THE TRUTH ABOUT ARTICLE 370

Politicians have been talking endlessly about Article 370, but many Indians still do not understand what it practically means.

It was drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister without portfolio in the first Union Cabinet of Nehru who felt that JK was not yet ripe for integration. Sardar Patel was so livid with the provisions of Article 370 that he had resigned on this issue.

WHAT DOES ARTICLE 370 IMPLY?
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The state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians

Unlike other State legislative Assemblies, J&K legislature has a six-year term.

Jammu & Kashmir has two flags; a separate State flag along with the National Flag.

Insulting of national symbols is not cognizable offence in Jammu & Kashmir.

Most of the laws except defence, foreign affairs, finance and communication, passed by Indian Parliament need to be approved by the State Government before they are made applicable in the State.

The citizens of J&K are governed by State-specific laws which come under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of those for the rest of India.

Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the State.

The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

The residents of J&K enjoy dual citizenship, but they could loose the J&K citizenship if they marry residents of other States.

If a woman marries a man in other Indian States, she loses her citizenship. Whereas if any woman marries a Pakistani, she will be entitled to have a citizenship of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Article also gives Pakistan’s citizens entitlement to Indian citizenship, if he marries a Kashmiri girl.

Majority of Indian laws including RTE, RTI and the writ of agencies like CBI, CAG are not applicable in J&K.

No outsider can purchase land in the State.

The Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the State. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression.

This is what Ambedkar said about Article 370: “‘”You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you foodgrains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But Government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal, would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the Law Minister of India, will never do it.”

SO LET’S TAKE A POLL: DO YOU THINK ARTICLE 370 SHOULD BE REMOVED?

KASHMIR AND DR KARAN SINGH

Once all the euphoria about the army saving the Kashmiris of the Valley evaporates, Kashmir will be back to square one and its youth will resume stoning the jawans. Indeed, There seems to be no solution to Kashmir. It also incarnates the irrevocable enmity between India and Pakistan: India will not surrender Kashmir, because she considers rightly that it has been part of her territory for 3000 years. Pakistan will not surrender its claim on the Valley, because it estimates that the Kashmir valley is a majority Muslim region and that under the (mad) logic of partition, it should have reverted to Islamabad. And both countries are trying by force, the one openly, the other covertly, to stake their claims on Kashmir. Thus, there is no issue, except war, a nuclear conflict maybe – and everyone will be the loser: who will have Kashmir then if there is nothing left of India and Pakistan?

All politicians have tried their hand at solving this problem and all have failed. Yet there is one politician in India, who not only understands all these intricacies, but who might be acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims of Kashmir: that is Dr Karan Singh. Dr Karan Singh is a much-misunderstood personality and it may be worthwhile to look at his life and achievements.

No doubt, he was born in a privileged family: son of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Hari Singh, and his lovely wife, Maharani Tara Devi, he saw the light in the prestigious Martinez hotel in Cannes, France. The birth of a Yuvaraj (heir apparent) was feted by the people of Jammu & Kashmir, whether Muslims or Hindus.

Yet, if you read carefully his biography, you will see that Dr Karan Singh, had a difficult life. Born a prince, yes, but with a strict and overbearing father, who allowed him to see his mother for only one hour every day, whereas the young Karan doted on her. In time, he also realized that all was not well between his mother and father and that they lived separate lives. He was then sent to public school where he got no privileged treatment. Finally, at the age of 18, the muscle on his right hip and leg began to decay and he had to undergo a major surgery, which was a traumatic experience for him. The operation involved permanent immobilisation of the hip joint through a bone graft and a six-inch metal pin, which kept him in bed for 18 months, in a lonely New York hospital. Dr Karan Singh would now limp for life, but he never complained about it and that did not stop him from playing tennis and campaigning tirelessly.

