Francois Gautier FAQs – 2

A) Background

Q. Where were you born and brought up, education?

A. I was born in Paris in 1950. I had a strict upper-class catholic education, but I never really fitted in the system and revolted against it quite early. Thus, I was sent to many famous boarding schools all over Europe, from which I was regularly kicked out ! My family wanted me to be a businessman and I attended an American business school in Paris called IDRAC, but my interest was in writing and I quit to work in a small newspaper, which quickly folded; then I wrote the script of a film for a friend (whose father, a famous film director, had given him 30.000 francs to do his own film). Needless to say, the film was never released and soon after, I left for India : I had just turned nineteen.

Q. Tenure: how long, any affiliations other than Le Figaro ?

A. When I reached India, I stopped writing for a long time, except my own diaries and I went into other spheres – meditation and gardening, for instance ! In 1982, at the occasion of the Asian Games in Delhi, I chanced upon an article (on the Asian games) in a French newspaper. It had all the usual clichés on India : poverty, fakirs, Mother Teresa… So I wrote a letter of correction to the Editor.. and he offered me to write an article, which I did. And then another article followed and another and another… I then started writing and photographing for different publications and finally ended-up being the correspondent in South Asia, for the Geneva-based « Journal de Geneve », which at one time used to be one of the best international newspapers in Europe.  Five and a half years ago, I switched to Figaro, for which I now work exclusively, except for the occasional photo feature (on Kalarapiyat for instance).

Q.  How interested in Indology — what set it off, what caused it?

A. Indology grew on me the moment I started getting out of Auroville (which is a bit of an island in the midst of India). In fact I would say that India grows on those (Westerners) who LIVE India in whatever field (dance, music, spirituality, crafts, photography – but not journalism). Also I have an interest in spirituality and it opens-up so many different areas of Indian life.

Q. Married to Indian, other roots in India?

A. I have been married nine years to Namrita, who is from Delhi (mother is Hindu, father Sikh). Being married to a « daughter of India » is a natural complement of my being in this country for thirty years. My roots are very much in this country, even though I remain a Westerner. But I have no intention of going back to France, except for yearly visits to meet my family.

Q. Relationship to Auroville?

A. I came to India with the first caravan for the international city of Auroville – and even though I spent seven years in the Sri Aurobindo ashram Pondichery, because I was immediately attracted  by this totally Indian and spiritualised atmosphere (lots of Westerners in Auroville), my dedication is to Auroville, where I have spent most of the last 22 years. It is this ATTEMPT at  human unity which makes Auroville great (because so far, we cannot boast of many achievements !) and the fact that such a place exists and that it is in India (where else could it be but in the land of great tolerance and spiritual experiment ?) is a sign of hope for the rest of humanity.

B) Publications and books

Q. I have read excerpts from “Rewriting Indian History” on the web at http://www.hindu.org · Relationship if any, with Hinduism Today?

A. Not directly. Sitaram Goel, Publisher of the Voice of India ( For a long time, Sitaram Goel and Ram Swarup, who just passed-away, single handedly defended Hinduism in the face of the Marxist-Christian-Muslim onslaught in India) had read some of my articles in Blitz magazine and asked me if he could publish a series of them under a book form. I answered that I would rather write the book from scratch and thus was born “The Wonder that IS India”. Later, Hinduism Today, a remarkable set-up, which for the first time in the history of Hinduism is attempting to rationalise and gather together this great knowledge to present it to the world, offered to put it on their site in the net.

Q. You take exception to Basham’s book: because it thinks of India only in the past tense?

A. Not only does he think that India was great solely in the past, but his idea of India’s greatness is very selective; furthermore, he subscribes to the usual western slogans : the eternal clichés propagated by a few Christian missionaries and “enlightened secularists” on the Indian caste system. “The Aryans anointed themselves the ruling class (= Brahmins and Kshatriyas), while the poor conquered Dravidians (Harappans), became the slaves, (= Vaishyas and  Shudras)”. Or: “As they settled among darker aboriginals, the Aryans seem to have laid greater stress than before on purity of blood and class divisions hardened…” (36, Wonder that was India). Or else this monstrosity: “…In the Vedic period, a situation arose rather like that prevailing in South Africa today, with a dominant fair minority, striving to maintain its purity and its supremacy over a darker majority”… (138, Wonder). Poor India, being granted the honour by Mr Basham, of being the founding father of racism! But it is thus that Mr Basham lays the ground for his later theories on what he calls Hindu imperialism.

Q.  Quoting from Koenrad Elst (whom I have interviewed in the past), Isn’t Elst dismissed by some as not a serious scholar?

A. It is very unfortunate that Konrad Elst is not able to publish his writings but in Hindu oriented magazines or publishing houses, for he is not only one of the most thorough and knowledgeable scholars on India, but also, because he is a Westerner, he is able to perceive things that Indians themselves, blinded by two centuries of colonialism and 50 years of so-called secularism, do not see any more. I hope that History will grant him his due place in the fight for Indian Renaissance.

