Deccan Chronicle

An authentic biography of a scientific pioneer

Deccan Chronicle.| Age Correspondent

Published on: February 26, 2022 | Updated on: February 27, 2022

Written by Biman Nath, the book aims to popularise science and the history science amongst lay readers

Cover Image of 'Homi J. Bhabha: A Renaissance Man among Scientists' by Biman Nath.

Cover Image of 'Homi J. Bhabha: A Renaissance Man among Scientists' by Biman Nath.

With Rocket Boys making waves on television and also drawing flak for historical inaccuracies, what better than to check with this comprehensive and compellingly written monograph of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the man and his times, that tells us the story of his research on cosmic rays and about his struggles to translate theories into experiments? It encapsulates his vision for India and his contribution in the way of setting up the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, later renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

Bhabha enjoyed the trust of both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and his collaborators and compatriots included such great names as C.V. Raman, Swarup Bhatnagar, M. Visvesvaraya and Vikram Sarabhai. Mentions of his friendship with the Sri Lankan lady Anil D’Silva and his turf war with the incomparable Meghnad Saha also spice up the narrative. While the early chapters of the slim volume are chockfull of information and anecdotes that draw a sketch of the type of mind that was Bhabha’s — a sleepless child, he enjoyed Mozart and Beethoven and once prepared with his cousin to jump off the balcony with an umbrella inspired by the parachutes of World War I — the later ones provide an inside look at the world of scientific research and how the nuts and bolts of institution building works at the administrative level.

Written by Biman Nath, astrophysicist at the Raman Research Institute, the book aims to popularise science and the history science amongst lay readers.

Homi J. Bhabha: A Renaissance Man among Scientists
By Biman Nath
Niyogi Books
pp. 171, Rs.299


In 2010, T.J. Joseph, a professor of Malayalam at Newman College, Kerala, framed an innocuous question for an internal examination that changed his life forever. It was a passage from an article by a well-known Malayalam filmmaker set out as a punctuation exercise, with the filmmaker’s name abbreviated as Muhammad.

Following a trumped-up charge of blasphemy, members of a radical Islamist organisation set upon him in public, viciously maiming him and chopping off his right hand. His memoir, told with amazing restraint and wry humour, is the moving tale of his life and family as they went through hell and beyond. Here's the extraordinary story of a man who survived dismemberment only to be betrayed by his own church. Let alone stand by him, it robbed him of his livelihood and isolated him from his community, driving Joseph's long-suffering wife to melancholia and eventual suicide.

Ably rendered into English by Nandakumar. K, Joseph’s story is one of fortitude, will power, forgiveness and compassion, told with rare wit that will make readers chuckle through their tears. This is a tale that will leave the reader seething, weeping and smiling by turns. Kudos to Prof. Joseph for bouncing back with this invaluable book.

A Thousand Cuts: An Innocent Question And Deadly Answers

By T.J. Joseph

Penguin Vintage

pp. 312, Rs.599

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