Books: Homi J. Bhabha

Indira Chowdhury, Ananya Dasgupta, A Masterful Spirit: Homi J. Bhabha, New Delhi, Penguin Books India, 2010

« Scientist, citizen, artist—the Renaissance man of India Homi Jehangir Bhabha, one of India’s outstanding scientists, shouldered the beginnings of India’s nuclear programme. He was the first chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, and the builder of two of India’s most significant scientific institutions—the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Atomic Energy Establishment, renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in 1966. A Masterful Spirit presents the life and achievements of the man through previously unpublished letters, and photographs and paintings, and the recollections of his family, friends, colleagues and students. Designed to convey the flavour of Bhabha’s life and times, this book tells the inspiring story of a man whom Sir C.V. Raman described as ‘the modern equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci’. It acquaints us with the many facets of Bhabha’s personality: physicist, institution-builder, concerned citizen, artist, connoisseur of the arts, designer of gardens and, above all, a charismatic and compassionate human being. »

Book Review:

Atri Mukhopadhyay, « A Masterful Spirit: Homi J. Bhabha », Science and Culture, July-August 2011. Available here.


R.K. Shyamasundar, M.A.Pai, Homi Bhabha and the Computer Revolution, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2011

« In February 1960, India’s first full-scale digital computer—the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator (TIFRAC)—was launched largely due to the efforts of Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909–1966). Paying tribute to the remarkable vision of Bhabha, this book looks at India’s past, present, and future in global IT and telecommunications. Tracing the country’s growth trajectory from Bhabha’s time, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Sam Pitroda, F.C. Kohli, and M.G.K. Menon among several leading scientists, policymakers, and industry leaders address indigenous efforts in telecom revolution and how computer and IT can bring about positive changes in our lives. From computerization of services and e-governance to the computer’s impact on biotechnology, IT for power infrastructure, and transport—the essays address wide-ranging issues of tremendous topical relevance. Setting the tone of the volume, the Introduction looks at the contribution of Bhabha and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to the computer revolution in its nascent stages, and later, when India gained prominence as a global player. With a Foreword by Ratan N. Tata highlighting the country’s journey towards self-reliance in IT and telecom, this volume will appeal to students and teachers of computer science and telecommunications, IT and telecom industry professionals, policymakers, and anybody interested to know more about the India story. »


See Also: 

Itty Abraham, The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb. Science, Secrecy and the Postcolonial State, London & New York, Zed Books, 1998

Richa Malhotra, B.V. Sreekantan, « Homi Jehangir Bhabha: A Visionary », Resonance, May 2010. Available here.

G. Venkataraman, Bhabha and his magnificient obsessions (Vignettes in Physics), New Delhi, Sangam Books, 1994

Books: Engineers Abroad

Devesh Kapur, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press, 2010

 » What happens to a country when its skilled workers emigrate? The first book to examine the complex economic, social, and political effects of emigration on India, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy provides a conceptual framework for understanding the repercussions of international migration on migrants’ home countries.

Devesh Kapur finds that migration has influenced India far beyond a simplistic « brain drain »–migration’s impact greatly depends on who leaves and why. The book offers new methods and empirical evidence for measuring these traits and shows how data about these characteristics link to specific outcomes. For instance, the positive selection of Indian migrants through education has strengthened India’s democracy by creating a political space for previously excluded social groups. Because older Indian elites have an exit option, they are less likely to resist the loss of political power at home. Education and training abroad has played an important role in facilitating the flow of expertise to India, integrating the country into the world economy, positively shaping how India is perceived, and changing traditional conceptions of citizenship. The book highlights a paradox–while international migration is a cause and consequence of globalization, its effects on countries of origin depend largely on factors internal to those countries.

A rich portrait of the Indian migrant community, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy explores the complex political and economic consequences of migration for the countries migrants leave behind. »

Devesh Kapur is associate professor of political science and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Professorship for the Study of Contemporary India at the University of Pennsylvania.


Xiang Biao, Global « Body Shopping »: An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry, Princeton: NJPrinceton University Press, 2006

« How can America’s information technology (IT) industry predict serious labor shortages while at the same time laying off tens of thousands of employees annually? The answer is the industry’s flexible labor management system–a flexibility widely regarded as the modus operandi of global capitalism today. Global « Body Shopping » explores how flexibility and uncertainty in the IT labor market are constructed and sustained through concrete human actions.

