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Indian Social Science Congress

In July 1987, the Twelfth Indian Social Science Congress was organized at the University of Mysore. As part of this event, PM Bhargava chaired a symposium under the subject head ‘Science and Technology Policy Studies’ and titled ‘The Outlook for Science and Technology in India at the Turn of the Century’. This series contains programmes and booklets with the schedule of speeches, drafts of speeches delivered at the symposium, articles by researchers who participated in the event, and correspondence leading up to the Congress, including letters of invitation and appreciation for participation. Certain documents also pertain to the Thirteenth Indian Social Science Congress. The records in this series cover the period between the years 1986 and 1987. It includes an article by PM Bhargava on biology titled 'The dawn of the age of biology: Where are we bound for?'.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Religion and atheism

This series contains a variety of documents, including correspondence, newspaper articles, journal articles, and publications in the form of brochures and booklets. These records span the years 1976 to 2015 and cover topics like religious beliefs, atheism, and secularism. Handwritten notes include notecards with the titles of journal articles written on them. The journal articles cover a range of subjects, including an article by Martin Gardner on David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti. The publications consist largely of booklets published by the Atheist Centre and the Indian Secular Society. One subseries containing miscellaneous records pertains to Kalki Bhagavan, a self-styled Indian godman. One unsigned written statement is a four-paged critique of Satya Sai Baba.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

National Biological Laboratory

From the 1950s to the 1970s, scientists and administrators in India held extensive discussions on setting up a National Biological Laboratory. This laboratory did not eventually take shape. However, the conversations around it paved the way for the founding of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in 1977.

This series contains documents that reveal some of the early discussions on the laboratory, including a plan published by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1964 and a note drafted by PM Bhargava in 1972 on the need for such a laboratory.

Bhargava argued that modern biology was connected to other branches of science and needed an integrated approach that involved experts from various scientific backgrounds. He also emphasized the urgent need for India to participate in the biological revolution that was taking place globally, especially in biochemical and biological technology.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Bhopal gas tragedy

This series contains correspondence, reports, and articles related to the Bhopal gas tragedy and its aftermath. It covers the work done by the Sambhavna Trust when Pushpa Mittra Bhargava was its chairperson and reflects his work with non-government organizations. The files in this series include information about a humanitarian mission to Bhopal, proposals for an international medical commission, and the preparatory meetings for the commission. There is also correspondence with key individuals and organizations involved in the response to the tragedy. Additionally, the series contains information on members of the International Medical Commission on Bhopal, reports by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, newspaper articles, and various writings on the subject. The documents shed light on the ongoing efforts to address the consequences of the Bhopal gas disaster, including medical research, environmental concerns, compensation issues, and advocacy for the victims' rights.

Publications

This series contains the important publications that Pushpa Mittra Bhargava kept in his collection. The first subseries contains 123 issues of Vijnan Karmee, the official publication of the Association of Scientific Workers of India (ASWI). These issues span a period from May 1949 to October 1968. The monthly magazine addresses scientific subjects and discussions in the field of science in India and includes articles and essays by contributors such as Joliot-Curie, JD Bernal, CV Raman, DD Kosambi, Niels Bohr, and many others.

The magazine also covers issues related to the Association of Scientific Workers of India and the broader scientific community in India. They have been arranged chronologically. Certain issues bear handwritten inscriptions by PM Bhargava.

Collaborations

This series focuses on various collaborative efforts with institutes and governments that Pushpa Mittra Bhargava actively participated in. It contains correspondence, memoranda, and other official documents of significance. The series is divided into three subseries. Details on each of the subseries are given below.

Subseries 1: Collaboration between Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The initial discussions on a collaboration were initiated between the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, India, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. On 3 March 1982, PM Bhargava sent the draft version of the proposal to Dennis O Johnson, the Scientific and Technological Attache for the American Embassy. In 1985, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) came on board as a collaborative party. The final Memorandum was executed in 1986 between CSIR and NIH.

Subseries 2: Collaboration between Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF)

This subseries contains files about the collaboration between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi, India, and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) in London, United Kingdom. This contains copies of the drafts of the memoranda and official papers, including handwritten, photocopied, and original letters. However, there is no copy of the final signed memorandum in this subseries.

Subseries 3: Collaboration between India and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

The subseries contains files about the scientific and technological collaboration between India and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). PM Bhargava visited the Soviet Union to engage in discussions with eminent scientists there and establish a collaborative partnership. This series includes correspondence between PM Bhargava and Nurul Hasan, the Ambassador at the Embassy of India in Moscow, USSR, as well as Prabhakar Lavakare, who served on the National Bio-Technology Board of the Department of Science and Technology. The final memorandum was executed by the Prime Minister of India and the General Secretary of the USSR in Moscow on 3 July 1987, and a photocopy was sent to PM Bhargava.