Q. What other books have you written? Tell me more about them.

A. I have written “Rewriting Indian History”, published by Vikas. Next February “Un autre regard sur l’Inde” (a different look at India), will be published in France and Switzerland by Editions du Tricorne and I have just finished a novel called “The last caravan to India”, which I hope to publish first in France and later in India, after getting it translated in English.

Q. What are you currently working on? Kalari Payat?

A. I am working on two books in collaboration with Indian photographer Raghu Rai. The first one indeed is on Kalaripayat, which as you may know is the ancestor of all great Asian martial arts, such as judo and karate. This Kerala-based multi-discipline martial art travelled to China and later to Japan with Buddhism and brought to these countries not only martial knowledge, but also medical science which gave birth to acupuncture in China. The other book is about the French influence in India past and present.

C)· Views

Q· Why are Elst, Frawley, Kak etc. so much devalued by the mainstream English-language press in India? Are they not rigorous scholars?

A. Again, they are very rigorous scholars – the scope of Elst’s knowledge is amazing. But they have been going for a long time against the mainstream thought of this country, which was initiated first by the Britishers and later taken on by Nehru and the intellectual left based in JNU, all of which were predominantly anti-Hindu and which strove to eradicate the genius that was India.

Q· Your views on the discrediting of the Aryan Invasion Theory. Isn’t it a bit far-fetched to suggest that in addition to not being invaded, in fact Indian tribes went westwards?

A. Not at all. Because not only do latest archaeological and linguistic discoveries prove that there never was an Aryan invasion of India and that it was a theory propounded by the early archaeologists and linguists which were all at the service of the British (including the much vaunted Max Mueller who has falsified India’s historical datings). Because how could the colonisers of the land, the bearers of « civilisation » and the true religion, ever accept that they might be the  descendants of those they were colonising ? As for Aryan (or rather Indian tribes) to go westwards, there is nothing preposterous in that theory. Just compare Greek philosophy with Vedic thought, which it is known now, is much older than Greek civilisation. There is also a striking similarity – which has been dwelt upon by numerous Indologists, including French scholar Alain Daniélou – between some forms of Christianity and Hinduism. There is no doubt that Christ was inspired by Hindu and Buddhist esoterism and there are numerous stories that he even came to India to be initiated. And finally, many recognise that the Gypsies, whose language has still many similarities with Sanskrit, and appeared in Europe around the 14th century after having transited through Iran and Egypt, were a lost tribe of India, probably of harijan origin.

Q. I have been reading a good deal of argument about Bhagwan Gidwanis “The Return of the Aryans”. What is your view of this?

A. I have not read this book and I would be interested to know where I can get a copy. But this whole Aryan concept is an invention of colonial linguists for their own hidden purpose; it is even today used by Christian missionaries and was also taken up by Hitler, this great asura of the 20th century, to justify the killing of six millions Jews. What does Aryan mean ? Nothing ! There were Vedic tribes who happened to be receptive enough to the forces of Nature and the Cosmos to develop a unique spiritual system which was the basis for the future Indian civilisations. Full stop. All the rest is propagaganda of Muslim writers and Christian missionaries, who, since they came to this country, have been intent to divide India into religions, castes, tribes etc. Whereas vedic philosophy was always for unity : santanam dharma. Everything, every path, every sect is acceptable, as long as it leads you from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality. Today the Congress, the Left and all the Mulayam Singh are still at it : how to divide this country and make sure it dies forever.

Q. Your views on Islamic invasion and missionary invasion

A. I think the above answers your question, but I must add that if the Vedic greatness had not degenerated and India had remained united in dharma, there could have never been Muslim invasions and later western colonisation. This said, the massacres perpetuated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese. In the words of another historian, American Will Durant: “the Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilisation is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying within”.

Q. Why is it that foreign writers fall into either of two camps: either openly hostile (eg. Barbara Crossette,Molly Moore) or openly supportive (eg. you, Mark Tully)

A. You either hate India or love it. Let’s forget about tourists, because they are a distinct breed and their purpose is different. But if you take western journalists or writers, you will find that a great many of them (after some time) dislike India, or even sometimes hate it. Take the British who were in India for 300 years, how many of them got even to understand truly even a little bit of this great country ? 0.02% (you can’t even say that Foster understood India) ? There is basically an unconscious militant dislike of the Christian world towards Hindu India (and in this militant hate, Christians are even ready to ally themselves with their traditional enemies: Islam. Last week I was in Jhabua, where the four nuns were raped [it was not a ‘religious’ rape as reported by the Press] and the lawyer whom the Christian priests had selected to defend their case, was a Muslim). And even today you find that the West loves to honour only these Indians who basically are anti-Hindus, such as Mother Teresa or Amartya Sen, however brilliant they are  in their own fields. True, India  is a difficult country for a westerner : dirty, unhygienic, obscure sometimes. It is also full of contradictions and it does not open-up to those who do not make any efforts to truly understand it. But once more, you have to LIVE India if you want to understand it. This is why journalists and western corespondents always closeted in Delhi, this artificial and arrogant city, can never understand India : they are just mouthing the same old clichés (Hindutva, caste system, Ayodhya, secularism), which they hear at the same embassies cocktails, the same journalists’ parties, the same secular Indian Press meet (such as Outlook)…

