Former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Homi Nusserwanji Sethna, an important figure in India's nuclear programme, passed away at his home here on Sunday night. He was 86.
Homi Mehta, a long-time associate, told The Hindu Dr. Sethna was suffering from lung fibrosis. “For the past two years, he was on oxygen for 24 hours. Because of that he was on a wheelchair and could not go out. However, despite the debility, he worked from home.”
He played a key role in India's first peaceful nuclear explosion of May 18, 1974, called the Smiling Buddha, or Pokhran-I He developed an interest in “the greening of the Kutch belt in the 1980s or 1990s,” Mr. Mehta recalled. “He formed cooperatives with the local people and horticulturists for planting Jojoba seeds.” Mr. Mehta described him as “a strong personality with straightforward” manners. “He loved the opera. [Luciano] Pavarotti was his favourite.”
Dr. Sethna lost his wife Gooloo Sethna this July. The funeral will be held on Tuesday at the Doongerwadi Tower of Silence. He is survived by daughter Meher Dadabhoy and son Rustam Sethna.
Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, in a condolence message, said: “Dr. Homi Sethna was one of India's pioneering nuclear scientists, who had played a crucial role in the successful conduct of India's first peaceful nuclear test in 1974. Even after his retirement, he held many important positions and continued to contribute to the task of nation building. I pay my respects to the memory of Dr. Sethna… and convey my heartfelt condolences to his family members.”
Keywords: Homi Nusserwanji Sethna