Declare Homi Bhabha's house a memorial, Maharashtra CM tells PM

A day after the family of Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of the Godrej group of companies, acquired late Homi J Bhabha's bungalow in Mumbai's plush Malabar Hill area, the Maharashtra government has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and acquire the iconic property.

The family of Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, emerged as the highest bidder for Meherangir - a bungalow in which the late Homi J Bhabha, father of India's atomic energy programme, lived for years - for a bid amount of Rs372 crore (See: Homi Bhabha's iconic bungalow 'Mehrangir' sold for Rs372 crore).

Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to declare the property as a national monument to honour the great scientist.

"People of the state feel that his residence should be declared as a national monument," Chavan wrote in his letter to the PM. He said the house should be preserved as "a source of inspiration" for the youth and other scientists.

The chief minister urged the central government to acquire the property and turn it into a memorial.

Scientists across the country and employees of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) had rallied support to save a piece of the legacy of the man credited to be the father of the Indian nuclear programme.

Several had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to stop the public auction while several others have offered part of their own salaries to retain the house.

Bharat Ratna Prof C N R Rao, who has been a science advisor to several PMs, met Modi earlier this month, in a bid to persuade him to intervene and save the ancestral house, which Bhaba had named 'Mehrangir' to honour the memory of his mother Meherbai and father Jehangir.

The three-storey bungalow with a built-up area of over 15,000 sq ft on a plot measuring 1,593 sq m, offers a beautiful view of the sea.

After Bhabha's death in a plane crash 1966, his brother Jamshed, a patron of the arts and culture, became the custodian of the estate.

On Jamshed's death in 2007, the property was transferred to NCPA, an institution he had nurtured.