India Insight

Headscarf headache to cancel Obama Temple visit

Ask any travel agent, globe-trotter or gap-year student: The Golden Temple in Amritsar, north India, is both a site of pilgrimage for Sikhs and a must-see on any tourists’ Indian itinerary.Sikh devotees gather to pay their obeisance at the holy Sikh shrine of Golden Temple on the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Amritsar, India. REUTERS/Munish Sharma

But India’s most famous foreign tourist, U.S. President Barack Obama, who will tour the country next month, may have to forego his visit.

It was supposed to be Obama’s only religious appointment on the 4-day trip to India, but a politically-sensitive row over the required headwear for the temple threatens to derail his plans.

According to local media reports, the President’s team has balked at the idea of Obama wearing a headscarf or skullcap — required for any visitor to the holy site — due to fears it may feed rumours circulating about his alleged Muslim beliefs.

The sight of droves of foreign tourists sporting colourful headscarves, most provided by the Temple, is as much a part of the dazzling experience as the temple itself.

Do we need the big bomb?

It’s been more than a decade since the Buddha smiled again.

A debate has exploded in the Indian media about the circumstances of India’s hydrogen bomb test, with a group of scientists questioning the yield of the test.

The government claimed a yield of 45 kilotons; while the sceptics say the yield was much less at 25 kilotons.

K. Santhanam who claims the thermonuclear bomb was a ‘fizzle’ called for more nuclear tests to develop hydrogen bombs.

  •