True, he became regent of Kashmir in 1949, but under difficult circumstances: his father, disagreeing with Nehru, left the State which had by then acceded to India, and Karan Singh was later appointed as Sadar-i-Riyasat and finally as Governor of Kashmir. His father’s shadow was not there anymore, but Nehru had replaced him and was sometimes an overbearing presence on the young man. In 1967, he finally came on his own, joined Mrs. Gandhi and later became the youngest union minister ever in her cabinet, being reelected 4 times as an MP from Udhampur. Today Dr Karan Singh, after having been a brilliant ambassador in the US, is chairman of the ICCR, while being involved in many trusts and charities.

It has been said sometimes that Dr Karan Singh is an indecisive man. This also far from true. He may belong to the Congress and not of the BJP, but he is one of the few politicians who has a deep understanding of Hinduism and who has remained faithful to his inclinations. Dr Karan Singh is the foremost expert in the world on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and he is at present chairman of the Auroville Foundation, the international city near Pondichery founded by the Mother and based on Sri Aurobindo’s vision of a new humanity.

Now for Kashmir. Dr Karan Singh is very clear about its history and its future: “The real problem with Kashmir, he says, started with my ancestors, the Doghras, mostly in the 19th century: by treaty, conquest, or inter-marriages, they created a state comprised of five major units, which are fundamentally very different from each other in terms of geography and ethnicity: the territory around Gilgit, which belongs basically to Central Asia; Ladhak, which is an extension of Tibet; what is today under Pakistan control around Muzarrafad, which is Punjabi Muslim; Jammu, which in essence belongs to Himachal Pradesh; and finally the valley of Kashmir, of course, which is Indian Muslim at 95 % and also belongs to the Kashmir Pandits before they had to flee”.

Dr Singh also emphasizes that the KP community never tried to rule Kashmir: “they were only the babus, the secretaries, the teachers, there might have been some exploitation, but on the whole they lived peacefully with the Muslims”.
Is Kashmir essentially an artificially-constructed entity then? “Yes, he replies, it is the exact replica of what was Tito’s Yugoslavia before it was broken in parts, or the Austrian empire, which was an amalgam of different states. All empires are artificial: look at the one Alexander created, or Ashoka’s empire, or Charlemagne’s… Often, they are also governed by non-local rulers: even my family was non-Kashmiri”.

When ones asks Dr Karan Singh if he has accepted Partition, he replies: “No, but today, there is certain logic to the split of Kashmir: two of the “foreign” portions – Punjabi Muslim Muzarrafad and Central Asian Gilgit – are with Pakistan; and the three “Indian” parts are with India : Jammu, which is 2/3 Hindu; Ladhak which is 55% Buddhist (and 45% Muslim); and the valley which is now 99% Indian Muslim”.

What is the solution then? “Since 1947, he smiles, Pakistan has fought four wars to regain Indian Kashmir, five, if you include the proxy war they are waging on us today. In my opinion, I don’t think they will ever succeed. The only solution is a European type of Union in the subcontinent. Look at France and Germany: they fought three wars over two centuries; France even fought a hundred years war with England and they are still bickering at each other over the EU, or the Euro! We only have been at it for 60 years. A Europe style type of union is a logic thing today. We could have a single rupee in South Asia, no borders, free trade… And a united Kashmir”…

Is it true that Muslims and Hindu leaders respect him ? “Kashmir has always been inclusive of all religions, answers the son of Kashmir. Vashnaism was born there, Sufism flourished there, the hard-line Sunnis of Pakistan have tried to change all this, I don’t think they have succeed, as today the Kahmiri Muslim is still more tolerant than his Saudi or Pakistani brother. Yes, I still feel deeply for Kashmir, I am an elder statesman, and have been in politics for nearly 60 years! “

So could Dr Karan Singh be the man of the moment for Kashmir, and solve an imbroglio which has eluded all Indian politicians? Will Destiny at last beckon this man of depth, who was never really been entrusted with responsibilities corresponding to his qualities ? He started with Kashmir and maybe he will finish his career with Kashmir, if the new government of Shri Narendra Modi is visionary and bold enough to entrust him with this task.

