Author Archives: François Gautier

In the wake of the Nobel Peace Prize to #Kailash Satyarthi, I thought it would be worthwhile to post this article I had writen on Mother Teresa for the Indian Express. The difference between Mother Teresa and Satyarthi, however much good work they have done, is that she Mother Teresa wanted to convert India to Christianity and #KailashSatyarthi to Marxism

EXPLODING THE MOTHER TERESA , AMARTYA SEN & KAILASK SATYARTHi MYTHS

arose after the death of Mother Teresa:

1) What did Mother Teresa really stand for?

2) Why do Indians defend her so ardently?

Foremost one should say in defence of Mother Teresa that she certainly did saintly work. After all, there is no denying that it takes a Westerner to pick up dying people in the streets of Calcutta and raise abandoned orphans, a thankless task if there is one. Indians themselves, and particularly the Hindus, even though their religion has taught them compassion for 4,000 years, have become very callous towards their less fortunate brethren. This said, one may wonder: What did Mother Teresa really stand for?

Was caring for the dying and orphaned children her only goal? Well, if you have observed her carefully over the years, you will notice that she did not say much. She did speak against contraception and abortion, in a country of nearly one billion, where an ever growing population is spiking whatever little economic progress is made, where the masses make life more and more miserable, invading the cities, crowding their streets and polluting the environment; where for 40 years the Indian government has directed a courageous and democratic birth control programme (this must be said, for China has achieved demographic control through autocratic means).

What else did Mother Teresa say: she spoke of the dying in the streets of Calcutta, of course, of the poor of India left unattended, of the misery of the cities. Fair enough, but then it should have been pointed out to her, that she projected to the whole world an image of India which is entirely negative: of poverty beyond humanity, of a society which abandons its children, of dying without dignity. OK, there is some truth in it. But then it may be asked again: does Mother Teresa (and Kailask Satyarthi, who at the moment, could say a few good things about his country – for instance that there are tens of millions of children in ndia of all ages, castes, social background, including million of girls, who are loved and cherished and lea a happy childhood) ever attempt to counterbalance this negative image of India, of whom she was the vector, by a more positive one? After all she has lived here so long that she knew the country as well as any Indian, having even adopted Indian Nationality. Surety she could have defended her own country? She could have for example spoken about India’s infinite spirituality, her exquisite culture, the amazing gentleness of its people, the brilliance of its children (isn’t it Mr Satyarthi???)…

Unfortunately, Mother Teresa said nothing. For the truth is that she stood for the most orthodox Christian conservatism (& Satyarthi for a Marxist outlook on India). There is no doubt that ultimately Mother Teresa’s goal was utterly simple: to convert India to Christianity, the only true religion in her eyes.

Did you notice that she has never once said a good word about Hinduism, which after all is the religion of 800 million people of the country she said she loved, and has been their religion for 6000 years. This is because deep inside her, Mother Teresa considered, as all good Christians do, particularly the conservative ones, Hinduism a pagan religion which adores a multitude of heathen gods and should be eliminated (and probably Mr Satyarthi, like a good Marxist, does not think much about Hinduism, his religion, which he probably associates with Brahmanism, caste abuses & bonded labor).

The second point then is: why does India’s intelligentsia, most of whom are born Hindus, defend the Mother Teresa (or see the Times of India raving praises of #KailashSatyarthi ‘building bridges between Pakistan & India’)? These are intelligent, educated people, they must surely have some inkling of Mother Teresa’s true purpose, or of Satyarthi hard bound Marxism, as outlines in the New York Times article?). Or do they? Do the Jain brothers or Rajdeep Sardesai, he of the Times Square fame, understand what Mother Teresa or Sayarthi really stands for? That they are basically hostile to their own culture, their religion, their way of life? Does Sardesai know that Hindu society has always been the target of Christians since their coming here, & of Marxists since 1947? Does he understand that he and a thousand of his peers, who belong to the intellectual elite of India and keep praising Mother Teresa, Amartya Sen or Kalash Satyarthi, are doing harm to their country and opening it to its enemies? The Christian & Marxist influences are very strong in India today: it shapes the minds of its young people, in a subtle way, through its schools, which many of the children of the rich attend. It moulds the thinking of the tribes Christianity has converted, particularly in the North-East, where the missionaries have always covertly encouraged separatism and Marxism still rules supreme in India’s journalist schools.

But ultimately it must be concluded that the Indian intelligentsia who defend Mother Teresa? Amartya Sen, or Binayak Sen, and are constantly attacking Hinduism, as Sardesai does, are a product of three centuries of English and Christian colonialism, which successfully created an Indian elite cut off from its roots and hostile to its own culture. Mother Teresa, Amartya and Binayak Sen and Satyarthi are an incarnation of Western post- colonialism and the Nobel Prize he got is their endorsement of their work,

#BoycottHaider. In the wake of #VishalBhardwaj’s brilliant, but anti-national film, which makes villains of Indian soldiers & heroes of terrorists, it’s relevant to have a good look at Kashmir.

