May 21, 2013

Dr. T. S. Soundram, founder of Gandhigram Trust

EMBRACING a range of educational, health, economic and social activities, the cluster of institutions at Gandhigram, in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, is outstanding proof of Dr. T. S. Soundram's committed and selfless service to the underprivileged. Along with her husband, the late G. Ramachandran, she founded the Gandhigram Trust in 1947 .The Gandhigram Rural Institute became a deemed university in 1976 and the other centres which reach out to the needy, promote Khadi and village industries and help the rural community become self sustaining, are also vibrant today.

Dr. T. S. Soundram
 [August 18, 1904 – October 21, 1984]

To mark the centenary celebrations of Dr. T. S. Soundram, at the Cancer Institute, Chennai, eminent speakers from various fields payed tribute to this remarkable personality — a social worker who never lost sight of her calling as a doctor, one who was born into one of the wealthiest families of the South but identified herself completely with the poor. Eminent persons from various walks of life payed tribute to this remarkable personality — Dr. T. S. Soundram, founder of Gandhigram Trust, on the occasion of her centenary celebrations.  Mr. R. Venkataraman, former President of India presided over the function. A postal cover to honour Dr. Soundram was released on the occasion.

Like most women of her time, Soundram was married when she was just a child. But she was fortunate to have a husband who was enlightened and liberal. Soundararajan a doctor, treated the plague affected in Madurai district in 1925 and succumbed to the disease when he was only in his twenties. But he wished his wife should fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor and also remarry.

Encouraged by her progressive parents — the late Sundaram Iyengar who founded the TVS industrial house and his wife Lakshmi Ammal — Soundram acquitted herself brilliantly at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. It was in Delhi that she met Ramachandran. [She had the courage to break social conventions and barriers of caste through her marriage with him.] It was also here that she made friends with Dr. Susheela Nayyar and through her met the Mahatma. Dr. Soundram was privileged to wear a saree made of yarn spun by Kasturba and a mangalsutra dipped in turmeric by the Mahatma himself for her wedding. She began her medical practice on her return to Madras.
In 1942, the couple involved themselves with fervour in the Quit India movement. The Mahatma was so impressed with her commitment that he appointed her the representative of the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust in South India and directed that a centre be started in a remote rural area.

Dr. Soundram was passionate in promoting the welfare of women and children and so the Avvai Ashram came into being in Sivasailam in Tirunelveli district. Family welfare and community development were other areas of thrust. Elected as Member of the Legislative Assembly twice, she became a Member of Parliament in 1962.

Dr. Soundram was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1962. The same year she was picked by Jawaharlal Nehru to be the Union Deputy Minister for Education and she distinguished herself by introducing compulsory primary education and the NSS.

Mrs. Prema Srinivasan of the TVS family says, ``Dr. Soundram was an extraorodinary woman. Very affectionate and compassionate, she was a true Gandhian. Apart from social service she adopted five children and brought them up as her own, got them married and settled. She was like a mother to my husband." [The late Srinivasan was Dr. Soundram's younger brother]

Adds Mrs. Sushila Padmanabhan, social worker and niece of Dr. Soundram: ``Nobody could be as encouraging and instil self-confidence as Dr. Soundram could. She taught me to believe in myself and in my abilities. She always professed faith in investment, not just in time but in people. Never one to procrastinate, she would reply promptly to anybody who wrote to her. And she was truly selfless."

Well-known social worker Sarojini Varadappan recalls how Dr. Soundram would travel by road, then by boat and bullock cart to reach Kovalam to attend to deliveries.
``Dr. Soundram was very good at playing the veena. She would also design the khadi sarees she wore and gift similar sarees to my mother and Indira Gandhi. Even when confined to a wheel chair, she attended the function we had organised for her 80th birthday in 1984." [She passed away a few months later].

Dr. R. Kousalya Devi, Managing trustee, GandhigramTrust, also reiterates Dr. Soundram's simplicity. ``At any point of time she would possess only three sets of clothes — one to wear, one for a spare and the third for the wash. She had three gurus — at first her mother, later Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi and then Gandhiji. He told her that she should not restrict herself only to health care and she more than lived up to his expectations. Her heart was in Gandhigram."

