Analysis of Operation Blue Star and its effects on the Gandhi dynasty The period of time including and following Operation Blue star is considered a dark time in India and black spot in Indian history. It is a time Indian would rather forget, yet still to this day debate about. Was Indihar Gandhi correct in instating operation Blue Star, inflicting damage to the Golden temple, and being responsible for the killing of anywhere from 492 (official reports) to 1500 (estimates run as high as) civilians, which lead to an additional 5,000 Sikh deaths following, due to anti-Sikh riots?
Was Indihar Gandhi’s actions justified, and could her problems with the Sikhs have been solved in any other way? These are all question India still debates to this day. We will look at who exactly Indihar Gandhi is, what is operation blue star, why she invoked Operation Blue Star, how did her actions eventually lead to her assassination, India’s Sikh population afterwards, and how Indihar’s actions affected the Gandhi dynasty?
On June 3, 1984 Indihar Gandhi gave the executive decision to invoke Operation Blue Star, a military attack on the golden temple in Amritsar, Punjab. The Golden Tempe is considered one of the most sacred and religious places in the world, in what Indihar Gandhi taught was a necessity following a chain of events. Sikhs, involved in the Khalistan movement wanted Punjab to be an independent state, and felt they were being oppressed.
The Khalistan movement led under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale used tactics to express their views and desires in a very unconventional way, depending on your religion. Bhindranwale felt the only way to achieve liberation, was through violence, which he demonstrated through violent protests, and acts of terrorism. Bhindranwale’s actions were influenced by those of the government’s actions towards Muslims, and their creation of their country Pakistan and Bangladesh, and those of inefficiency of the actions of Mahatma Gandhi, and his principles of non-violence.
Indihar Gandhi afraid of the succession of Punjab, and the possibility of more states to follow and return India to the days of the “Rajas” (where each state that made up India was ruled by a King, and India was a collection of independently ruled states), and angered by their use of violence, and their use of a religious site as a base, enacted Operation Blue star, to smolder the root of the fire, and expose and seize the stockpiles of weapons they where storing and using.
The wounds created as a result of Operation Blue star are still to this day healing. Indihar Gandhi found her weapons and in the end dismayed her fears of a separate country, but at a very high cost. When the military finally retreated, and the media was allowed in, it not only showed the damage created to the Golden temple, and many Sikh extremist’s dead, but also religious civilians and ammunition. The Indian population particularly the Hindus disliked the idea of the disintegration of the country, and did want yet another Pakistan.
The Sikh took their strife following Operation Blue star to the street which this time not only displeased the government but the Indian population. The riots taking place, where met with severe opposition taken in the wrong light mixed with major misunderstanding, resulting in Hindus acting violently out against the Sikhs during these rallies and riots, but the real violence did not come till after Indihar Gandhi’s assassination. Sikhs being outnumbered by the Hindus not only put out the riots of the Sikhs but started their own in the abuse and murder of the Sikhs, in a brutal and disturbing fashion.
Sikhs were in the worst cases burnt alive, stoned to death, resulting in many Sikhs choosing to live in groups away from the public, afraid of going out and living alone, due to their obvious physical differences that set them apart and stood them out from Hindus. It is estimated that in the three month period following the assassination of Indihar Gandhi over 5,000 Sikhs were murdered, in these rallies/riots. Indihar Gandhi ignited a fire she would soon regret, but did she do what was best for her country, and where her actions justified?
These are to this day the questions India debates. Hindus (Non-Sikhs) say that the Sikhs were a risk to security and acted in appropriate, s and Sikhs say that under no circumstance what Indihar Gandhi did was justified, and that she wanted to crush the Sikhs at its roots. Gandhi paid the ultimate price on October 31, 1984, roughly three months after she enacted Operation Blue star, two of Indira’s Sikh body guard assassinated her in New Delhi.
Gandhi kept the two Sikh body guards despite suggestions to get rid of them after Operation Blue star, but Gandhi thought it would send the wrong message and trusted them highly. The two body guards had been conditioned and mentally twisted by Sikh extremists into assassinating Gandhi. The night before Gandhi was assassinated she said, “I don’t mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation. Indihar Gandhi actions did not only lead her to the loss of her own life but also to her family’s reputation in their political life. Indihar Gandhi was born to Jawaharlal Nehru; one of the fathers of independence for India, and former Prime Minister of India, Indihar Gandhi’s son Rajiv Gandhi succeeded her to become prime minister after Indihar’s death. Rajiv’s wife Sonia Gandhi is president of Congress, and her son Rahul Gandhi holds a seat in the parliament, and the list continues.