Q. What is your view on the Sarasvati Vandana/Vande Mataram controversy?

A. The Ministers  walked out when the Saraswati Vandanam was played. But why should anyone object to Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, She who bestowed so much Grace on India. In 1939, a disciple had said to Sri Aurobindo that: “there are some people who object to the singing of Vande Mataram as a national song; Sri Aurobindo had replied: “in that case Hindus should give up their culture”. But the disciple had continued: “the argument is that the song speaks of Hindu gods, like Durga and that it is offensive to Muslims”. Said Sri Aurobindo: “but it is not a religious song, it is a national song and the Durga spoken of is India as the Mother. Why should not the Muslims accept it? In the Indian concept of nationality, the Hindu view should be naturally there. if it cannot find a place, the Hindus may as well be asked to give-up their culture. The Hindus don’t object to “Allah-Ho-Akbar”.

Q. What do you think the solution is to endemic Macaulayism in India?

A. It is obvious that Education in India has to be totally revamped. The kind of Westernised education which is standard in India, does have its place, because India wants to be on par with the rest of the world, and Indian youth should be able to  deal confidently with  the West: do business, talk, and relate to a universal world culture. But nevertheless, the first thing that Indian children should be taught is the greatness of their own culture. They should learn to revere the Vedas, they should be taught the genius of the Mahabharata and the Ramanayana; they should be told that in this country everything has been done, that it was an unsurpassed civilisation, when the West was still mumbling its first words, that Indian civilisation reached dizzying heights, which have been since unsurpassed. But overall they should be taught early that India’s greatness is her spirituality her world-wide wisdom. INDIA’S NEW EDUCATION HAS TO BE SPIRITUALISED; IT HAS TO BE AN INNER EDUCATION, WHICH TEACHES TO LOOK AT THINGS FROM THE INNER PRISM, NOT THROUGH THE WESTERN ARTIFICIAL LOOKING GLASS.

Q. Do you find Hinduism in danger? Besieged? But isn’t it true that it has always survived — muddling through somehow?

A. Yes, it is true that Hinduism has always managed to survive in the face of tremendous odds (Muslim holocaust, British colonisation, Nehruism…). But it is also true that life is always on the razor’s edge and that nothing is won until the last moment. Today Hinduism is facing a more insidious onslaught, but which may be even more dangerous: from its own people. From the Left, who wants to eradicate totally Hinduism and for that purpose supports whatever is inimical to it, including Islam and Christianity; from the so-called ‘secular’ politicians, such as Mulayam Singh or Laloo Prasad, who have done tremendous harm to India; from Sonia Gandhi, a Christian, who might one day Prime Minister of India; from missionaries who continue to convert through covert means; from its so-called intellectual elite which swears by liberalisation and westernisation, not understanding that this will eventually kill India’s soul… Overall, there is a vast semi-conscious conspiracy to denigrate Hinduism; and there Muslims and Christians walk hand in hand : it goes from Husain painting Saraswati naked, to Deepa Mehta’s lesbians being called Radha and Sita. Everybody calls Thakeray a fascist or a madman, but let a Hindu minority in Saudi Arabia, or even in Europe, try to denigrate the Virgin Mary or Jesus, and see what happens. At least the man has guts, whatever his excesses.

Q. Do you think the state-sanctioned disparity between Hindus and other faiths will continue?

A. It is great tragedy that for instance different Congress governments have left millions of Bangladeshis settle in Eastern India and have kept quiet about it, just to cater to the Muslim vote bank. Today even, all the ‘secular’ politicians refuse to accept the Assam Governor’s conclusions which are absolutely right : Assam’s way of life, its culture, religion, are being totally wiped out by the Bangladeshis immigrants, who on top of that bring with them a militant religion and do not really integrate in the Indianmainstream. This should not happen and it is one of the dangers that Hinduism has to face today, because Muslims multiply much more rapidly than Hindus, who have generally accepted the need to have only two or three children, even in the backwards villages of Tamil Nadu.

Q. Where do you think the population is going in regards to Hinduism, never mind the politicians?

A. I do hope that India is not going to turn its back on Hinduism. Because with 800 millions souls, Hindus constitute the majority of this country. Traditionally and historically, Hinduism has always been the most tolerant of all religions, allowing persecuted minorities from all over the world, whether the Jerusalem Jews, the Parsis from Persia, Christians from Syria, or even Arab merchants, to settle in India over the centuries and practice their religion in peace. Are the French ashamed of their Greco-Roman inheritance? Not at all ! On the contrary they even think that civilisation started only with the Greeks. Would you call the Germans or the Italians « nationalists » because they have Christian Democrats Parties?  Christianity is the founding stone of Western civilisation and nobody dares deny it. Clinton goes to the mass and swears on the Bible and none finds anything to say. We French are brought-up listening to the values of Homer’s « Iliad », or Corneille’s « Le Cid ». It is true that in France there has been a separation of the State and the Church; but that is because at one time the Church misused its enormous political power and grabbed enormous amounts of lands and gold. But no such thing ever happened India. The much maligned Brahmins never interfered in politics and today they are often a neglected lot.

