TDISH: Operation Blue Star

June 5, 1984, the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, ordered Indian troops to assault the Harmandir Sahib – the Golden Temple – in Amritsar, Punjab Province.  The Temple is the Sant_Jarnail_Singh_Bhindranwaleholiest site of the Sikh religion and was serving as a headquarters for the controversial Sikh leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers.  Bhindranwale had presented the Indian government with a list of demands based on the Anandpur Resolution calling for Sikh rights in India.  The document was seen by many in New Delhi as the first steps towards a move towards Sikh independence and was not allowed to stand.

On June 5, 1984, Indian troops breached the Golden Temple and encountered heavy resistance from Bhindranwale’s men.  The assault resulted in severe damage to the Temple and the disputed death of Bhindranwale (some Sikh leaders claim he is still alive).  Unsurprisingly, it also led to very heightened tensions between Sikhs and the Hindu government.  Approximately four months after the assualt, Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards assassinated the Prime Minister in retribution for the assault.

Featured Image: “Golden Temple.” By Ian Sewell, CC BY-SA 2.5.
Image 1. “Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.” By Source, Fair use.
Temple Raid: Army’s Order Was Restraint.New York Times. 15 June 1984.

TDISH: A Smiling Buddha

When most people think of the Buddha, they think of a peaceful man who has achieved Enlightenment who follows the Middle Way.  Buddha does not hurt anything or anyone.  And a Smiling Buddha? Even better!

However, the Indian government did not use this phrase in that way in the 1970s.  It was, in fact, used as the code name of perhaps the least peaceful, most harmful scientific test possible – the test of a nuclear bomb.  That’s right! On May 18, 1974,  the Indian government held their first successful test of a nuclear weapon and called it “Smiling Buddha.”

Featured Image: “Buddha.” By Adityamadhav83 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Ramanna, Raja, “India’s First Bomb.” Nuclear Weapons Archive.