Robert J Oppenheimer, the subject of Christopher Nolan’s latest film, was an American physicist who is called the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. With the release of the film, there is renewed interest in the life of the scientist. And a recently-released book claimed that Mr Oppenheimer was invited to immigrate to India and settle down here. The revelation was made by Bakhtiyar K Dadabhoy, who wrote a 723-page biography of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, which was released in April this year.
The book talks about the friendly relationship between Mr Oppenheimer and Mr Bhabha.
“In all probability, Bhabha met Oppenheimer after the war had ended and the two became good friends. This was hardly surprising since Oppenheimer like Bhabha was a highly cultured man. He had studied Sanskrit and was also conversant with Latin and Greek,” Mr Dadabhoy said in the biography ‘Homi J Bhabha: A Life‘, according to New Indian Express.
After the atomic bomb he created was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War, Mr Oppenheimer was shaken, according to the BBC. In the development phase, he had assuaged his colleagues’ ethical hesitations about developing the powerful bomb, saying they are only doing their job and they were not responsible for decisions about how the weapon should be used.
But once the deed was done, the physicist argued against the development of further weapons, especially the hydrogen bombs, which his work had paved the way for.
The changed stance resulted in Mr Oppenheimer being investigate by the US government in 1954 and having his security clearance stripped, and he could no longer get involved in policy decisions, as per the BBC.
There were also allegations that Mr Oppenheimer and his wife Katherine had ties to communism.
It was against this backdrop that he was offered Indian citizenship by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the insistence of Mr Bhabha, as per the book.
“When Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1954 it was presumably on Bhabha’s intervention that he was invited by Jawaharlal Nehru on more than one occasion to visit India, and even immigrate if he so wished,” Mr Dadabhoy said about the issue.
But the physicist declined, as per Times of India, because he felt it would not be proper for him to leave the US until he had been cleared of all the charges.
“He feared that permission would not only be refused, but also that it would only increase suspicion about him,” it quoted Mr Dadabhoy’s book as saying.
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