[Courtesy: The Hindu]

For more info on Gandhigram Trust, you may log on to the following link:

Mar 3, 2012

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti [ May 12, 1895 – February 17, 1986] or J. Krishnamurti  was an Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects. His subject matter included: psychological revolution, the nature of the mind, meditation, human relationships, and bringing about positive change in society.  He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

1895 - 1986
Krishnamurti was born into a Telugu Brahmin family in what was then colonial India. In early adolescence, he had a chance encounter with prominent occulist and high-ranking theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras (now Chennai ].  He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Besant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a "vehicle" for an expected World Teacher. 

As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the worldwide organization [the Order of the Star] established to support it. He claimed allegiance to no nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals. He authored many books, among them The First and Last Freedom, The Only Revolution, and Krishnamuti's Notebook.  Many of his talks and discussions have been published. His last public talk was in Madras, India, in January 1986, a month before his death at his home in Ojai, California.
His supporters, working through non-profit foundations in India, Great Britian and the United States, oversee several independent schools based on his views on education. They continue to transcribe and distribute his thousands of talks, group and individual discussions, and writings by use of a variety of media formats and languages.

Jiddu Krishnamurti during one of His Talks
Jiddu Krishnamurti, whose life and teachings spanned the greater part of the 20th Century, is regarded by many as one who has had the most profound impact on human consciousness in modern times.

Sage, philosopher and thinker, he illumined the lives of millions the world over – intellectuals and laymen, young and old. Breaking away from all organized religions and denying his role as a Guru, he spelt out his mission: to set man absolutely and unconditionally free.

He travelled round the world till the age of 90, giving talks, writing, holding discussions.
He talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday life; the problems of living in modern society, the individual’s search for security, and the need for human beings to free themselves from from their inner burdens of violence, fear and sorrow.

Jiddu Krishnamurti with
Annie Besant - 1926

Born on 11th May 1895 as the eighth child of a pious couple in the small town of Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh, Krishnamurti was adopted at the age of 14 by Annie Besant, the President of the Theosophical Society, and was brought up and groomed to be the World Teacher.

It was the Adyar Branch of Theosophy, and more specifically Leadbeater, who in 1909 discovered the young Krishnamurti [then fourteen years old], and made the unfortunate claim that he was to be the body of the World Teacher, the Christ. 

The Order of the Star in the East was founded in 1911, and was a great success, with badges, newspapers, and heraldry, to welcome in the new Messiah. Mrs. Besant was very enthusiastic about the whole thing, but Leadbeater eventually lost interest in his dis-covery, concentrating more on his Liberal Catholic Church, which he and a certain James Wedgwood [who was secretary of the Society in England] promulgated in Australia. Finally, the maturing Krishnamurti could stand no more of the adulation and expectation heaped upon him,  

The Star of the East Debacle

In 1929, however, he renounced that role and dissolved The Order of the Star- a large world-wide organization that had been built up around him to fulfill that mission  and repudated all religious sects and organisations. From then on he taught his own personal philosophy, and in spite all of his anti-guru and anit-authority statements still found himself the guru to many devoted followers. This action was the culmination of the deep spiritual awakening undergone by him and his insight that religious organizations cannot lead human beings to truth.  

The dissolving of the Order of the Star in the East, together with new revelations concerning Leadbeater's paedophilia, had a disastrous effect on the Theosophical Society, which shrunk from 45,000 members in 1928 to 30,800 in 1933 [Gregory Tillett, The Elder Brother, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1982] and has never really recovered since.  

Yet in spite of everything, it was this Adyar Theosophical form of metaphysics that had a strong formative influence on other important esoteric writers and schools, such as Rudolph Steiner [Anthroposophy], Alice Bailey [Arcane School], White Eagle Lodge [a Spiritualist group], Paul Twitchell [Eckankar], Robert and Earlyne Chaney [Astara Foundation], Mark and Elizabeth Prophet [Summit Lighthouse], and innumerable others. These Theosophical teachings and concepts have also had a strong influence on certain forms of Spiritualism, Occultism, and Neo-Paganism, and also on many Channeled teachings [probably via the Medium's subconscious mind].

Imparting to his audiences/individuals of the
need for radical change in Mankind 

On His Teachings

A comprehensive repository of Krishnamurti's teachings are available online at The teachings are available in text, audio and video formats.