Q. Aren’t there ills in Hinduism? Why aren’t these being cleansed? You would admit that there is continuing casteism in India; perhaps also patriarchal ill-treatment of women?

A.  Oh yes, there are a lots of ills in Hinduism, the worst one being that for some mysterious reason, Hindus tend to be the most undisciplined, (look how they drive) collectively selfish, and nationally uncaring community in India, so that it requires a Mother Theresa to look after their own underprivileged. In the same way, they tend to extend cleanliness only to their own immediate surroundings : their homes, or their front porches, but neglect the rest. It is puzzling for instance how a people which has worshipped the Ganges for thousands of years, treats it with so little respect, dumping every day thousands of chemicals in its waters. They are panicky, cowards (I have my own theory on this: the collective terror unleashed by the Muslim invasions in the unconscious mind of Hindus still trigger in them this panicky and everyone-for-himself- syndrome) and have lost this great quality of courage, selflessness and boldness, which Vivekananda tried to drill back into them, with little success. They are corrupt, which is the gravest of sins, because it is not only the poor, which is understandable, but also the rich, who mix ashes in cement, adulterate petrol, mustard oil, alcohol (maybe we should have here for a few years a military dictatorship China-like. Take for instance a few of the hoarders who recently manipulated the prices of onion or salt, put them against a wall and shoot them like animals. You will see how India’s economy will straighten-up quickly). There is so much black money in this country, so much hidden wealth, which could make India one of the richest countries in the world if it became white again. And finally Hindus exploit and abuse their own underprivileged : they pay badly their servants, mistreat them; no wonder that sometimes these very servants kill their masters for a few rupees ! My good friend and competitor, Françoise Chipaux, Le Monde’s corespondent, showed me recently the servant quarters of her flat which is in Sujant Singh Park, one of the poshest districts of Delhi. You should have seen them : there were not even toilets ! Once again you take a few of these owners (who ask for two years advance, half of it payable on a foreign account) and shoot them…

Q. We have a dilemma regarding reservation and the upliftment of the weaker sections. What is your view on the OBC, SC/ST problems?

A. India’s great Sage and philosopher, Sri Aurobindo, felt that the caste system is the most misunderstood, the most vilified subject of Hindu society : “Caste was originally an arrangement for the distribution of functions in society, just as much as class in Europe, but the principle on which this distribution was based was peculiar to India. A Brahmin was a Brahmin not by mere birth, but because he discharged the duty of preserving the spiritual and intellectual elevation of the race, and he had to cultivate the spiritual temperament and acquire the spiritual training which alone would qualify him for the task. So it was for the Vaishya whose function was to amass wealth for the race and the Shudra who discharged the humbler duties of service without which the other castes could not perform their share of labour for the common good”.

But, yes, there is no doubt that the institution of caste degenerated : « It ceased to be determined by spiritual qualifications and thus lost most of its meaning. The spirit of caste arrogance, exclusiveness and superiority came to dominate it instead of the spirit of duty, and the change weakened the nation and helped to reduce us to our present condition ».

Thus, Nehru’s intentions by devising the reservation system may have been good, but as usual it has been perverted by human nature and has encouraged sloppiness, cheating and believe it or not, casteism in the reverse sense, as it pays today to say that you from an underprivileged caste ! Thus, everybody wants to be part of OBC, even Christians who converted to escape the caste system ! Moreover, it has encouraged anti-brahmanism, like in Tamil Nadu, whereas Brahmans never interfered in political affairs and single handedly preserved the Hindu tradition.

Q. What are your views on the Nehru dynasty and Sonia Gandhi’s recent rise?

A. It would be a real shame if Sonia Gandhi becomes one day India’s Prime Minister. It is not the question of her being a foreigner (although there should be enough brilliant people amongst the 800 millions Hindus); it is the question of her having not the slightest idea of what India is truly about, locked that she is in her 6, Janpath fortress, surrounded by sycophants. Moreover there is no doubt that she is a Christian, which is perfectly her right; but as most Christians, she probably has a hostile bias against Hinduism – and it shows in her remarks against the BJP and for « secularism ». As For the rest of the Gandhi dynasty, I hold Nehru most responsible for this country’s present condition, because his policies have done tremendous harm to India and continue to do so. What we see today is his legacy at all levels of Indian life, be it political (secularism), education (Macaulysm), intellectualism (Left) or even art (aping the West).

Q. India’s relations with the US are at best rocky, but lately France seems to have taken it upon itself to try and supplant the UK as India’s partner in Europe. Is there going to be improved trading relations with the EU?