I have been covering Kashmir as a political correspondent for nearly 20 years and it has always been my feeling that Kashmiris, from the humble sikhara to the High Court lawyer not only dislike India, but would want nothing better than be attached to Pakistan. But various Indian Governments have preferred to fool the public by saying that it was only a ‘tiny’ minority which wants independence, while the majority of Kashmiri Muslims are ‘fed-up’ with militancy. The frequent massive demonstrations in Srinagar for Separation have come as a slap to the face of the successive Government. The priests and attacks against the Armanath pilgrimage have also deflated the financial sham of the Valley of Kashmir, who has been subsidized for decades at the tone of thousands of crores each year. The anger of the Hindu pilgrims is not only about being denied basic facilities on the way to Armanath, whereas Haj pilgrims get royal facilities and subsidies, but also about the injustice of Kashmiri Muslims settling all over India and making business in India, while no Indian can buy land in Kashmir, without speaking of the disproportionate amount of MP’s which the Valley has.

Western correspondents (and unfortunately often Indian journalists) have lionized for three decades the Kashmiri “freedom fighters” and demonized the “bad” Indian army (notice how the Indian Press always gleefully reports suicides of soldiers in Kashmir or any army scandal). But they should do well to remember Sri Aurobindo, who 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 ! Because nobody cares to remember today that Kashmiris were almost entirely Hindus or Buddhists, before they were converted by the invading Muslims six centuries ago. True, today these Muslims in Kashmir have not only accepted as their own a religion which their ancestors had rejected, but they have also often taken-up the strident cry of Islam. Does any one remember too, that at the beginning of the century, there still were 25% Hindus in the Kashmir valley and that today the last 350.000 Kashmiri Pandits have become refugees in their own land, they who originally inhabited the valley, at least 5000 years ago, a much bigger ethnic cleansing than the one of the Bosnian Muslims?

It’s a common refrain today in most newspapers to say that since Independence, India alienated Kashmiris through years of wrong policies. But those who have been in close contact with Kashmir, even in its heydays of tourism, know for a fact that as a general rule, there was only one thing that attached Kashmiris to India, it was the marvellous financial gains and state bounties that they made out of tourism. But those Kashmiris who are now settled in India make no bones about where their loyalty lies. Talk to them, specially if you are a Westerner, and after some time, they’ll open their hearts to you; whether it is the owner of this Kashmir emporium in a five star hotel in Madras, or the proprietor of that famous travel agency in Delhi: suddenly, after all the polite talk, they burst out with their loathing of India and their attachment to an independent Kashmir.

Nowadays Omar Abdullah and others want us to believe that with a certain degree of autonomy, Kashmiris will be appeased. This may be true in most Indian states, who are often rightly fed-up with Centre’s constant interference in their internal affairs, but basically, there is only one thing which Kashmiris are craving for and that is a plebiscite on whether they want to stay with India or secede…The answer in the Kashmir valley, would be a massive “no” to India (98%?). And as for Abdullah, he would be quickly eliminated by the militants, who would immediately seize control of Kashmir and attach it to Pakistan.

The Indian security forces in Kashmir are accused of all kind of atrocities. #VishalBhardwaj emphasizes it with a heavy hand in his film #Haider. But this is war, not a tea party! If India decides to keep Kashmir, it has to do so according to the rules set by the militants: violence, death and treachery are the order of the day. And men are men: after having been ambushed repeatedly, after having seen their comrades die, after weeks and weeks of waiting in fear, one day, they just explode in a burst of outrage and excesses. It should also be understood that the hardline Sunni influence of Pakistan and even Afghanistan, has radicalized the once softer sufi side of Kashmir and that it’s a painful, deadly and uphill battle for the Indian army, which should have the support of Indians.

#BoycottHaider. read full text of Vishal Bhardwaj’s letter urging Indians to vote for Congress

Dear Fellow-Indians,

The best thing about our country is its cultural diversity, its pluralism – the co-existence of a number of religions and ethnicities over centuries, and hence the blooming of multiple streams of intellectual and artistic thought. And, this has been possible only because Indian society has prided itself on being essentially secular in character, rejecting communal hatred, embracing tolerance.

Today, that very sense of India is vulnerable. The need of the hour is to protect our country’s secular foundation. Undoubtedly, corruption and governance are important issues, but we will have to vigilantly work out ways of holding our government accountable to that. However, one thing is clear: India’s secular character is not negotiable! Not now, not ever.

As Indian citizens who love our motherland, we appeal to you to vote for the secular party, which is most likely to win in your constituency.
Jai Hind!

