Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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October-December 2001 issue

Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




The Scientist who graced the "GRACE"

... J. L. Manwati

The crash of the whole solar and stellar systems could only kill you once", wrote Thomas Carlyle. True to these words the heavens came down crashing and snatched away, fifty two year young, Dr. C. L. Bhat

Dr. C.L.Bhat an eminent physicists of international repute, Head of the Nuclear Research Laboratory Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, in a road accident while on his way to Ahemadabad from Mount Abu, on 17th December, 2001.

 Born in a humble family in Srinagar in 1949, the quirk of fate brought young Chamanlal under a loving and caring patronage of a noble and devout family of Late Jialal Tickoo (famous saffron dealer of Habbakadal, Srinagar) where this child prodigy blossomed both in academics and humanity. 

 Pursuing a brilliant academic career young Chamanlalji topped the Masters Degree in Physics from Kashmir University in 1970. The irrepressible innate kinetic energy prodded him to take a plunge into research career and this unassuming diminutive sized budding research scholar earned his Ph.D. Degree from Kashmir University in 1982 for his work on 'Ground -based detection of gamma-ray bursts from supernova explosions', under the guidance of Dr. M.L.Razdan.

 Bewildered by the brilliancy of Dr. Bhat, Prof.A.W.Wolfendale - (British Astronomer Royale) of Durham University, as an external examiner for his thesis on the subject, offered him, on the spot, a post-doctoral fellowship for Research at Durham University. Ceasing the opportunity Dr. Bhat spent two productive years at the Durham (1984-1986), working with Prof. Wolfendale on the analysis and interpretation of gamma-ray data from two satellite experiments. This work led to a number of well cited research publications in leading journals like NATURE, and earned Dr. Bhat a deserving reputation as a researcher of high merit. Prof. Wolfendale would often say that Dr. Bhat was the only one of his numerous post-doctoral fellows who displayed high intelligence matched with an equal measure of hard work, clarity of thought and depth of knowledge in his chosen field of research.

 On his return to India in 1986, Dr. Bhat took upon himself the responsibilities of implementing the high profile project 'GRACE' (gamma-ray astrophysics through coordinated experiments) of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. This project involved the setting up of four high-sensitivity telescope systems for probing the universe at high energies. When the research activities at the Gulmarg Observatory of the Department of Atomic Energy got throttled in the out break of militancy of Kashmir, the scientific commune at the BARC - the premier Atomic Research Centre of the country, shifted Dr. Bhat to Mumbai, wherefrom he worked tirelessly on his pet project GRACE and saw the first telescope system of the 'GRACE' project become operational at Mount Abu in Rajasthan in 1997. The telescope has already notched up several successes and the results have been well received both nationally and internationally.

 And, when Dr. Bhat's ascendancy on the scientific firmament was going to touch new heights, Death laid its icy cold hands on this young scientist. A pall of gloom descended upon the scientist fratenity who admired Dr.Bhat as sensitive and diligent research scholar with a humane touch. For his young wife Girijaji and two young daughters Preeti and Priya it was nature's thunderbolt which left them shattered. The family may not find consolation even in the wisdom of scriptures. As is said ' Whom the gods love, die young'. Even the Gita exhorts:  (those in mode of goodness go upwards to higher planets.)

 What could perhaps, be the source of strength to the bereaved family would be another illuminating aspect of Dr. Bhat's persona - his spiritualistic pursuit. 'Probing the universe at high energies' may have been his passion as a scientist but his probing of the universe for esoteric energies, was his fervor to find himself. As a transcendentalist he believed if the man cultivates virtues, the possibility of committing errors and consequential strain and stress in life could be eliminated. He followed spiritualistic path with a zeal of a scientist and this keenness of self-enquiry made him to become an active member of the 'Divine Park', a well known spiritual organisation which is a repository of moral, religious and spiritual values as enshrined in our ancient scriptures.

 Dr. Bhat was a true and a perfect karmyogi; who believed in doing his Karma and thus evolving himself. Such yogi's rarely pass through this world as is enunciated in the Bhagavadgita:

(He who takes a birth in a family of transcendentalists, 
who are surely great in wisdom. 
Verily such birth is rare in this world.)

(Courtesy : Inputs provided by Ramesh Kaul of BARC.)

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