A. I should hope so ! the US has demonstrated since 1947 the most stupid, arrogant, ignorant, short-sighted policy towards India. Today is no better,as it is continuing to favour Pakistan, a country which is ten times smaller than India, ten times less democratic, ten times more dangerous. When you see the amount of love, adulation -nay aping, I would say – there is amongst Indians towards America; and when you see at the same time the basic hostility that the Muslims masses in Pakistan and other Muslim countries have towards the US, you can only conclude that Americans are the most idiotic race there ever was in this planet, which is already full of imbeciles !

France is equally ignorant of India, but for some strange reason there is a measure of good will, of sympathy, of symbiosis even, for India. It gets translated sometimes in the wrong manner: France’s love for Satyajit Ray for instance, who however brilliantly, presents a very pessimistic image of Indian society. But there, we find a ray of hope, there is a chance of the two countries finding some meeting ground. Thus if India, now that she is a nuclear power , can develop some kind of privileged relation with United Europe, it could counterbalance the US’s hostility. But then you will see, as soon as China will start to falter economically – and that should not be too far – the US will suddenly « discover » that India exists and Newsweek will run a cover on « the other Giant of Asia ». The rest of the world, which anyway always copies America, will follow.

Q. What do you think the long-term fallout of the nuclear bomb will be? There are some who say that if Napoleon Bonaparte hadn’t been side-tracked at the Battle of the Nile, he would have come to India and helped Tipu Sultan. What do you think of this line of thought?

A. India should stand by the dogma of ahisma, non-violence, But to be non-violent one needs to be strong . Over the centuries history has shown that India has always been the bullied, the oppressed, the invaded, whether by Alexander’s armies, the Muslim, or the western colons. Even the Chinese made mincemeat of India in 1962. By getting the nuclear weapon, India makes the first step in getting some respect – even if it is fear – in the eyes of its hostile neighbours. Look at the paranoiac reaction of the Chinese, isn’t it symptomatic ? Also there should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that Pakistan is the latest reincarnation of Islam’s militant hatred towards Hindus, the Infidels ‘par excellence’. Pakistan’s present active hostility towards India, is nothing but what the Koran still preaches : « Jihad fi Sabilillah », ‘Holy War for the Greater Glory of Allah’.  In the face of such hostility, India has to guard herself; then only she can allow herself to be magnanimous. Gandhi’s and Buddhism’s ahimsa, were the non-violence of the weak and the coward; not the non-violence of the lion, which lets preys walk by, because he is not hungry and knows he can get them any time he wants.

Q. In some ways, aren’t you being disloyal to your country and the Catholic faith into which you were born, by accepting India so much?

A. Why ? A soul has no nationality, no religion ! Rather I would say that it has only the religion and the nationality of it past lives. Each soul has a history and belongs to some country, some race, where it reincarnates again and again. I consider India as my country, not because I happen to live here, but because the moment I set foot in this country, something deep in me recognised that it was my place, my known territory. Now it is also true that I cannot deny my own culture and upbringing – and I am proud of it in many ways: it allows me to express myself, it gave me the backbone of my professional and literary achievements. If only India could get some of the material perfection the West has, its thirst for perfection, its caring for the others and motto of egalitarism !

D) Closing

Q. If you were setting India’s course with Europe, what would you do, on a political and foreign policy front?

A. Again, India has to assert her own personality, by pursuing the foreign policy that suits best her own interest. Automatically she will then gain respect, not only from Europe, but also from the US. Actually India should take a lesson or two from China. Look at the Chinese, they do exactly what they like, they keep threatening and blackmailing the world, and not only they get away with it, but also have the respect of all Industrialised nations. India presents a far more better picture than China, which has killed a million innocent Tibetans: it has managed to remain democratic in spite of all its problems – separatisms, overpopulation, corruption, etc. I think Europe will come to appreciate India’s democratic achievements, specially the day when China’s iron (and bloody) communist hand will be removed by whatever circumstances. That day, all problems which were kept bottled-up and suppressed in China will erupt to the surface and one could witness a chaos similar to what happened in URSS. And this is exactly what the present government should tell Europe : «  look, you cannot ignore us, we are the next superpower in Asia and the largest country by 2020; we are nuclear, but we are democratic and we have a long tradition of tolerance and culture ». I think a few nations will understand that language – maybe not the British, (who are anyway a spent nation) because they still live in the past – but at least the French – and maybe the German.

Q. How exactly does the French people and the French establishment view India? The view from here is that the French are supremely pragmatic, not given to posturing.