Jan 5, 2011

A Living Legend and a Social Worker

"ஒளிக்கை நீட்டி, வாழ்க்கை காட்டிய வசந்த நாள் நீங்கள் பிறந்த நாள் !
பிறந்த நாள் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்" .
Today , January 5th, being Shri C. V. Jayaraman's  82nd  Birthday, I would like to dedicate this posting to him for his great Humanitarian Voluntary Service to mankind.  May his Services to mankind continue for many more years to come.  
A Living Legend & Social Worker
More on this Great Soul......a Living Legend......

Social worker Shri C.V.Jayaraman of Adayar, is a pious and an ardent devotee of Kanchi Paramacharyar.  He helped the long felt need of Adayarities in and around Venkarathnam Nagar for a temple to get fulfilled.  

He is a peerless leader who has a remarkable ability to inspire people to work together”.  He is a highly motivated person and an incurable optimist with an undying and unquenchable optimism. His watchword is ‘never say die’ and lives so”.  Shri Jayaraman's optimism Is Infectious” “He is an Outstanding Achiever”.'...winning the hearts of the people all around him. 
One of the many notable incidents in his life is...
When the Corporation of Chennai was removing road -side temples, Shri Jayaraman came to its rescue and recovered one such idol of Lord Vinayaga from Venkatratnam Nagar.
Besides, he installed the structure in a shelter in front of his house at  Venkatratnam Nagar, under the guidance of the Paramacharyar.  Moreover, poojas were performed to the idol in a small scale from 1970 to 1974 by the purohit  Narayana Sastrigal.
The Adayar Coperative Society under the presidentship of Shri Balaji Singh, acquired a Corporation land for construction of a temple in exchange of surplus land with corporation hospital.
Then remained the stupendous task of construction of the temple.  This was duly carried out by [late] Shri P.Sankaranarayanan, a retired police officer and nephew of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh in 1974 and the idol was installed in the newly constructed premises.  
Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Sakatapuram, presided over the spiritual association formed for the temple.  The first President was former District Judge of Cochin,  Shri. C.V. Narayana Iyer, and Shri Jayaraman planted the Aswatha Sapling in 1978 in the place where the idol was originally installed.
The second Kumbabishekam of the temple was held in 1991.  Then , in 2005, the temple was renovated and Kumbabhishekam was conducted.

Another of his Noble Act to society is....

Shri Jayaraman collects unknown, unclaimed bodies from the streets, old age homes, hearsay, or from other places and  performs their last rites. He has been doing this for the past so many, many  years. To this date, such incidents are countless to his credit.

In fact, all of those  people[bodies] are strangers to him.  They are unclaimed bodies with no one to give them a last farewell.
He  takes all such unknown bodies to the cemetery, and gives them a decent burial.  They are buried because the names or religion of the dead are unknown. If the deceased are Hindu and from an old age home, he gives them a proper cremation according to Hindu rites.  He feels calm and blissful, with a sense of happiness and satisfaction of having bidden farewell with dignity to some unknown souls.
Being an ardent devotee of Paramachariar,  Shri Jayaraman has to a great extent been influenced by the acts and teachings of the Great Sageof Kanchi.  
"He is of the opinion that a dead man should be given a decent farewell irrespective of the caste or religion the person belongs to. When the atma [soul] leaves the body, it should be given a proper farewell. This is the belief of all Hindus." 
He has been blessed by the Paramacharya on his expressing his desire to continue to cremate the abandoned bodies and has asked him to continue with this good service to mankind as long as he is able to do this good deed. What a wonderful social worker he is!

Shri Jayaraman served as a volunteer in Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore.  He also took part in the centenary celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in 1936, Sri Saradevi in 1953, and Sri Swamy Vivekananda in 1964.  Being an ardent follower of Sri Ramana Maharishi, he was of course very fortunate to have been closely associated with Shri Ramana Maharishi for some time
In the Sri OmKarananda Janananodya Alayam, Chennai