Yours

Imtiaz Ali (Writer-Director: Highway, Jab We Met)
Vishal Bhardwaj (Writer-Director: Omkara, Maqbool)
Govind Nihalani (Director: Tamas, Ardh Satya)
Saeed Mirza (Director: Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai)
Zoya Akhtar (Writer-Director: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)
Anand Patwardhan (Documentary Film-maker: Jai Bhim Comrade)
Vijay Krishna Acharya (Director: Dhoom 3)
Kabir Khan (Director: Ek Tha Tiger)
Kundan Shah (Director: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro)
Nandita Das (Director-Actress: Firaaq, Fire)
Hansal Mehta (Director: Shahid)
Anjum Rajabali (Writer: Raajneeti, Satyagraha)
Shubha Mudgal (Singer-Musician)
Swara Bhaskar (Actor: Raanjhana, Tanu Weds Manu)
Aditi Rao Hydari (Actor: Murder 3, Rockstar)
Mahesh Bhatt (Director-Producer: Saaraansh, Jannat)
Anil Mehta (Cinematographer: Lagaan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
Saket Chaudhary (Writer-Director: Shaadi Ke Side Effects)
Rakesh Sharma (Documentary Film-maker: Final Solution)
Vinay Shukla (Writer-Director: Godmother)
Kamlesh Pandey (Writer: Rang De Basanti)
Robin Bhatt (Writer: Chennai Express, Krish 3)
Aneesh Pradhan (Tabla Maestro)
Sanjay Chhel (Writer: Rangeela, Yes Boss)
Sameer Anjan (Lyricist: Dhoom 3, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai)
Imteyaz Husain (Writer: Parinda)
Rajesh Dubey (TV Writer: Balika Vadhu)
Vinod Ranganath (TV Writer: Shanti, Swaabhiman)
Jalees Sherwani (Lyricist: Dabang)
Amitabh Shukla (Film Editor: Lagaan)
Sukant Panigrahi (Art Director)
Surabhi Sharma (Documentary Film-maker)
Anusha Khan (Producer)
Bishwadeep Chatterjee (Sound Designer: 3 Idiots)
C.K. Muraleedharan (Cinematographer: 3 Idiots)
Dr Manasee Palshikar (Screenwriter-Teacher)
Jyoti Dogra (Actor:
Joy Sengupta (Actor)
Kauser Munir (Lyricist: Dhoom 3)
Mazahir Rahim (Screenwriter)
Nishant Radhakrishnan (Film Editor: Satyamev Jayate)
Preety Ali (Producer)
Priyanka Borpujari (Screenwriter)
Rajashree (Filmmaker-Teacher)
Ruchika Oberoi (Film-maker)
Rukmini Sen (Screenwriter and TV Journalist)
Sameera Iyengar (Theatre activist)
Sharad Tripathi (Screenwriter)
Shivani Tibrewala Chand (Playwright)
Siminatini Dhuru (Activist)
Sona Jain (Film-maker)

Tushar Gandhi (Activist)
Teesta Setalvaad (Activist)
Javed Anand (Activist)

Will India ever learn its lessons? China has again shown that it is not be trusted. It pretends to shake your hand and then slaps you in the face. At the same time that President Xi came to visit India, Chinese soldiers willfully made an incursion in Indian territory.

Did you know that the Chinese have used the Tibetan plateau to point their nuclear missiles at North Indian cities (exactly 90 IRBM -US Senate Foreign Committee report). More than that, India could never see that Tibet was the ideal buffer between her and China, if denuclearised and demilitarised, as the Dalai-lama has proposed in the European Parliament of Strasbourg. And Nehru’s betrayal of Tibet will come back to haunt India, as it did recently, when the Indian occupation of Kashmir was equaled with the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Chinese killed 1,2 million Tibetans and wiped out in 45 years a wonderful 2000 year old civilisation. On the other hand, in Kashmir, there has been no genocide, only war casualties and India is fighting to retain what has been hers for 5000 years.

Tibet and China, the natural brothers

Did you know that Tibetan medicine is one of the greatest surviving natural medical systems of the world, along with Ayurveda ? Tibetan medicine strives to keep in balance within the body the subtle flow of energy, or Nyipa sum, which is made out of the five elements: air, fire, water, earth and space. And as in Ayurveda, 95% of Tibetan medicine is based on herbs, and precious metals, which are used for the seven kinds of precious pills known as Rinchen rilpo. The methods of diagnosis differ though from Ayurveda – and thereby lies the genius of Tibetan medicine – as the observation of the tongue, along with questioning and palpation, is the principal tool of diagnosis. Tibetan medicine always treats the cause or the root of the disease and illness and not the symptoms. The school of medicine began to flourish 1,200 years ago when Tibet drew on medicinal knowledge from China, Persia and India, buts its origins are shrouded in mystery and many of its secrets have been passed on by word of mouth or are buried in Tibetan writings. The four main medical ‘Tantras’, said to be taught by Buddha himself and written down in Sanskrit more than 800 years ago, are still used by Tibetan doctors today.