A. I did not know the French were supremely pragmatic ! The German, surely; but the French : you flatter them ! French are like Bengalis : they are great talkers, good artists, warm, fun-loving people, but infinitely lesser doers than the Germans. Today with modernism and the American way of business, which the US has slowly imposed upon the world, this may be changing; but still the French love good food, fun, debating and posturing – witness their sports mania, which is mostly armchair sportsmanship ! This is why maybe there is an empathy with India, which is also a bit of an armchair sportsman, such an in cricket, this crazy sports left by the British, which is totally unsuited to India’s climate. True, the French are the only nation which did not condemn India outright after their nuclear blasts. There maybe three reasons to it : first of course, the French had  just concluded their Pacific tests and suffered themselves from the world’s hypocrite condemnation; two, there is that mysterious ‘kinship’ between India and France (of which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondichery often spoke); and three, different Indo-French programmes, started by Mrs Gandhi who spoke good French and knew Malraux well, continued by Rajiv Gandhi who promoted the year of India in France in 1985 and continued by Mr Chirac’s visit to India beginning of 1998, finally bore some fruits.

Q. Your views on Hinduism and its central place in the Indian enterprise, if it were to come from an Indian, would be considered ‘fundamentalist’. But you seem to be tolerated to some extent by the ‘secularists’ of India. Is that primarily because you are a white person? Is it a racial thing?

A. Very good question ! I would say that it is not so much because I am a white person, although that can help in India, either because the average Indian is nice with the western man, or because there is a colonial hangover here which means that your white skin sometime opens you a lot of doors with India’s upper class, ‘elite’ intellectuals, or top bureaucrats (in passing, upper-class Indians must be the most snobbish people in the world; but they don’t realise that it is something they inherited from the British and that they are only aping their erstwhile colonisers). No, I would say that the fact that I work for a very reputed and conservative newspaper opens a lot of doors to me, which would otherwise be closed. Konraad Elst or David Frawley, that other eminent Indologist, do not have this privilege and I make the most of it (would you interview me otherwise?)

Q. Paul Theroux said recently that Indians are obsessed about race, caste and food. What do you think?

A.  Paul Theroux is a very pompous man and on top of that, a mean and treacherous friend – witness his book on his ex friend Naipaul (who had the courage to change his ideas about India). People like Theroux may be brilliant and witty, but they are quickly forgotten by History : who will know Theroux in 100 years ? As for his opinion about India, I would not pay too much attention to it; first it is not very original, as millions of westerners have already condemned India in  the lines of race, caste and food. By race, he probably means the Aryan race, which is as we have seen, is a bogus subject; we shall not get again into the caste issue, the favourite whipping boy of India haters. But food ??? At any rate, the West is much more obsessed with food than India ! From the Romans downwards there was a mania of overeating and bulimia is a typically western phenomenon, (which may come to India because of westernisation). But long ago, Indian Sages knew that « one eats for living; but does not live for eating ».

Bibliography

* The Wonder that was India (Voice of India,  2/18 Ansari Road, New delhi 110002)

* Rewriting Indian History (Vikas, 576 Masjid Road, Jangpura, New delhi 24). Can  be found in New delhi at some bookshops, such as Fakir & Sons in Khan Market.

* Un autre Regard sur l’Inde (Editions du Tricorne, 14, rue Lissignol, Genève 1201, Switzerland)

* La dernière Caravane des Indes (to be published)

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18 responses to “Francois Gautier FAQs – 2

  1. Divine Interference

    Thank you sir, It was very good to know of your thoughts on India and her history, though I must add I have been aware of it through your articles :).

    However, the exhaustive set of questionnaire for the interview was something that had to be captured from a well learned man like yourself. I am looking forward to an opportunity to get a look into the “Museum of True India History”.

    Hope to read more of your articles in the near future.

  2. “But this whole Aryan concept is an invention of colonial linguists for their own hidden purpose; it is even today used by Christian missionaries and was also taken up by Hitler, this great asura of the 20th century, to justify the killing of six millions Jews. What does Aryan mean ?”

    Gautier,

    I want to bring your attention to prominent scholar Bernard Lewis of Princeton University. This is what he wrote on the matter in his book “The Multiple Identities of the Middle East”:

    ” “Semitic” and “Aryan” belong to the same vocabulary, and have undergone the same perversions. Both date from the beginnings of modern philology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and from the momentous discovery that languages could be classified into cognate groups or families. In 1781, a German philologist called August Ludwig Schlozer suggested the term Semitic, from Noah’s son Shem, to designate the family of languages to which Assytian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Ethiopic belong. Similarly the term Aryan, meaning “noble” and used by the ancient inhabitants of Persia and India to describe themselves, was adopted as the name of a group of related languages including Sanskrit, Old Persian, and some others. As far back as 1861 the great German philologist Max Muller pointed out that confusing the history of languages with the history of races would falsify everything. Nevertheless, race theorists, particularly those anxious to establish their own uniqueness and superiority, eagerly seized on this new vocabulary, and misappropriated it to their own use.