He is the founder member of Sri Vaishnavi Shrine, Thirumullaivoyal, Ambattur, Chennai, Sri Karpagavinayagar Temple, Raja Annamalaipuram and Sri Om Karananda Janananodya Alayam, Kodambakkam and Sri Ayyappa Temple, Raja Annamalipuram. He has performed "Anna Dhannams" in many of these ashrams and is rendering yoeman service.  
He played a key role in the development of Venkatarathnam Nagar since 1968 with good roads, water supply and a large playround.  He stands a fitting living example of a social worker to be emulated by one and all.  
He is a peerless leader who has a remarkable ability to inspire people to work together”.  He is a highly motivated person and an incurable optimist with undying and unquenchable optimism. His watchword is ‘never say die’ and lives so”.  Shri Jayaraman's optimism Is Infectious” “He is an Outstanding Achiever”.' I would say that he is a walking example of positive thinking", which is ofcourse an inspiration for one and all who come in contact with this great humanitarian.
A man with a great sense of responsibility towards his people, he is always filled to the brim with initiative and dedication.  Shri Jayaraman is innovative and charitable and his purpose in life is to make a difference with his self-less humanitarian gesture.
He has received numerous significant awards for his outstanding social services to mankind. He was recently awarded the  " Seva Ratna Award " for his exemplary voluntary service activities.  
According to me " He is a Living God to one and all" .  The enormous success of his social services is probably due to his single minded determination and unswerving focus.  He always says that "We are all human beings and I believe that we should live in dignity".  
Many News papers have honoured him as outstanding Social Worker of the century and described him as a legend.
Incidentally he happens to be  my very fond Uncle[Chithappa] and am really proud and fortunate to have such a person in our family  who can emancipate and bring forth so much compassion for  extending his help to the needy - be it for the rich or poor,  however and whatever the condition or situatiion may be. 
Jawaharlal Nehru said, ‘success often comes to people who dare and act; it seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences’. Shri Jayaraman is one such individual who dared to make a difference to the needy thorugh his love and affection in offering his support and help to the people”.
He has the ability to bring out the Gandhi in every one” through his voluntary services.  According to him, one can reach to the masses with his or her social services with the saying ...Think Globally, Act Locally and Do Domestically. He reaches out to the poor, the needy, the fortunate and the unfortunate and aslo to the previleged and the under-preveliged too.   
“Many call him a Visionary. “ For all those of who have come in contact with him, regard him a motivator. He has proved that motivation can move mountains and people too. He is always pregnant with ideas” on how to extend his services to mankind.  He is of course a role model for all communities now, be it all volunteers including  Auto drivers, Clerks and slum dwellers and also to those belonging to all age groups and social strata.  
With the necesary support, guidance and recognition from all walks of life, Shri C V Jayaraman's Social Service Yatra is bound to continue for many more years to come.  
People desiring to get to know of this great , big-hearted, Self-less Social Worker , may get in touch with him.  
He may be contacted at:
"SevaRatna" Shri C.V. Jayaraman,  
New No78, Old No.48, Venkatratnam Nagar, 
Adayar, Chennai 600 020.
TamilNadu. India.  

Phone: 044 - 24415871


Dec 7, 2010

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee 
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was one of the great novelists of nineteenth century Bengal. He was a literary pioneer and nationalist who had an exceptional ability to communicate with and arouse the masses.
Bankim Chandra was born on 26th June 1838 in the village of Kathalpara, near Naihati, District 24 Parganas, West Bengal. He belonged to a distinguished family. Bankim was the yongest of three sons of Jadabchandra Chatterjee and Durgadebi. His father was a Deputy Collector.

Even as a child Bankim showed great courage and virtuosity and never had any fear of the 'gora sahebs'- [the British]. He was always brilliant in his studies and started writing poetry at a young age. Bankim studied law from the Presidency College in Calcutta and was one of the first two graduates of the Calcutta University in 1858. He was immediately appointed- Deputy Magistrate by the British colonial government - a job he grudgingly held for three decades.

A Literary Scholar
However, Bankim continued his literary pursuits. He chose fiction as his theme and the first novel by him to appear in print was Rajmohan's Wife. It was written in English. His first Bengali novel wasDurgeshnandini, and was published in 1865. The next novel Kapalkundala[1866] is one of the best romances written by Chatterjee.
However Bankim Chandra wanted to stimulate the intellect of the Bengali speaking people through his works and bringing about a cultural revival. With this end in view he brought out and edited the monthlyBangadarshan in 1872.

Bamkim was also a nationalist to the core. His goal was the revival of national pride in protest against British rule. In 1882, Anandamath was published. Anandamath became his most famous as well as his most political novel and a source of inspiration for the patriots fighting for the freedom of our country from the British rule. The chant of "Vande Mataram", was coined in this novel and it soon became a patriotic hymn that aroused the entire nation to fight for their freedom. Vande Mataram was later adopted by the Indian government as the nation's National Song.