Hindu India stretched its hand towards the Valley of Kashmir ravaged by floods. And it is laudable. But will it change anything to the fact that most Kashmiri Muslims feel they do not belong to India? I doubt it for one. The article below should serve as a reminder of the hard reality of Kashmir.
KASHMIR, A FOREIGN COUNTRY?
Sri Aurobindo wrote in 1940: “in Kashmir, the Hindus had all the monopoly. Now if the Muslim demands are acceded to, the Hindus will be wiped out again.” (India’s Rebirth, p. 220) How prophetic ! Today, if a Hindu wants to undertake a pilgrimage to one of the most ancient shrines in the history of Hinduism, Amarnath, he must do it under heavy police and army protection, and at the risk of his life. It is as if, not only he is going to a foreign country, but also to a hostile foreign country.
The frightening thing is that the writ of the Central Government is gone in Kashmir; stringers who hail from the Valley, report a distorted picture from Srinagar and nobody finds anything to say. EveryTV footage shows crowds waving Pakistani flags and nobody objects. Do you know that Kashmir is the most subsidized state in India? That every time the PM goes there, whether from the Congress, or the BJP, thousands of crores of subsidies are announced? Since 1989, all government officials in the Valley of Kashmir, while they hardly work in the year because of strikes and curfews, get their pay checks? It makes no difference to the fact that if a referendum was conducted, at least 85% of the Valley of Kashmir would opt to be attached to Pakistan.

The truth is that India is slowly losing its grip on Kashmir and that the ground is prepared for an agreement brokered by the US, which will give de facto independence to the Valley of Kashmir. Unfortunately, in Delhi amongst journalists and intellectual, you will find many who will say: “so what? India is a big country, we can do without Kashmir”.
This is why we have to examine why is it important that India retains Kashmir?
The most obvious reason is that Kashmir is of extreme strategic importance to India. If Kashmir would fall out of India’s hands, New Delhi would be surrounded by three hostile nations who strategically could swoop down from a height: Tibet, which was once the peace buffer between India & China; Nepal, which is de facto fallen in hostile hands: and Kashmir, the gateway between the Middle East and Asia.
Secondly if India allow Kashmir to go, why not Manipur, why not Tripura, or even Tamil Nadu, which has Dravidian aspirations? Many countries in the world face separatism problems, whether France with Corsica, or even Britain with the Falklands, which is thousand of miles away. Why should India let go of Kashmir, which has been culturally, and physically part of its body for at least 5000 years?
Finally, Kashmir is the cradle of Shivaism, thousands of yogis, gurus, sannyasins, have prayed meditated, performed tapasaya in this holy land and for that reason only, it should be sacred to India.
Part of the blame for the present apathy of Indians for the deteriorating situation in Kashmir, must fall on the Press, particularly the western media, which has always maintained that Kashmir was a “disputed” territory. Many of us journalists know that since the mid-eighties Pakistan encouraged, financed, trained and armed Kashmiri separatism. But Mark Tully, for instance, who is revered in India for his ‘fair’ reporting always made it a point to say: “India accuses Pakistan to foster separatism in Kashmir”; or :”elections are being held in Indian- held Kashmir”; or “Kashmir militants ” have attacked an army post, instead of “terrorists”. All the other foreign journalists, yesterday and today have followed the BBC’s benchmarks.

Fgautier

BIPAN CHANDRA

Everybody, from the President to Sonia Gandhi, is mourning the demise of professor Bipan Chandra. But with Romila Thapar, & Harbans Mukhia, History will hold him responsible for having groomed three generations of Indian students on negating the Islamic genocide on the Hindus. In “Communalism and the writing of Indian history”, he Thapar & Mukhia once professors at the JNU in New Delhi, the Mecca of secularism and negationism in India, denied the Muslim genocide by replacing it instead with a conflict of classes. Chandra and Thapar also defended Aurangzeb, this monster, who not only murdered Hindus and razed their temples, but also poisoned his father, decapitated his brother and imprisoned his sons, by writing that Aurangzeb’s supposed intolerance, is little more than a hostile legend based on isolated acts such as the erection of a mosque on a temple site in Benares. How can one be so dishonest, or so blind? He is finally responsible with Irfan Habib to have invented a lie, according to which the Babri mosque forcibly replaced a Hindu temple, is nothing but a myth purposely created in the 19th century by the British.

