On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb wiped out most of the city of Hiroshima, killing over 50,000 thousand  people that day, and as many later as a result of exposure to the radiation and other effects. This spring, I stood on the soil of the city that was reborn from the ashes like a Phoenix.

The Atomic Bomb Dome was located almost directly underneath the explosion. It was not destroyed completely and the remnant of the building remains as a vivid reminder of what happened in 1945. The people inside it then succumbed to death instantly as  building was ablaze with fire on that fatal day. Whatever remained of the structure has been preserved so that the World doesn’t forget the sufferings caused by nuclear weapons and war.

As I walked through the Hiroshima Peace Museum, I was horrified by the images of people shorn of their skin, almost indistinguishable from what remained of their clothes and corpses lying around. They will be forever burned in my brain. The Hall of Remembrance was a tribute to all the fallen, and had the names of every single casualty. Each one of these people had a family, a life. The casualties were innumerable. Young children and infants who never got to live a whole life, those unfortunate people who managed to survive the blast but were killed years later due to ill effects of the radiation.

The Children’s Peace Monument was by far the most touching part of the museum. It was inspired by the life of a girl who developed leukaemia for life because she was exposed to radiation at the age of two. The monument contains several colourful artworks done by young Japanese children, as with a simple message, a wish for peace. A wish to stay alive and not live a life of misery with an untreatable disease. A wish to go to school and grow up like any regular child. A wish for all those in the world who are casualties of different wars to live a normal life. A wish to protect anyone else from this terrible fate. A wish for world peace

As I read the documents on the project displayed in the museum, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that the architects of this project did thorough research and still went ahead with it. The thought of destroying innocent lives for something as petty as revenge, even in a war, was something I just wasn’t able to understand. In fact, before the real atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 49 practice bombs were dropped on different locations killing or injuring more than 1600 people each. It wasn’t enough to cause one-time destruction; several smaller hits were some reason justified in a war. Not to mention the real atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, three days after Hiroshima, even after they’d seen the destruction it had caused.

The thought that struck me the most was the fact that this city had been reduced to almost nothing, yet it had bounced back stronger than ever. A Japanese politician, Kazumi Matsui had once said, “Humans destroyed Hiroshima, but humans also rebuilt it.” The undamaged parts of the city were back on their feet just a few days after the bombing. The entire city was rebuilt from the rubble even after a typhoon had swept the city, just after the bombing. Their efficiency is astounding.

The city of Hiroshima doesn’t give off the vibes of a once dead city. To someone with absolutely no knowledge of the bombing, it would seem the same as any other Japanese city. It is now a beautiful city, and is surprisingly modern.

Yet an eternal reminder of the devastation caused by nuclear bombs remains…..

by Niharika Palep , Age 14

87 thoughts on “HIROSHIMA

  1. Dear Niku
    At such a young age u have great insight. Wish instead of bombing other countries to oblivion the so called developed nations had ur empathy & consideration. Very touching words.. All r not as determined as the Japanese to rise from ashes.
    Thanks for sharing with us, loved reading it, keep on writing.
    God bless you sweetheart.


  2. Dear niharika,
    A brilliant and touching account of mankind’s first engineered disaster,an unsurpassed travesty etched deep into the psyche of human history,well written,well thought and well presented…..natgeo and BBC is looking for your kinds ,keep up the penmanship,sharp eye and the sensitivity.
    Don’t ever let go of these.You are a rarity.


  3. Niharika, your blog brings to the forefront the two realities of human nature. The first reality, depicted by the total destruction by the atom bomb is the ruthless nature of humans. The second is human endurance and ability to spring back to life after a calamity of this big and unimaginable proportions. You have penned your impressions of Hiroshima very beautifully and in a well researched manner. Keep it up girl! We’d love to read more from you!


  4. Extremely touching script! Your penned thoughts actually made me imagine that disastrous day and the after effects felt so deeply. Very thoughtfully put down. Keep it up dear!


  5. What a beautiful recapitulation of and expression of the events and feelings generated after visiting the monument!
    You have a gift of penning your thoughts candidly.
    You make us proud. Keep it up Niku


  6. “Fighting for peace…” what an amazing write up, Niharika. Lara, Riya & Nikki are in complete awe as well. To be able to describe your day along with your feelings using words, is not everyone’s forte. Can’t wait to read many more of your memoirs. Cheers!


  7. Very well written Niharika. So informative and descriptive. And you have expressed in the best way what you observed there n that is very interesting n touching.


  8. Thank you everyone for all your appreciation and encouragement. Niharika has read all of them and is inspired to certainly continue to write more !


  9. Very interesting article and very well written. My compliments Niharika. We must remember every day the horrors of war and the great gift of peace. To avoid repeating the same tragic mistakes in the future. keep writing Niharika


  10. Niharika, beautifully written and what’s even more amazing is your ability to process , understand and conclude and share your view , is way beyond your years and so very articulate ! So impressive and so so so proud of you !!! Keep writing dear … look forward to more of these !! Lots of love and best wishes !


  11. What an anrticulate and thoughtful piece of writing, Niharika! You painted a very real picture of the city, also of the horrors of the destruction caused by the war and the bomb. Keep writing !


  12. This young writer leads the reader into her mind through her heart. When a 14 year old ‘wraps her head’ round thoughts like this, then surely all is not over with the world. She leaves behind a hope for continuity with her kind of understanding . Keep going Niharika.


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