Disapproving demands by some scientists to turn ‘Mehrangir’, the iconic bungalow of Homi J Bhabha into a museum, a group of film actors, authors, socialites and journalists have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to heed them.
‘Mehrangir’, the sea-facing three-storey iconic bungalow of Homi J Bhabha, father of India’s atomic energy programme, here was auctioned on June 18 for Rs. 372 crore to a buyer whose identity was kept under wraps.
There have been persistent demands that the bungalow be turned into a museum. Scientists like CNR Rao have been making a strong pitch for turning “Mehrangir” into a museum by the government as a tribute to the “father of India’s atomic energy programme”.
Opposing the demand, around 80 eminent people wrote to the Prime Minister saying that while such appeals may be well intentioned, they were “completely misplaced” as they were based on only “partially” correct information.
The late Homi Bhabha, elder brother of Jamshed, was not born in Mehrangir in Malabar Hill but in Kenilworth on Peddar Road.
They said that this fact is commemorated by a plaque on the wall of the Kenilworth building and that Homi Bhabha spent only a few years of his life in Mehrangir, whereas Jamshed lived his entire life there till his death in 2006.
They said that in his will, Jamshed bequeathed the Mehrangir bungalow and its contents to the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), with the express wish that these should be auctioned in their entirety and the proceeds be used for the running and expansion of NCPA’s activities “We understand that you have been approached by a few people, including Prof C N Rao and Department of Atomic Energy employees, to intervene in the matter.
“…In demanding that Mehrangir be made into a Homi Bhabha museum, Prof Rao and others are disregarding not only the legacy of Jamshed Bhabha, but also ignoring the vital cultural activities of NCPA to which Dr Jamshed Bhabha dedicated his life…It belittles Jamshed Bhabha’s great contribution to the cultural life of the country,” they said in the letter.
Signatories included Anil Dharker, Alyque Padamsee, Aniruddha Bahal, Bina Ramani, Dalip Tahil, Dileep Padgaonkar, Keki Daruwala, Ramchandra Guha, Shobha De, Shyam Benegal and Vinod Mehta.