Page 579. " when he left for Dubai eight years ago. "


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Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. It originally became wealthy through trade and oil, but has since become a centre for financial services and tourism.

In 1975 there were approximately 750,000 Indian workers in the UAE, rising to 1 million by 2008.

Page 581. " You heard about the attack on the Golden Temple "

Golden Temple
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGolden Temple - Credit: Indianhilbilly, Wikimedia

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the most important sacred site for Sikhs as it contains Harmandir Sahib, the holiest Sikh shrine.

In 1984 the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, became increasingly concerned about Sikh separatists amassing weapons in the Golden Temple. On 3 June 1984 she ordered her troops to attack the temple with tanks and armoured vehicles. The day was an important religious holiday for Sikhs and so the temple was packed with pilgrims. The attack lasted for three days and official reports admit that 492 civilians were killed, but many claim that the death toll was far higher. Some suggest that as many as 8,000 people lost their lives.

The attack caused great anger in the Sikh community and led to Indira Gandhi's assassination by one of her Sikh bodyguards three months later.

Page 582. " They are pouring kerosene on Sikhs and setting them on fire. "

On 31 October 1984 the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by one of her Sikh bodyguards. This caused an eruption of anti-Sikh feeling across India and led to three days of violence in which approximately 3,000 Sikhs were killed.

The worst affected areas were in Dehli, where Sikh-owned shops and houses were burned and any Sikhs found by the gangs were lynched or covered in kerosene and burnt.


Page 583. " Last year it was Muslims; before that, Harijans. "

Harijan, meaning son of God, was a term given to lower caste people by Gandhi. He disliked hearing anyone being called an untouchable and so coined the phrase to describe those who worked in dirty jobs, such as rubbish collection, leather work and butchery.

Page 588. " Hire a Sherpa if you have to "
Creative Commons AttributionSherpa - Credit: Ranevig, Wikimedia

 Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal. They are famed for their ability to carry heavy loads, especially at high altitudes. For this reason they are often guides for mountaineers in the Himalayas.