On December 21, 1961, Priya Nath staged a play The Atom Bomb” at the University of Allahabad and Shri Nathji came to watch it. The play was an amazing success. It was the first time in the history of the Physics Department that it had staged a show. In the past all the dramas that had been held in the University were by the Faculty of Arts. Few people had imagined that the Physics Department of Allahabad University would have anything to do with staging plays.
The Play, “The Atom Bomb”, was a combination of humour, philosophy, history and science. It gave an historical, if somewhat hilarious, account of the race for the making of the Atom Bomb during the days of the Second World War.
Never before had the students and faculty of Allahabad University witnessed such a fascinating play. The actors who played the world leaders, Hitler, Truman, Churchill, Hirohito, and the scientists, Einstein, Fermi and Niels Bohr looked every bit like the original characters they were playing.
Priya Nath had a double role in the drama– that of Albert Einstein and the German scientist, Otto Hahn. Priya Nath had written and directed the play.
The Physics Department had a mere twenty-five rupees set aside for entertainment purposes, which was the flimsy budget on which the drama was produced.
Priya Nath had brought all the clothes that he had at home for the actors who needed them. His numerous caps and hats–which Shri Nathji had bought for him at Mussoorie– had at last found good use. Despite its hilarious content, the drama had ended on a tragic note in which the scientists realised their folly at making the Atom Bomb, when the news of the destruction it had caused reached them.
While on the one hand, the inventions of science had given much comfort and happiness to man, on the other hand science had given existence to these monstrous weapons of destruction. Science was merely discovering atomic energy. It had not placed the atomic energy inside the atoms. The very fact that so much of energy could exist inside the smallest particles in creation spoke of the vast power and skill of the Creator. Man had misused the energy within the atom. It was not the fault of the Creator in placing the energy there.
It was Shri Nathji’s saying, being enacted:
“ Sin means mis-directed energy!”
One of Priya Nath’s friends–the one who had acted as Hitler–said later:
The play was such a grand success because of the powerful radiance of your father from the front row of spectators!
Priya Nath recalled afterwards how the hall had been empty to start with. There was only one spectator there–Shri Nathji, who had arrived punctually. The actors despaired lest no one come to watch the ill-advertised play. Later, as if by a miracle, the hall filled to capacity, and there were people everywhere, even standing at the back of the hall. Everywhere it was the glory of Shri Nathji working in manifold ways.
Jidhar dektaa hoon jahaan dekhtaa hoon
Main teri hee hasti ayaan dektaa hoon
No matter where I look, no matter what I see,
It is all Thy Existence, and only Thee
Shri Nathji praised the drama endlessly afterwards and narrated how the City Commissioner had been sitting with him in the front row and had said to him:
“Mr. Mehta ki acting ne to kamaal kar diya hai! Mr. Mehta’s acting is simply superb!”
Shri Nathji would extol Priya Nath’s drama for years afterwards. After all, Shri Nathji was the Supreme Actor in the world playing out the part of a fragile human though being an Invincible God.