Letter from New York

 It’s lunchtime at the home of the Consul General of India in New York, Shri. Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay. A young Hindu American arrives. Her name is Suchitra Vijayan (https://www.facebook.com/suchitra.vijayan) and she teaches part time in Columbia University, one of the most prestigious in the USA & plans to start there a course on South Asian Human Rights. She says that she is first going to travel to India to interview Kashmiri Muslims and Christian Nagas – obviously an anti Indian agenda – while her Indian consular mentor smiles proudly…

 Welcome to America, the home of millions of Indians, some of whom make a living out of bashing India in American universities and in US publications.

 Let’s face it: Indians who emigrate to America most of the time merge totally in the American way of life and their children never come back to their homeland. The culprit of course is Indian education, which mass produces brilliant Indians, who are only good for export, as they are not taught to be proud of their own culture, the way French are proud to be French or the Americans proud to be Americans. As a result, American Indians know nothing about Kalidasa, probably one the greatest poets ever, or Shivaji Maharaj, who is on par with Napoleon, or Sri Aurobindo, India’s greatest contemporary philosopher – but all about Shakespeare, the latest Dan Brown novel, or the best Italian restaurant in New York.

 This is the greatest brain drain in the world, which allowed the Silicon Valley to flourish (80% Indian engineers), or the American medical system to expand (60% Indians).

 Compare this to the American Chinese: not only do they unabashedly stand out as Chinese, but they repatriate many of their funds to China and even go back to the mainland, to be part of the great Chinese economic boom.

 American Indians rave about the American way of life, but it burns out a human being in 30 or 40 years, starting early for work – by 7 am, America’s millions of highways are already clogged with traffic; the fierce competitiveness in the work place – you can be fired in a minute for no reason; the late hours and heartburn produced over the years by food too quickly swallowed on the run or in the car; the immense stress at airports where security – thanks to continuing terrorism – has reached inhuman proportions…

 If only American Indians did retain a bit of their Indian-ness… Today’s Hollywood stars all do yoga, India’s gift to the world. Yet not only it is not taught in Indian schools and universities as it should, but our Hindu Americans do not practice it. What else? Pranayama is the ancient Indian science of breathing. Through it you can not only gain more energy, but also distress naturally and balance your mind. It is also a perfectly secular science: respiration has no religion and a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian breathe the same air. In fact, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has revived and modernized pranayama, has many Muslims and Christians teachers & disciples. Yet, neither is it taught in India, nor our Indian Americans seem to practice it much. What about meditation, this most ancient technique, that has again no religion, and can be practiced by anybody, with wonderful effects on the mind and the body? In fact American companies have begun introducing meditation in their seminars and it is becoming mainstream in the USA. Does that mean that meditation is taught in Indians schools, as it should be, or that our Indian Americans practice it? Not at all. What about Ayurveda, the oldest medical science still in practice, that knew 3000 years before western medicine, that many diseases have a psychosomatic origin? Do our Hindu Americans use Ayurveda? Unlikely.

 Yet, what would happen if Indian Americans practiced a little bit of that Indian-ness? They would shine, be an example to their fellow Americans, and make India proud. Instead they want to become more Americans than the Americans, and merge themselves totally in American culture. In this process, they drop their unique identity and are a loss not only to India, but also to America, as they bring nothing new to American culture.

 And because they do not stand out, they allow these multiple South Asian groups that sprout everywhere, to be dominated by hostile Indian Americans, who for instance convinced for ten years the US Government to deny Mr Modi a visa.