And what about Tibetan spirituality ? It is probably one of the finest in the world and as in Tibetan medicine, the emphasis is on self development. There are two ways to create happiness, says Tibetan spirituality: the first is external. By obtaining better clothes, better shelter, and better friends, we can find a certain measure of happiness and satisfaction. The second is through mental development, which yields inner happiness. However, these two approaches are not equally viable, as external happiness cannot last long without its counterpart…. “But, if you have peace of mind, emphasizes His Holiness the Dalai-lama, you can find happiness even under the most difficult circumstances”. The Dalai Lama also reminds us that developing peace of mind means paying attention to our daily attitudes and choices as well as taking the time to meditate and be prayerful.

Tibetan Buddhism helps us too in preparing for a good death by coming to terms with negative emotions – such as anger, attachment, hatred and jealousy – that restrict our freedom, block our joy and cause us to experience suffering.

Reading the remarkable Tibetan Book of Living and Dying makes it easier to overcome your own fear of dying and helps you take the responsibility to prepare for your death. It also helps you prepare yourself for the death and dying of your dear and loved ones. Tibetan spirituality could also offer a word or two of advice to terrorists who blow themselves up or ram planes against buildings: “There is no such thing as a doomed soul in Buddhism. But there is such a thing as a prolonged period of suffering over many lives brought on by negative karma. Karma truly means cause and effect, says again the Dalai-lama.’ The terrorists, by killing so many people, are creating a negative karma that keeps them in hell for a long time through many lifetimes of suffering.” And indeed, If you see the Dalai lama today, he radiates so much peace and compassion.

Unfortunately, China does not seem to understand the great value of Tibetan medicine and spirituality. A report by the United States Congress (Resolution Number 63) states that since 1950, when the Chinese invaded this wonderful, peace loving nation, which boasted the highest (although quite feudal) spiritualised society in the world, 1,2 million Tibetans have been killed, either directly: shooting, death squads, torture – or indirectly: concentration camps, prison, or famines. 6254 monasteries, most of them ancient, have been razed to the ground. 60% of religious, historical and cultural archives have been destroyed. A quarter million Chinese troops are occupying Tibet. One Tibetan out of ten is still in jail. There are today In Tibet 7,5 million Chinese settlers for six million Tibetans- in many places such as the capital, Lhassa, Tibetans are outnumbered two to one…

It is not over at all: The summer and autumn of 2001 saw the dismantling of the Serthar Institute, the leading centre for Buddhist scholarship and practice on the Tibetan plateau. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok founded Serthar Institute in Larung Valley near Serthar town, Karze Prefecture, Sichuan Province in 1980, to meet the pressing need for renewal of meditation and scholarship all over Tibet in the wake of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-77). This non-sectarian academy of over 8,000 monks and nuns, drew nearly 1,000 Mainland and Overseas Chinese practitioners as students. They were the first group to face expulsion and deportation to their places of origin in June and July 2001. The Chinese- appointed “work teams” next targeted the over 4,000 Tibetan nuns forming Serthar’s affiliated nunnery. The official Beijing directive was to reduce their number to 400 and destroy their meditation huts to ensure the eviction was permanent. According to western monitoring agencies, such as Human Rights Watch, over 1,000 dwellings had been destroyed at Serthar by the beginning of this year, thousands of monks and nuns had been successfully evicted, and Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok is believed to be incommunicado in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan.

Places like the Serthar Institute, house Tibetan treasures – spiritual, medical, cultural and social – which should be conserved, otherwise they will be lost to humanity for ever. “The Chinese should understand that they are destroying the last great living spirituality of their continent. The highlighting of the secrets and the vast knowledge based on the various inner sciences adopted by the Tibetans, goes beyond the research with sophisticated equipment and the Chinese Government should take-up its study in earnest”, says Claude Arpi, the author of the Fate of Tibet (Har Anand, New Delhi). “Above all, he continues, it is ethical learning which did not need the sacrifice of lives. These sacrifices are both in terms of lives lost and pain induced. It is clear that China, which has embarked on a fury of materialistic endeavours, needs spirituality”.

Germans have taken up the language of Sanskrit through their ancient roots and this sets an example for a country like China to take up the wealth of

knowledge that is prevalent in Tibet. Tibet is a land of inner sciences and self development processes which can be learnt through various disciplines. These need to be preserved like treasures for the world before it is too late. Tibet in no way presents any danger to China. The Dalai Lama himself said recently : “I am only asking for the Tibetans that they should have full power in the fields where they are capable of managing their own affairs. In the case of defence or foreign affairs, the Chinese can manage our affairs. We are not asking for a separation from China”.

François Gautier

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?
———————-
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