Haldane family

The papers in this series pertain to the estate of JBS Haldane and his wife, Helen Spurway Haldane. JBS Haldane died in 1964. Following Helen Haldane’s death in 1978, PM Bhargava and his wife, Manorama Bhargava, handled her estate and corresponded extensively with JBS Haldane's sister, Naomi Mitchison, and her grandson, Graeme J Mitchison. Included here are letters, notebooks, handwritten notes, share certificates, financial documents, JBS Haldane’s Last Will and Testament, Helen Haldane’s autopsy, and articles on the Haldanes by PM Bhargava and other researchers. Certain letters also pertain to the dispatch of JBS Haldane’s personal papers to his family in the United Kingdom. These are a combination of originals and facsimiles. This series includes one photographic print and a newspaper article announcing Helen Haldane's death. Note on subseries: The files within the Correspondence subseries have been organized based on the original order of subject-wise arrangement. Letters within each broad subject have been arranged alphabetically and then chronologically, except in special cases. Certain key documents, such as official records, were removed and kept in the Official Records subseries. The share certificates under the Official Records subseries are oversized and have not yet been boxed. The third subseries contains personal papers, possibly compiled by JBS Haldane himself. It includes a notebook, handwritten drafts of his last will and testament, and notes on his surgical history, along with correspondence. These drafts were written by JBS Haldane in November 1962, when he was preparing for an operation in London.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Husain family

This series contains correspondence between PM Bhargava and members of the Husain family, including MF Husain and Mustafa Husain, publications such as an exhibition catalogue, articles, and exhibition materials pertaining to an exhibition featuring MF Husain’s paintings on key events in the twentieth century, with text by PM Bhargava. The letters discuss a proposed Husain-Bhargava Centre for Art and Science, Husain’s exile and death, and other subjects. The series includes several prints of MF Husain’s artwork and a facsimile of a letter from the artist to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The documents have either been arranged as they were found or arranged chronologically.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Method of Science Exhibition

This large and significant series contains 272 files pertaining to the Method of Science Exhibition. In 1975, PM Bhargava was invited by the director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Rais Ahmed, to set up an exhibition on the method of science. What followed was a decades-long endeavour to create and disseminate this exhibition and to give it a permanent home.

Although initially set up in Bal Bhavan, New Delhi, the exhibition was locked by Bhargava in 1977 following the general elections and a subsequent regime change both at the central government level and within the NCERT. In 1978, Bhargava discovered that the exhibition had been dismantled without his knowledge. After an investigation and a court dispute regarding this, the exhibition was eventually bought by the Andhra Pradesh government and installed at the Andhra Pradesh State Public Library. It was finally inaugurated on 12 November 1984, just a few days after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. In 1992 the exhibition was shifted to the Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad. In 2000, B Premanand, publisher and editor of ‘The Indian Skeptic’ wanted to bring the exhibition to Kerala but discovered that the material had been neglected and was unusable. Along the way, the exhibition had been documented by the Films Division and released in the late 1980s, and text from the exhibition serialized in the publication ‘Science Today’.

The records in this series are divided into 8 subseries based on the following record types: correspondence, accounts, official documents, exhibition materials, administration, articles writings and printed materials, compilations, and newspapers. Within each subseries, records are arranged thematically or chronologically, paying attention to the significant phases that this exhibition went through:

The initial conception and preparation period

Dismantling

Investigation and court case

Shifting of exhibition to Andhra Pradesh and subsequent inauguration

Shifting of exhibition to Birla Science Centre

Media and outreach initiatives

Involvement of B Premanand and proposed set up in Kerala

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Institutional records of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology

Pushpa Mittra Bhargava was a dedicated administrator and institution builder. From 1958 to 1977, he served as Scientist-in-charge of the Biochemistry Division of the Regional Research Laboratory, Hyderabad. From 1977 to 1990 he served as the Founding Director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. This series contains records about the establishment and administration of CCMB. The files in each subseries have been arranged in broad chronological order and then further arranged based on subject or topic. The user should make note of the following abbreviations:
Regional Research Laboratory - RRL
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology - CCMB
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - CSIR

Vaccines

This series contains documents pertaining to vaccines and vaccination programmes, including the polio vaccine. Note on subseries: The documents in the Polio Vaccine subseries cover PM Bhargava’s conversations with scientists, government officials, and former Prime Minister of India PV Narasimha Rao on polio vaccination in India. Bhargava’s main contention was that the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) discovered by Jonas Salk ought to be used for any mass immunization program in India instead of the cheaper but less effective Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). Included here is an exchange between Bhargava and Jonas Salk on the subject. The subseries also includes newspaper articles, including two written by Bhargava.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017

Scientific temper

This series contains speeches, correspondence, administrative records, articles and writings, printed materials, newspaper articles, and handwritten notes. PM Bhargava was deeply involved in discussions on scientific temper and critical of religious practices which invoked supernatural powers. Here we find records documenting radio speeches delivered on the subject, administrative records belonging to the Society for the Promotion of Scientific Temper, papers pertaining to the Nehru Centre in Bombay, reports on the Seminar on ‘Scientific Temper and Spiritual Values’ held at the Centre in 1983, correspondence with individuals about superstition and godmen, and Bhargava's own writings. A large number of letters are exchanged between PM Bhargava and Makarand Paranjape, and another set of exchanges is with Meera Ananda. The Statements, Articles, and Writings subseries contains a 1980 signed statement on scientific temper with correspondence around the drafting of the same. It also includes a published article by PM Bhargava.

Bhargava, Pushpa Mittra, 1928-2017