Throughout his life, Bankim wrote on social and political issues facing the society and the country at that time like widow remarriage, education, lack of intellectual development and freedom. He believed that by communicating with the masses he could unite them against the British.
The British Government honoured him with the title "Ray Bahadur" in 1892. Bankim Chandra passed away on 8th April 1894.

Bankim Chandra -Author of Vande Mataram
National Song of India

Composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in Sanskrit, the song Vande Mataram was primarily conceived to serve as a motivation to the people in their freedom struggle. Though it was penned down in 1876, the first publication emerged in the year 1882 in 'Anandamatha' amidst doubts of a ban by the British Raj. Sharing an equal status with Jana-gana-mana [National Anthem of India], the song was first sung in the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. Vande Mataram served as a voice against British rule during the freedom struggle. Initially, people with patriotic fervor flocked the streets of Calcutta and other metropolis, shouting the slogan 'Vande Mataram' or 'Hail to the Mother [land]!' 

Terrified by the impending danger, British banned the expression of song and imprisoned freedom fighters, who disobeyed the command. Vande Mataram initially served as the National Anthem of India, but later Jana-gana-mana was adopted as the anthem of independent India. This was because the Muslim sect in India felt that the song was biased, as it depicted the nation as 'Ma Durga', a Hindu Goddess. Though Vande Mataram aptly illustrated the pre-independence national zeal and passion, it was espoused as the National Song of India. In the following lines, the wordings are provided for the National Song of India and its English translation.

National Song Of India

Vande maataraM
sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM
SasyashyaamalaaM maataram ||

Shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM
pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM
suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM
sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM ||

Koti koti kantha kalakalaninaada karaale
koti koti bhujai.rdhR^itakharakaravaale
abalaa keno maa eto bale
bahubaladhaariNiiM namaami taariNiiM
ripudalavaariNiiM maataraM ||

Tumi vidyaa tumi dharma
tumi hR^idi tumi marma
tvaM hi praaNaaH shariire

Baahute tumi maa shakti
hR^idaye tumi maa bhakti
tomaara i pratimaa gaDi
mandire mandire ||

TvaM hi durgaa dashapraharaNadhaariNii
kamalaa kamaladala vihaariNii
vaaNii vidyaadaayinii namaami tvaaM

Namaami kamalaaM amalaaM atulaaM
SujalaaM suphalaaM maataraM ||

ShyaamalaaM saralaaM susmitaaM bhuushhitaaM
DharaNiiM bharaNiiM maataraM |"

English Translation

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nervs the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!




  • Once Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, playing on the meaning of Bankim [Bent A Little], asked him what it was that had bent him. Chatterjee jokingly replied that it was the kick from the Englishman's shoe.
  • After the Vishabriksha [The Poison Tree] was published in 1873,The Times of London observed:
Have you read the Poison Tree
Of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee?

  • When Bipin Chandra Pal decided to start a patriotic journal in August 1906, he named it Bande Mataram, after Chatterjee's song..Lala Lajpat Rai also published a journal of the same name.
  • Bibliography
    • Durgeshnandini [March 1865]
    • Kapalkundala [1866]
    • Mrinalini [1869]
    • Vishabriksha [The Poison Tree, 1873]
    • Indira [1873, revised 1893]
    • Jugalanguriya [1874]
    • Radharani [1876, enlarged 189])
    • Chandrasekhar [1877]
    • Kamalakanter Daptar [From the Desk of Kamlakanta, 1875]
    • Rajani[1877]
    • Krishnakanter Uil [Krishnakanta's Will, 1878]
    • Rajsimha [1882]
    • Devi Chaudhurani [1884]
    • Kamalakanta [1885]
    • Sitaram [March 188])
    • Muchiram Gurer Jivancharita [The Life of Muchiram Gur]

    #Anandamath  is a Bengali novel, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee  and published in 1882. Set in the background of the Sannyasi Rebellion  in the late 18th century, it is considered one of the most important novels in the history of Bengali and Indian literature. Its importance is heightened by the fact that it became synonymous with the struggle for Indian independence from the British Empire.  The novel was banned by the British. The ban was lifted later by the Government of India after independence.
    The national song of India, Vande Mataram  was originally published in this novel.
    However, the value of the novel is in its patriotic nature, and being a significant voice amidst the oppression that inspired struggle for independence in the generations to come. Many of the lines of the novel became immortal and have been quoted by scores of authors, even in present times.
    Film Adaptation
    This was later adapted into a film, Anand Math, in 1952, directed by Hemen Gupta, starring Bharat Bhushan, Pradeep Kumar and Geeta Bali.  Musi was by Hemant Kumar, who gave a version of the Vande Mataram, which became a cult success.

