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HomeGlobalJawaharlal Nehru offered Indian citizenship to scientist Robert Oppenheimer, sent 'secret letter'

Jawaharlal Nehru offered Indian citizenship to scientist Robert Oppenheimer, sent ‘secret letter’

According to the New Indian Express, Dadabhoy said in his biography ‘Homi J Bhabha: A Life’, “It is likely that Bhabha met Oppenheimer after the war was over and the two became good friends. This was not surprising, because Oppenheimer, like Bhabha, was a civilized man. He had studied Sanskrit, as well as Latin and Greek.”

According to the BBC, after the atomic bombs he made were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, Oppenheimer was shocked. Later, he responded to his colleagues’ hesitation about developing a more powerful bomb by saying that he was only doing his job and was not responsible for making decisions about how the weapon should be used.

But once the work was done, the physicist argued against the development of further weapons, especially hydrogen bombs.

According to the BBC, the changed stance resulted in Oppenheimer being investigated by the US government in 1954 and stripped of his security clearance, leaving him unable to be involved in policy decisions. There were also allegations that Oppenheimer and his wife Catherine had links to communism.

According to the book, during this period, on Bhabha’s request, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered him Indian citizenship.

Dadabhai said of the issue, “When Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1954, possibly at Bhabha’s intervention, Jawaharlal Nehru invited him to visit India on more than one occasion, and even emigrate if he wished.”

But according to the Times of India, the physicist refused, as he felt it would not be appropriate for him to leave the US until he was cleared of all charges.

Dadabhai was quoted in the book as saying, “He feared that not only would permission be denied, but that it would raise suspicion about him.”

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