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10 Facts You Need To Know About Homi Bhabha

Homi Bhabha was elected as the 1st chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy

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Homi Bhabha was the man looking after the entire progress of research facility. Wikimedia Commons
Homi Bhabha was the man looking after the entire progress of research facility. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Homi Jehangir Bhabha was one the first scientists from India who researched on nuclear program
  • In 1944, Homi Bhabha started a new unit in Indian Institute of Science
  • Due to his contribution to India’s nuclear program, he earned the title of ‘Father of Indian Nuclear Programme’

NEW DELHI: After the First World War, the topic of nuclear research was very much into the discussion. Every country was trying their best to refine their knowledge about the nuclear program. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was one the first scientists from India who dived deep into this subject. Homi Bhabha stressed upon formulating a strategy to extract power from the country’s vast thorium reserves rather than it’s going out for uranium reserves. This observation of Homi Bhabha was very much contrary to many of the countries. But for India, it experiments thoroughly explained our scientists the importance of nuclear research and energy.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Homi Bhabha was in India for a yearly vacation. But, due to the outbreak of the war, he was able to leave India. While he was forced to stay in India, he was persuaded by C.V. Raman to become a reader in physics at the famous Indian Institute of Science located in Bengaluru. C.V. Raman was a Nobel Laureate in Physics.

Also Read: 10 must-know facts about Anand Mahindra

Out of curiosity, Homi Bhabha accepted the offer and started his work in Physics. During that very time, he came in direct contact with Congress Party and convinced the party leaders that India needs a nuclear program. One of the several Congress Leaders was Jawaharlal Nehru was who was convinced with what Bhabha had projected.

Homi Bhabha was very much against the use of nuclear power for the weapons production. Wikimedia Commons
Homi Bhabha was very much against the use of nuclear power for the weapons production. Wikimedia Commons

In 1944, Homi Bhabha started a new unit in Indian Institute of Science and it was the much renowned Cosmic Ray Research Institute. In the same year, he conveyed his message to the trustees of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for special facilities for working with cosmic rays; nuclear physics, high energy physics and other areas of physics. Homi Bhabha was successful in his endeavour and was granted financial help for establishing Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Finally n 1945, the research facility was established at Royal Yacht Club’s old buildings, Bombay. The Government of Bombay was also a co-sponsor of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

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Take a look at some of the facts related to Homi Bhabha.

1. Being a painter himself, Homi Bhabha was very much fascinated towards arts and culture. His this interest was accompanied by classical music and opera.
2. Homi Bhabha also worked with the great physicist, Niels Bohr and played a major role in the development of The Quantum Theory. He is been credited with identifying and naming the Meson Particle which was a significant mystery of that time.
3. In 1955, Homi Bhabha was elected as the 1st chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.
4. Homi Bhabha was the founder and director of leading research institutions of India. One was Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and another one was Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

Homi Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize in 1942 and a Padma Bhushan in 1954. Wikimedia Commons
Homi Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize in 1942 and a Padma Bhushan in 1954. Wikimedia Commons

5. Homi Bhabha was very much against the use of nuclear power for the weapons production and discouraged the nuclear armament. He advocated the utilization of atomic energy to alleviate poverty.

Also Read: 11 Must-Know Facts About Indian Air Force

6. Homi Bhabha researched with German Physicist Walter Heitler for the development of the Cascade Theory. This testing helped them to better understand cosmic radiation.
7. Homi Bhabha holds a graduate degree in mechanical engineering. After completing his studies, he started his research on the nuclear program.
8. Homi Bhabha was so much into his work and passion that he remained a bachelor throughout his life.
9. Homi Bhabha stayed in a sprawling colonial bungalow known as Mehrangir in Malabar Hills.
10. For his dedication and discoveries in the nuclear program, Homi Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize in 1942 and a Padma Bhushan in 1954. Later, he was also honoured with Fellow of the Royal Society.

Homi Bhabha was the founder and director of leading research institutions of India. Wikimedia Commons
Homi Bhabha was the founder and director of leading research institutions of India. Wikimedia Commons

11. Homi Bhabha is known for Indian Nuclear Program, Cascade Process of Cosmic Radiations Point Particles, Habha Scattering and Theoretical Prediction of Muon.
12. Due to Homi Bhabha’s contribution to India’s nuclear program, he earned the title of ‘Father of Indian Nuclear Programme’.

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Homi Bhabha’s death still remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of India. As per official records, he passed away in an aeroplane crash in Switzerland on January 24, 1966. But as per various reports, Homi Bhabha was poisoned by CIA because America at that point was threatened by the advancements made by him and thus assassinated him by shooting his plane down.

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Then It Was Emergency Now It Is Democracy

The Emergency happened 43 years ago and both, Mrs Gandhi and the Congress, lost power because of it in 1977

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Then It Was Emergency Now It Is Democracy
Then It Was Emergency Now It Is Democracy. Pixabay

An all-out war of words broke out last week between the BJP and the Congress on the 1975 Emergency. Observing June 26 as a ‘black day’, several BJP leaders targeted the Congress at events held across the country to highlight the Emergency’s excesses. Leading the charge with a sharp attack on the Congress was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Addressing BJP workers in Mumbai last Tuesday, the prime minster said the country still refers to June 26 as a ‘dark period during which every institution was subverted and an atmosphere of fear was created’.