    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
    Some of the Religious Commentaries are:
    • Krishna Charitra [Life of Krishna, 1886]
    • Dharmatattva [Principles of Religion, 1888]
    • Devatattva [Principles of Divinity, Published Posthumously]
    • Srimadvagavat Gita, a Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita [1902 - Published Posthumously]
    Poetry Collections : Lalita O Manas [1858]
    More about Bankim Chandra Chatterjee:
    • Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wanted to bring about a cultural revival of Bengal by stimulating the intellect of the Bengali speaking people through literary campaign. With this end in view he brought out monthly magazine called Bangadarshan in 1872.
    • Bankim Chatterjee wasalso a superb story-teller, and a master of romance. No Bengali writer before or since has enjoyed such spontaneous and universal popularity as Chatterjee. His novels have been translated in almost all the major languages of India

Dec 6, 2010

Homi Jehangir Bhabha

Born: October 30, 1909
Died: January 24, 1966


Founded  The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; Was the first chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission; Was chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955.


Dr. Homi Jahangir Bhabha

Homi Bhabha, whose full name was Homi Jehangir Bhabha, was a famous Indian atomic scientist. In Independent India, Homi Jehangir Bhabha, with the support of Jawaharlal Nehru, laid the foundation of a scientific establishment and was responsible for the creation of two premier institutions, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Homi Bhabha was the first chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909, in Bombay in a rich Parsi family. After graduating from Elphinstone College and the Royal Institute of Science in Bombay, he went to Cambridge University. He received his doctorate in 1934. During this period he worked with Niels Bohr on the studies that led to quantum theory. Homi Jehnagir Bhabha also worked with Walter Heitler on the cascade theory of electron showers, which was of great importance for the understanding of cosmic radiation. He did significant work in identifying the meson.

Due to outbreak of Second World War, Homi Jehangir Bhabha, returned to India in 1939. He set up the Cosmic Ray Research Unit at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under C. V. Raman in 1939. With the help of J.R.D. Tata, he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Mumbai. In 1945, he became director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. 

Apart from being a great scientist, Homi Bhabha, was also a skilled administrator. After independence he received the blessings of Jawaharlal Nehru for peaceful development of atomic energy. He established the Atomic Energy Commission of India in 1948. Under his guidance Indian scientists worked on the development of atomic energy, and the first atomic reactor in Asia went into operation at Trombay, near Bombay, in 1956.

Dr.Homi Bhabha with Nehruji-1952
[Excellent rapport: Dr. Homi Bhabha with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the inauguration of the Rare Earths factory in Mumbai on December 12, 1952. Indira Gandhi and her two children are also seen in the picture]

Homi Bhabha was chairman of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva in 1955. He advocated international control of nuclear energy and the outlawing of atomic bombs by all countries. He wanted nuclear energy to be used for alleviating poverty and misery of people. 

Homi Bhabha received many honorary degrees from Indian and foreign universities and was a member of numerous scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. He also authored many articles on quantum theory and cosmic rays. Homi Bhabha died in an aeroplane crash in Switzerland on January 24, 1966.  

Death and Legacy  

He died when Air India Flight 101 crashed near Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966.  Many possible theories have been advanced for the aircrash, including a conspiracy theory in which CIA is involved in order to paralyze Indian Nuclear Weapon Programme.  

Dr. Homi J Bhabha addressing a meeting at the Atomic Energy Establishment at Trombay on the death of late Lal Bahadur Shashtri].
The Atomic Energy Centre in Trombay was renamed as the "Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour.  In addition to being a famous scientist, Bhabha was also a painter and a classical music and opera enthusiast, besides being an amateur botanist.  

After his death, the Atomic Energy Establishment was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in his honour. Bhabha also encouraged research in Electronics,  Space, Science, Radio, Astronomy and Microbiology.  The famed radio telescope in Ooty, India, was his initiative, and it became a reality in 1970.  Bhabha has since become known as the "Father of India's Atomic Energy Programme".  The Homi Bhabha Fellowship Council has been giving the Homi Bhabha Fellowships since 1967.  Other noted institutions in his name are the Homi Bhabha National Institute, an Indian deemed University and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India.  

