Bhabha through the eyes of his contemporaries

Dinesh C. Sharma


Homi Jehangir Bhabha is widely acclaimed as the builder of India’s atomic energy programme and a key architect of scientific institutions after independence, along with Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and PC Mahalanobis. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), founded by him in 1945, became the nucleus of a string of scientific institutions as well as the Department of Atomic Energy and public sector unit Electronics Corporation of India Limited and eventually the Department of Electronics. Bhabha’s legacy went beyond science and research. He was a great connoisseur of music, art, and architecture and had a great sense of aesthetics. His role in nurturing some of the greatest Indian artists, who formed the Progressive Artists Group, is legendary.

The sudden demise of the scientist in an air crash in 1966 brought an abrupt end to a glorious career. Bhabha was at his peak when this happened and had many plans in the making. SPK Gupta, a science journalist working with the Press Trust of India (PTI) then, decided to write a biography of Bhabha soon after his death. He started collecting material and interviewing people who knew Bhabha in different capacities. Over the next few years, in the 1970s, he interviewed over 60 scientists, administrators, and artists who knew Bhabha intimately…read more on NOPR