Drawing on in-depth field research in southern India and in Australia, and folding an ethnography into a political economy examination, Xiang Biao offers a richly detailed analysis of the India-based global labor management practice known as « body shopping. » In this practice, a group of consultants–body shops–in different countries works together to recruit IT workers. Body shops then farm out workers to clients as project-based labor; and upon a project’s completion they either place the workers with a different client or « bench » them to await the next placement. Thus, labor is managed globally to serve volatile capital movement.

Underpinning this practice are unequal socioeconomic relations on multiple levels. While wealth in the New Economy is created in an increasingly abstract manner, everyday realities–stock markets in New York, benched IT workers in Sydney, dowries in Hyderabad, and women and children in Indian villages–sustain this flexibility. »


Binod Khadria, The Migration of Knowledge Workers. Second-Generation Effects of India’s Brain Drain, New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1999

« This book encourages strategies for turning the « brain drain » of educated professionals to India’s advantage.

Binod Khadria argues that « first generation » losses of human resources from India can be compensated by making use of the finance, technology and manpower of Indian expatriates. In this way, the long-term average productivity of workers at home can be raised helping make good gross domestic product losses — the « second generation » effects of brain drain. »





 See Also:

Binod Khadria, Migration of Highly Skilled Indians: Case Studies of IT and Health Professionals. STI Working Papers 6, April. Paris, OECD, 2004. Available here

Roli Varma, Harbingers of Global Change. India’s Techno-Immigrants, Maryland, Lexington Books, 2006

Publication: Consulting Engineers

 Odile Henry, Les guérisseurs de l’économie. Socio-genèse du métier de consultant (1900-1944), Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2012

« Véritables « médecins des affaires », les ingénieurs-conseils évaluent l’état de santé d’entreprises privées comme d’institutions publiques, et proposent des « thérapies » visant à corriger les dysfonctionnements constatés. Mais derrière leur prétention scientifique à l’objectivité, ces diagnostics et remèdes sont autant d’affirmations normatives sur le monde économique. Mis en oeuvre par les dirigeants, ils deviennent même constitutifs des réalités sociales.

À travers une histoire structurale de la profession de consultant et une analyse de l’émergence du management, Odile Henry nous emmène donc au coeur de l’incessant processus de production symbolique et idéologique de l’ordre social.

Placée, dès le début du xxe siècle, au centre de rivalités entre État et domaine civil, imprégnée de saint-simonisme, nourrie des apports conflictuels du taylorisme et de la doctrine administrative, la profession est l’objet d’âpres luttes d’influence. Elle trouve ensuite, dans le régime de Vichy et son nouvel ordre juridique, un « nouvel espace des possibles », éclairant le rôle décisif de l’État dans la constitution de son autorité.

Un grand ouvrage de sociologie historique. »

Book review:

Marc Mousli, « Les guérisseurs de l’économie. Ingénieurs-conseils en quête de pouvoir »Alternatives Économiques, n°319, 2012


Publication: The General Review of Public Policies in France

Odile Henry, Frédéric Pierru (ed.), « Le conseil de l’État (2) – Le « moment RGPP » », Actes de la Recherche en sciences sociales, n°194, Septembre 2012

Contents :

Les sommets très privés de l’État
Le « Club des acteurs de la modernisation » et l’hybridation des élites
Julie Gervais

« On n’y comprend rien »
Des salariés européens face à l’action des cabinets de conseil dans la réforme de l’audiovisuel public
Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet

Le mandarin, le gestionnaire et le consultant
Le tournant néolibéral de la politique hospitalière
Frédéric Pierru

Les syndicats et l’expertise en risques psychosociaux
Note de recherche sur les années noires du management à France Télécom Orange
Odile Henry

Les comptes des générations
Les valeurs du futur et la transformation de l’État social
Yann Le Lann et Benjamin Lemoine

Hors thème :

Transformations morphologiques et mobilisations disciplinaires
Les enseignants et étudiants de l’Institut d’anglais de la Sorbonne en 1968
Christophe Gaubert et Marie-Pierre Pouly

Online version available here