Was Parvana Irani Homi Bhabha’s Wife? Is She Alive or Dead?

Created by Nikkhil Advani, SonyLIV’s Indian series ‘Rocket Boys’ centers around the lives of Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, the two stalwarts who spearheaded India’s scientific research and initiatives. Along with their significance and achievements with respect to the Indian scientific realm, the show also dives deep into their personal lives, exploring individual and interconnected relationships. Homi’s intricate relationship with Parvana Irani AKA Pipsy is one of the pivotal storylines that form the show’s narrative. If you are curious about Parvana’s life and her companionship with Homi, let us share everything you need to know!

Who is Parvana Irani (Pipsy)?

Parvana Irani is seemingly a partially fictional character. While Parvana’s characterization and storyline do seem to have the influence of fiction, the character is apparently highly inspired by Phiroza “Pipsy” Wadia, Bhabha’s close friend, confidante, and companion. Bhabha and Pipsy were a rebellious couple, who challenged the moral notions of their times. Their companionship and togetherness were often questioned due to the lack of marital commitment between the two. Still, they often presented themselves together to the free-spirited cultural space of Bombay of their time.

Bhabha’s drawing of Pipsy Image Credit: TIFR

Pipsy was a significant presence in Bhabha’s institution Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) as well. She used to involve in several events that happened in the institute in a personal capacity and as the vice-president of the Time and Talents Club. Pipsy was also involved in several TIRF initiatives with renowned scientists like M. G. K. Menon. She was one of the patrons of art during her time in Bombay and played a significant role in TIRF’s art collection. Bhabha’s decade-long collection of Indian modern art for TIRF was chiefly guided by Pipsy.

Bhabha and Pipsy’s relationship was a symbol of Mumbai’s liberated past and society. Their togetherness constantly interacted with the art and science sphere of their time. However, the couple didn’t legally marry to commit themselves to each other.

Is Pipsy Dead or Alive?

As per reports, Phiroza “Pipsy” Wadia died sometime in the 1980s. After Bhabha’s death in 1966, Pipsy was in charge of Bhabha’s several personal and professional papers, at least until the scientist’s brother Jamshed forcibly collected them from her. According to Coomi Kapoor’s ‘The Emergency: A Personal History,’ Pipsy was a fearsome woman who resisted the police officers during the emergency by Indira Gandhi.

Although Pipsy’s relationship with Bhabha is a pivotal part of the scientist’s life, their story together is relatively an obscure chapter of his legacy. However, ‘Rocket Boys’ offers a comprehensive take on their relationship, even though with traces and details of fiction for narrative purposes.

Read More: Is Rocket Boys Based on a True Story?