    The defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, and the discovery of the appalling crimes that had been committed in the name of racism, brought a change of attitude and, consequently, of usage. But not completely. Few nowadays outside the lunatic fringes would use the word “Aryan” as a racial designation, but the same taboo does not apply to the equally tainted and misleading use of the word “Semite.” Even otherwise respectable writers and journalists sometimes permit themselves such pronouncements as that “the Jews and Arabs are both Semites.” If this statement has any meaning at all, it is that Hebrew and Arabic are both Semitic languages.” (text from pages 46 and 47)

  3. “By Muller especially it was employed as a convenient short term for the whole body of languages more commonly known as Indo-European (q.v.) or Indo-Germanic . In the same way Max Muller used Aryas as a general term for the speakers of such languages, as in his book published in 1888, Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas . “Aryas are those who speak Aryan languages, whatever their colour, whatever their blood . In calling them Aryas we predicate nothing of them except that the grammar of their language is Aryan ” (p . 245) . It is to be observed, therefore, that Max Muller is careful to avoid any ethnological signification. The Aryas are those who speak Aryan without regard to the question whether Aryan is their hereditary language or not . As he says still more definitely elsewhere in the same work (p . 1 zo), ” I have declared again and again that if I say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language . The same applies to Hindus, Greeks, Romans Germans, Celts and Slaves . When I speak of them I commit myself to no anatomical characteristics .

    The blue-eyed and fair-haired Scandinavians may have been conquerors or conquered, they may have adopted the language of their darker lords or their subjects, or vice versa . I assert nothing beyond their language when I call them Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Celts and Slaves; and in that sense, and in that sense only, do I say that even the blackest Hindus represent an earlier stage of Aryan speech and thought than the fairest Scandinavians . . . To me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar.”

  4. The latter comment was not by Lewis.

  5. Gautier,

    This concept was promoted to other colonized peoples as well:

    “The idea that the Hutus and the Tutsis were physically different was first aired in the 1860s by the British explorer John Speke. The history of Rwanda (like that of much of Africa) has been distorted by missionaries, academics and colonial administrators. They made the Tutsis out to be a superior race, which had conquered the region and enslaved the Hutus. Missionaries taught the Hutus that historical fallacy, which was the result of racist European concepts being applied to an African reality. At the end of the fifties, the Hutus used that discourse to react against the Tutsis.”
    French anthropologist Jean-Pierre Langellier

    Sound familiar?

  6. One more point:

    “If both the Aryan and Dravidian languages of India have affinities with those of Central Asia, and to peoples of different ethnic groups (the Indo-Aryan with the lighter skinned European and the Dravidians with both light-skinned Finns and Hungarians, and Mongolian race Turks) a phenomenon is created that is too complex to be explained by mere migration alone. It takes languages across the racial boundaries that migration theories uphold and places them on par with other cultural affinities (like art or religion), which are not limited by race.” http://www.indiaforum.org/india/hinduism/aryan/page18.html

  7. Apparently, before 1960 the Nobel Peace prize was awarded nearly all to Europeans or Americans. Gandhi was nominated 5 times but never was awarded the Nobel Prize. They could have given the award posthumously in 1948 when Gandhi died two days before the end of Nobel nominations, but the committee declined and gave it to no one that year. Before the rules change in 1974, it has been awarded posthumously to Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld and Erik Axel Karlfeldt

    Since then more people have received the Nobel Peace prize who were not European/American.

    Gautier, would the prize being awarded to Obama be more a positive sign of progress, or does it highlight more that a person like Gandhi, who spent most of his life freeing his people from colonialism through non-violence, did not get it?

  8. http://hinduonline.blogspot.com/

    Before the grand lanch function of “Bharat Swabhiman Mission”
    Baba Ramdev seems to be genueinly interested
    in the betterment of desh, dharam, rajniti
    and i used to watch him on Aastha channel regularly

    But right from the lanch function of “Bharat Swabhiman Mission”
    where Babaji had invited a Shia Muslim maulaavi
    and introduced him as his darling brother
    speeches of Babaji has lost its sharpness
    for the protection of desh, dharam, rajniti

    Maybe its the price one has to pay
    to garner support of all residing in india
    and whether they are muslim
    it does not matter

    As a common hindu
    what more could i have done but
    only stopped actively watching Babaji
    from that lanch function
    though i still regard Babaji
    as a great yoga master
    and for his oratory skills

    But, now in the present controvercy
    of Devband fatva against Vande Mataram
    attended by Babaji and home minister
    hindus should protest and show their displeasure
    to both Babaji and home minister
    for agreeing to be a part of function
    working against the spirit of Bharat
    and consolidating/ fanning the Jihadi movement

    As politicians support Jihadis
    for capturing muslim vote bank
    is Babaji trying to capture
    muslim and sickular followers
    by agreeing to attend Jihadi function
    and not speacking out against
    the fatva then and there
    not even 2 days after that

    all this when Babaji is
    the most outspoken hindu guru
    who is more than ready to
    give sound bytes on each and every
    topic including yoga
    and never take any nonsense
    laying down from any celebrited reporters/ editors

    is it that like all other leaders
    whether they are politicians or not
    they are always supporting Jihadis
    at the cost of hindus
    and like them Babaji too
    wants to capture muslim and sickular followers
    and / or
    even Babaji fears from Jihadis

