspect of Mumbai—its atomic history and culture. Few know that Mumbai is a city of ‘firsts’ in the field of nuclear industry. The country’s first ever school of nuclear research, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, is located in Mumbai. The Department of Atomic Energy is also located in the Maximum City. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, reports to this department and manages several nuclear reactors located in various parts of the country.

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