Here's Why Jawaharlal Nehru Had Invited Oppenheimer to Relocate to India

J Robert Oppenheimer had reportedly sent a "secret letter" to India's then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

2 min read
Hindi Female

J Robert Oppenheimer, the subject of Christopher Nolan's biographical drama, was a US physicist who is also known as the 'father of the atomic bomb'. The film has certainly rekindled people's interest in the scientist's life.

Recently, a newly-released book claims how the US physicist once tried to communicate with Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, and how he was sent an invitation to relocate to India to settle here.


According to BBC, Oppenheimer was devastated after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. Oppenheimer often discussed the guilt he felt and devoted the rest of his life to promoting nuclear power regulation. He also refused to take part in the creation of the hydrogen bomb and advised the administration to use extreme caution. Nolan's film brilliantly sheds light on the same.

According to a report by The Indian Express, Nehru's niece Nayantara Sahgal claims in her book 'Nehru: Civilizing A Savage World,' that Oppenheimer made an attempt to connect with Nehru in regards to the US government's efforts in building a weapon 'deadlier than the atomic bomb'. Sahgal stated that Oppenheimer had pleaded with Nehru not to trade thorium with America for the wheat that India was in need of at the time.

In continuation of the report, Sahgal also reproduced a letter Nehru got from her mother and his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, who was working as India's envoy in Moscow, Washington, and London at the time.

In the letter, Pandit told Nehru about a conversation she had with Oppenheimer, who had called her from Princeton claiming that he had ‘something very urgent to communicate' and was sending Amiya Chakravarti as an emissary. Chakravarti brought a 'chilling message that the United States was developing a weapon far more deadly than the atom bomb.’


In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Kai Bird, the co-author of 'American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer', revealed that the physicist was offered Indian citizenship by Nehru in 1954, but he probably didn't take it seriously because he was a fervent nationalist.

Oppenheimer, which stars Cillian Murphy in the titular role, carefully examines the witch hunt that his own government conducted against him when he refused to submit to its demands.

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Topics:  Oppenheimer   Jawaharlal Nehru 

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