 At the same time it is true that America, whatever its faults, has always stood up for freedom and democracy. It did so during the II World War, when it saved Europe from Nazi domination. It is doing so today, by being the only country in the world willing to take on terrorism head on. Americans are friendly, hard working, and it should soon dawn upon them that India is their natural political ally, in an Asia confronted with terrorism born out of Pakistan, Afghanistan or Indonesia. It is also the obvious democratic, pro western and liberal economic destination to counterbalance China’s aggressive hegemony in Asia.

 Meanwhile, it is very unfortunate that the second highest Indian official in the USA, endorses and promotes anti-Indian agendas, whereas he should be the first one to hunt them out. This Nehruvian mind-set in diplomats has got to stop.

 

Francois Gautier

ABOUT INDIA’S SUPPORT OF PALESTINE

One was very surprised to witness India’s condemnation of Israel at the UN. This was an old Congress cynical policy of supporting Palestine, with the idea that it will please Indian Muslims, who in turn would vote for the Congress. But for a BJP Govt to do that? What was the reasoning behind it?

 On the other hand the widespread support of the Indian Muslim community for the Palestine, which can be seen in millions of tweets and FB posts, is much more natural and logic. At the same time, Indian Muslims and Muslims worldwide, should ask themselves this question: Are Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya or Kashmir, really persecuted? Has not Islam been, throughout its history, a religion of conquerors, which ruthlessly put down entire civilizations, and converted them at the point of their swords? Even today, Islam is still merciless, as we see in Iraq, where the so called Caliphate is shooting prisoners lying on the ground, beheading their enemies and sticking their head on poles. In Kashmir, which also portrays itself as a persecuted minority, Muslims in the Valley, chased out 400.000 Kashmiri Hindus, who became refugees in their own country and never shed a tear on them.

 Muslims today complain that they are unfairly targeted, that they are subjected to needless harassment. But what started at airports could soon extend to railway stations, borders, shopping malls, even… One day, it could very well be that anybody who looks like a Muslim will be regarded suspiciously in the streets.

 At first glance it looks really unjust. Yet, if we observe closely the events in the past ten years, we see that not only the Muslim community has never cared to collectively condemn the atrocities which are committed all around the world by Muslim terrorists, such as the terrible killings in Nigeria or the execution of foreign nationals in the Algerian gas plant, but that many of them condone them in the name of Kashmir, Palestine or Chechnya.

 So will Islam ultimately convert itself? Because the problem is not with Muslims, but with the Koran. This is why it appears so unfair that innocent, peace loving Muslims are targeted today by security forces. Will then Islam, instead of feeling totally paranoiac, thinking that it is under attack everywhere, whether it is Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, or France, realize that it is actually Islam which is the aggressor all over the world, that Muslims who have settled in France or India, or the UK, and which these countries have sincerely accepted, giving them citizenship and the same rights as any French, Indian or German citizens, are actually biting the hand that fed them ? French Muslims, for instance, recently rioted in the suburbs of Paris in the name of Palestine and attacked Jewish shops and restaurants. Will the mullahs of Islam accept to sit down and reform the Koran, which is a perfectly acceptable scripture for the Middle ages, when mentalities were very different, but which today still propagates an aggressive, exclusive, and dangerous zeal in its children?

 This is what we are all hoping for. This is what most Western leaders secretly crave for, when they go out of their way to praise and favour the moderate Muslims of their country. This is what spiritual leaders like His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are attempting, with a certain amount of success, by speaking to Muslim leaders, fostering ties in Muslim countries such as Kashmir, Iraq or Afghanistan, or reforming Kashmiri terrorists through meditation.

 Unfortunately, time is running out. Muslims in India and elsewhere in the world do not understand is that we are slowly losing our innocence. At the moment, Islam still benefits from the sympathy of the media, which constantly negates Islamic fundamentalism, but it is slowly losing that sympathy. Sooner or later nearly the entire world will wage a war against Islam, from Europe to China, from the Ural to Pakistan.

