Formal decolonization of India came two years after the terrific demonstration of the power of the atom in a volatile international order. The arrival of the nuclear age, with the departure of the British presented Indian physicists a unique opportunity to take a capable decision on the nuclear question in a new country.
In this episode of Interpreting India, Jahnavi Phalkey joins Shibani Mehta to take a look at the relationship between science, state and nationhood in India. What does the history of the beginnings of nuclear research and education tell us about India’s political ambitions? How did collaborations take place between philanthropists and scientists in early and mid-20th century India? Does popular media and culture influence the relationship between the scholar and the public?
Jahnavi Phalkey is a historian of science and technology. She is the author of ‘Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth Century India’ (2013) and is the Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru. In 2020, she produced and directed the documentary film Cyclotron.
Shibani Mehta is a research analyst with the Security Studies Program at Carnegie India. Her research focuses on India’s security and foreign policies.
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