Without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family, Modi said the Constitution was misused at the behest of one family. He further went on to say that the mentality of the family had not changed even now after 43 years of the Emergency. ‘Whenever the family feared loss of power, it keeps shouting that the country is in crisis,’ the prime minister added. Expectedly, the Congress hit back with equally sharp criticism of the Modi government, equating Modi to Aurangzeb. It alleged that the prime minister was even crueller than the Mughal emperor as Modi has “enslaved democracy” in the country for the past 49 months with an “undeclared emergency”.

The 21-month period from 1975 to 1977, when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi had declared Emergency, was indeed a dark chapter in India’s democratic history. This was the third national Emergency – the first one was in 1962 when China invaded India and the second was in 1971 during the war with Pakistan – and the only one to be declared citing the “internal disturbances”.  During the 1975 Emergency, opposition leaders were arrested, civil rights curbed, elections postponed, anti-government protests crushed and press censored. It shook India to its core as the freedom to liberty, dissent and express ceased to exist. All this is well-known and in public domain. Therefore, what was so special about the 43rd anniversary of Emergency that the BJP observed as ‘black day’?

Bringing back memories of the Emergency days was clearly aimed at striking at the Congress’s weak spot. It was also meant to neutralise Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s frequent ‘murder of democracy’ gibes directed at the Modi government. This was not entirely unexpected in a pre-election year; neither was the Congress’s equally sharp response by likening Modi to Aurangzeb. As 2019 general elections approach, not only the political exchange between the two parties will gather momentum, but over the next 10 months, election-driven rhetoric, name-calling, inane allegations and historical debates will increase. Reminding Congress of the Emergency is just the beginning.

Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
Congress- wikimedia commons

While terming the Emergency as an ‘aberration’, the Congress has never expressed any remorse about the dark chapter in its history or condemned it. Claiming that during Emergency, Mrs Gandhi targeted the rich, black marketers, hoarders and zamindars is no justification for curbing civil liberties and press freedom and neutralising the opposition. The hesitation to admit Emergency as a major mistake has denied the Congress an opportunity to reassert its commitment to democratic values, though it was the primary builder of democracy in India after independence.

The Emergency happened 43 years ago and both, Mrs Gandhi and the Congress, lost power because of it in 1977. Since then, the Congress has ruled at the Centre several times without resorting to emergency measures. On the contrary, it has shown its commitment to democratic order and liberal values far better than the current BJP-led government. The Emergency of 1975 and the violations of civil liberties and press freedom were all real. But its parallels can be drawn with the contemporary situation, which is marked by erosion of institutional independence and integrity, rising intolerance and increasing mob violence which stems from the ideological support of the ruling party.

The right-wing assaults on constitutional institution and individuals’ democratic rights are for real, though there is no Emergency in force in India today. While conventional opposition leaders and parties have the liberty to become more than conventional Opposition and there is also the rising wave of resistance to right-wing assaults on individual rights and institutions, it is also true that there are whiffs of Emergency sentiments in the air and the strains of the Emergency doctrine and pulsations of fear are quite obvious. The Congress is not entirely off the mark when it accuses the Modi government of ‘undeclared emergency’ as the freedom of the media, people’s freedom of expression and their right to live without fear have come under new kinds of threats.

There is no overt press censorship but the government has tried to muzzle and manipulate the media through various means. A section of the media has either caved in to the fear of administrative power or fallen for the lure of money-power. Apart from the media, there have been sustained attempts to weaken and misuse other constitutional and non-constitutional institutions, including the judiciary. Interestingly, all this is happening when the BJP is in power and questioning the Congress’s commitment to the principles and practice of democracy, while the BJP has diluted its own commitment to the philosophy of parliamentary democracy, liberal values and press freedom.

This is quite surprising because while the taint of Emergency continues to haunt the Congress, the BJP, despite its proud status of a party whose leaders were at the forefront of the struggle against the Emergency 43 years ago, is not deterred to misuse the levers of power against its political opponents, ‘difficult’ sections of the media, and independent or ‘inconvenient’ voices that question the government on various issues. With scant regard for critical debate and plurality of views under the current ruling dispensation, what we are seeing now is some kind of a role reversal. Mrs Gandhi subverted institutions to retain power. The BJP is trying to do the same by weakening the same institutions.

Also read: India sends Emergency Fuel Supplies to Sri Lanka

The Emergency should serve as a warning to political parties: threats to democracy and people’s constitutional rights – either directly or indirectly – create resentment and negative public opinion against government. The Emergency created a unity among opposition parties that never existed before and became the cause of Mrs Gandhi’s defeat. It is too early to say whether the Modi government’s attempts to misuse democratic institutions for his party’s narrow interests and the right wing attacks on institutions and rights of citizens will help create similar kind of opposition unity, which will determine the outcome of 2019 elections. (IANS)