 There will also come a time, which is not very far, where everybody will become wary of anything Islamic. Anyone looking slightly Muslim, in a plane, in a train, in a shopping mall, will be looked upon suspiciously. Anybody with a Muslim name will have problems entering any country. Those who have Muslim friends will quietly stop seeing them or find some excuses not to meet them. It is already happening. Muslims will cry themselves hoarse and speak of persecution. But they will have only themselves to blame: they did not speak up as a community when innocents all over the world were killed in the name of their religion .

 And this may be the way Islam might slowly disappear. Muslims with a little common sense, or just maybe with a sense of survival, will start changing their names quietly, they will stop going to the Mosque, they will send their children to Christian or Hindu schools. Governments will clamp down so hard on their own Muslims, there will be so many restrictions on them, that entire families, will move out of the Muslim enclaves you find all over the world, to resettle elsewhere. Jehadis facing certain death even if they are not suicide bombers, will melt back in civilian life. Muslims will slowly lose faith in the righteousness and the power of their own religion, become atheists, or even embrace back Hinduism, as 90% of Muslims in India are Hindu converts. It may take a few decades, a hundred years even, But Islam will surely disappear in the alleys of history and what now appears like a menacing, dangerous, foreboding force, will be looked upon as just another religion that came and passed away..

 Unless Islam converts itself…

 François Gautier

As they were a few negative comments about my tweet on the Indian craze for the US, I thought that this article woul be appropriate. FG

WHAT IS IT TO BE AN INDIAN ABROAD TODAY ?

 San Francisco. What is it to be an Indian today? What is meant by Indian-ness ? What is it to be an Indian abroad – in the United States, for instance ? How much of yourself do you give to your American identity – and how much space do you preserve for your Indian-ness ? These are the questions that Indian expatriates should ask themselves today. For we see many of the children of Indians who settled in the US twenty or thirty years ago, merge themselves totally in the American way of life, speak with an American accent, eat Mac Donald, think American… and in the process forget all about their wonderful Indian culture…

 What is it in the American way of life, which fascinates so much Indians ? The fast life ? Right: fast is exciting; but Americans live so fast, eating their breakfast in their cars on the way to work, gulping down these huge amounts of meat and French fries at lunch or dinner, always on the move, that not only they often grow immensely fat, but also catch ulcers and get heart attacks by the time they reach sixty five. What else dazzles Indians in the American way of life ? The lights? True, New York is a fascinating city, with its illuminated skyscrapers, its million of pulsating lights, its giant electronic billboards, its fancy bars, that one feels a kind of throbbing vitality entering oneself as one walks the streets by night. But what a waste of energy, when the world is fast losing its sources of energies; and is isn’t this a kind of artificial vitality, that fades away when one wakes-up in the morning, with a hangover and one has to face the reality of life ? What else ? America’s Nature ? No doubt, the United States boasts some wonderful pieces of nature and Americans have shown us what it means to plant trees and live in a green environment: even Washington is densely wooded. But Nature can also be an illusion here: a highway is never very far from the forest, with its thousands of cars pouring out millions of cubic feet of carbon dioxide, which annihilates natures’ bounty, as the Los Angeles smog amply demonstrates. Besides, America is an unending suburban concrete jungle, with its boring repetition of mega stores, parking lots, and KFC’s. And when you have seen a city, you have seen them all. What else ? The “quality” of American life: barbecue parties, beaches, tattoos, fun and frolic? Yes, except that one out of three American couples divorce within three years, one out of four Americans consults a psychiatrist for depression, bulimia, schizophrenia or plain boredom, and American children regularly indulge in shooting other children, just because they are exposed to so much violence…

 

Is this the legacy you want to bequeath to your children, O Indian brothers and sisters, who are longing so much for the American way of life ? For this great brain drain, this bleeding of India’s heart and lungs, which has been going for so long, does not affect only the ordinary middle and upper class “secular” Indian, but also many good Hindus, who put their children in the best US universities and accept the fact that these children will settle in the American way of life and will probably never go back to India. True, their kids get heftier pay checks in the US , better facilities, they escape the Indian bureaucracy, red tape, corruption, slowness… But what are they going to bequeath to their own children in the long run: insecurity, violence, divorce, depression and above all their offspring, unknowingly, will be afflicted by a loss of identity : they will not know, nor feel anymore in themselves, as their grandparents did, this natural space of Indian-ness, which automatically confers certain qualities. What is that Indian-ness ?