Remembering Homi Bhabha:

“In the very recent past there lived a person amongst many of us here, who in all moments of time available to him, thought of science on ideas which revealed the structure of matter, its grand form and beauty, and last but not the least, how he could make India which had just then become free from foreign control, a powerful country which derived its strength from the knowledge of science”
— Prof. Devendra Lal [excerpt from "Remembering Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, F. R. S"] 

Homi Bhabha inaugurates the 1st atomic reactor-1956
For further Reading:
  • 2.  A Masterful Spirit—Homi Bhabha by Indira Chowdhury and Ananya Dasgupta; Published by Penguin - Pages 240/- [Price Rs 1299/-]
The above Book  is profusely illustrated with rare photographs of Bhabha, his family, his great acquaintances, his sketches of eminent scientists, his paintings and correspondence. Also there are delightful doodles by him.

Homi Bhabha's Leadership

An Eminent Scientist
Dr. Bhabha's leadership of the atomic energy programme spanned 22 years. It began in 1944 with a letter he wrote to the Sir Dorabji Trust proposing the establishment of an institute devoted to fundamental research. He continued his work with passion and commitment right till his untimely death in an air accident in 1966.

Since the setting up of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in December 1945, India has come a long way. This has been possible because of the strong foundations laid by Dr Bhabha during his lifetime.

In August 1955, Dr. Homi Bhabha said "For the full industrialization of the under-developed countries, for the continuation of our civilization and its further development, atomic energy is not merely an aid, it is an absolute necessity. The acquisition by man of the knowledge of how to release and use atomic energy must be recognized as the third epoch of human history."

TIFR: A brief history

JRD Tata
Institutions of higher learning in a society are distinct indicators of its intellectual traditions. With strong traditions of learning, seats of higher education have played a crucial role in the history of India. Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha conceived an institute devoted to basic science, one that would provide the atmosphere for fundamental research to flourish while contributing to the nascent project of nation building. Dr. Bhabha described his vision in a letter to Shri J. R. D. Tata in 1943, and then, with the latter's encouragement, made a formal proposal to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The soundness and the need for such a centre of excellence was immediately perceived by the Industry and the Government. Support came from the Trust and from the Government of Bombay Province. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research [TIFR] started functioning on June 1, 1945. Dr. Bhabha was also encouraged by the University of Bombay which recognised the Institute for awarding Master and Doctoral degrees.

TIFR Endowment Fund [TEF]

To promote flexible funding of new initiatives at the Institute in research activities at the forefront of Science, Technology and Mathematics, there is a pressing need to create a substantial corpus.  The TIFR Council of Management approved the establishment of a general purpose Endowment Fund for this purpose in 1997.  Such a Fund could serve to promote extended visits of young and distinguished scientists in different institutions in the country and abroad for collaborative research.  The Endowment fund collected will also be able to strengthen the other activities of promoting academic excellence at the Institute which includes financial support in the form of augmented research scholarships and additional funding to exceptionally talented and highly motivated young students and scientists who would wish to join the Institute for their doctoral and post doctoral research.

Sir Dorarbji Tata Trust made a firm beginning towards the creation of Endowment Fund by donating rupees one crore towards Chair Professorships and Archives, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations [1995-96] of the Institute.

Dr. Homi Bhabha spent his whole life in pursuit of this grand vision. He inspired a generation of scientists with his bold dreams and ambitions for the nation and his selfless service. He was indeed a great scientific pioneer and a great builder of modern India. 
Science management
Bhabha will also be remembered for his innovations in science management. He modified the administrative practices of a colonial form of government, in which most of the power rested with the officialdom. He utilised the help of retired ICS officers, and borrowed officers of the IAS cadre to help him deal with the government. But the final say was his. There are several instances of how he overruled suggestions and markings of those from the pure administrative service.

Dr Homi Bhabha -Scientist, Social Reformer& Diplomat

The  Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education is another example of how basic scientists could expand their creative talent to areas of social concern. This part of the social responsibility was unique in Bhabha. In this respect he was not only a scientific administrator but also a social reformer and a diplomat

About Dr. Homi Bhabha
  • Click here for Memories of Dr. Homi Bhabha.
  • Click here for some of the Scientific Contributions by Dr. Homi Bhabha.
  • Click here for some more photographs of Dr. Homi Bhabha. 


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