 

Firstly and foremost: “I accept you; I accept that you may be White or Black, Red or Yellow, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim”. Not only that, “but I am even ready to go and worship in a church or a mosque, besides my temple.” “I accept that my Gods are avatars, incarnations of the Divine, but so is Jesus Christ, and also Buddha and even Mohamed”. This an extraordinary statement and a marvellous instrument towards world peace, at a time when the two great monotheist religions of the world, Islam and Christianity still say: “there is only one true God in the world – mine- and if you worship any other god, you are an Infidel and a Pagan and it is my right to convert you by any means, or even to kill you”. The 11th September 2001 attacks are nothing but a result of that dangerous theorem. As a result, Indians adapt easily wherever they go, particularly in the West, as they are very open to western culture. Of course, Indians also go to the other extreme: “not only I accept you, but I am going to become exactly like you – no even Whiter than the White: I am going to denigrate my own culture, spit on my religion, belittle my countrymen”. This is why you come across so often in the US in negative articles on India written by Indians – nay by Hindus. The Gujurat massacres were actually a great opportunity for these Hindu haters, such as Pankaj Mishra, to come out full blast and prove to the world that India is a land of Hindu fundamentalists where nobody is safe, particularly the Muslims “who are regularly victims of pogroms”. P.Mishra conveniently forgot to mention that India is an extraordinary country of freedom, where all persecuted religious minorities in the world have found refuge over the centuries, whether the Jews, the Parsis, the Syrian Christians, or today the Tibetans.

 

What else ? “I have inherited from my ancestors the tools to become a better man, whatever my religion, ethnicity and profession: a better Christian, a better Hindu, a better Muslim, carpenter, or CEO, IT engineer, or sailor”. What are these tools ? Hata-yoga, India’s gift to the world, which has been copied and imitated everywhere (although Time magazine did a story on yoga without mentioning the name “India” once). What else ? Meditation, this extraordinary technique of coming back to one’s Self, of settling the mind and the body, which is today practiced by millions around the world – another bequest of India to humanity. Pranayama, the science of respiration, perfected by Indians for three millenniums. “Does the breath have any religion”, asks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living movement, which has spread today in 150 countries ?

 

What first generations Indians in the States should ask themselves today is “How can I repay my debt to India” ? After all not only they got a nearly free education in India which was good enough for them to obtain well paid jobs in the US, but did they not also inherit that certain Indian-ness, which has been a great help to adapt to the American way of life? As for second, or third, or even fourth generations Indian Americans, what they should tell themselves is “”what can I do for my country” ? “In what way can I contribute to this great nation which is India, which is so maligned and sidelined in the United States” ? And the first thing they can do is to counteract the highly unfair and biased press coverage which India gets in America by writing to editors, or challenging the shameful coverage of New York Times (which went all out against Mr Narendra Modi a few months back), or canvassing their elected representatives.

 

Finally, Mr Obama thinks that the problem will be over once he fully withdraws his troops from Afghanistan. He makes a big mistake there: he should have given India a bigger say on the post Afghanistan scenario. By implicitly trusting Pakistan, who actually created the Taliban, he will leave chaos behind him. Afghanistan will be again the prey of the Taliban and jehadis will be free to fully direct their terror towards Kashmir and India – and eventually against the US, which they bitterly hate. Is it not time for Indians in the United States to exert influence on the US Congress and convince them that India is the natural ally – pro-western, democratic, liberal – in Asia, preyed by Islamic fundamentalism and hegemonic China? But for that, Hindu groups should start regrouping themselves under one single “Indian American” banner. They would thus become a powerful lobby, in the way the US Jewish influence American politics…

François Gautier