    O Hindus come out of your hibrenation
    how long you want to wait
    for things to get worse
    before trying for their recovery

    its easy to get charged up against Jihadis
    but path to recovery goes first
    by winning over the sickular hindus

    O Hindus, this is the time
    to lanch campainge against
    all sickular hindus
    in the form of Babaji
    and dont wait for RSS/ BJP/ VHP
    dont look forward for their orders
    listen to your heart/ mind

    Babaji has a reputation
    of coming out sucessfully
    from every controvery in the past
    which where lanched by sickulars
    but this time
    if common hindus campainge
    against his sickular tendencies
    at least he has to say sorry
    for his moments of weakness

    i appeal all PRO-HINDU bloggers
    to write-up on this topic from their heart
    so that greater clearity and publicity to
    hindu’s view emerage in media

    also remember that
    blogging alone cannot provide
    answers to worldly problems.

    http://hinduonline.blogspot.com/2009/11/original-post-no-4-o-hindus-come-out-of.html

    .

  9. muralidharan k

    it’s very nice to hear such a good and truthful
    feelings. It makes me to feel that i’m not wrong
    and not alone. I fully endorse the views.

  10. Your views on Peter Hees biography are appalling given the statement that you consider Sri Auribindo as your Supreme Guru. Nevertheless wish you all the best in your projects of exhibitions and museum.

  11. I congratulate you for all the good work you are doing. You have understood India better than many so called Indians. This country has too many resident non-Indians.

    However I do not think that Sanathana Dharma can be destroyed. It is getting rejuvenated.

  12. Gautier,
    I started reading your book “Rewriting Indian History” and was so immersed in your thoughts that I took leave from my work and have been reading more and more about you and your work.
    You are the true son of Mother India and trust me, there are many more supporters who are somehow supressed and confused due to our rigged books on history and bought out media.
    Jai Hind

  13. Buddhists were wiped out in Central Asia when Muslims invaded. They survived in India and to the East as Hindus fought long and hard the Muslim invaders.

    “Hindu Survival and Buddhist Disappearance During Medieval India
    Buddhist temples span across India
    By Sandeep Sharma

    No less a person than Mahatma Gandhi once estimated that nearly a quarter of Hindus had converted to Islam over the past on thousand years. How true is this statement ?

    Hinduism has been associated with the Indian subcontinent since time immemorial. The teachings of the sages of the Vedas emanate from the mists of the past with a chain of Gurus and Saints stretching to the modern day. Amongst the myriad of thoughts coming from this ‘land of saints’ range from the pure stream of Vedanta to the mystical experiences of a Mirabai and to the compassion of Guatam Buddha.

    By the dawn of the first millennia CE the Hindu world straddled across the same contiguous region as the Buddhist world. Stretching from the islands of the Indonesian archipelago to the wild regions of Central Asia. The Buddhists with an organized priesthood had ranged furthest with missions to the island of the Indian Ocean and across the Himalayas into China and beyond.

    A happy coexistence with little conflict to the point where it was common for people of the same region, tribes and even families to be both Hindu and Buddhist. The kings of the nations under Dharma or Dhamma would donate equally to both religious centres and preachers without distinction.

    This however all began to change in the seventh century. The Arab tribes erupted from their desert homes armed with the zeal of a new faith Islam burst into the lands of these ancient faiths. The age old faith of Zoarasterism and Eastern Christianity was almost obliterated within a generation up to and including the venerable Persian lands.

    After reaching Sindh a decisive repulse from a coalition of Hindu kings in the battle of Rajasthan in 738 AD the Arabs turned their attention to the north. The Chinese empire was defeated in the Battle of Talas in 751 AD and the field of Central Asia with its patchwork of predominantly Buddhist kingdoms was laid open.

    What followed was a relentless pressure of Islamisation which lasted for the next two centuries. In this time with the tides of warfare ever changing the Buddhist kingdoms began to fall one by one.

    The destruction of the monasteries and murders of their priests led to a leaderless Buddhist community being unable to resist the pressures of the Islamic missionaries and soldiers. A stream of refuges and priests began to head for the spiritual homeland of India lending vigour to the infancy of the much acclaimed bhakti movement. By the end of the millennia the Buddhists had almost been wiped of the map of Central Asia to the borders of India and Tibet and the newly Islamised Turk tribes now eyed the vast Indian subcontinent.

    Here meeting sterner resistance after a wave of incursions on an around 1000 AD the Turks eventually broke into the subcontinents around 1200AD leading to a tidal wave of bloodletting that has scarce comparison in human history. The Buddhist regions of Afghanistan and Western Punjab fell rapidly to the Islamic crusaders as did the far flung regions of predominantly Buddhist East Bengal. The same story of Central Asia was repeated with the destruction of the great Buddhist centres like at Nalanda and the slaying of their organised priesthood leaving a confused and leaderless populace.

    The Hindus however reacted differently. The existence of numerous tribes and clans and religious groupings led to a deficiency in common action. However each region and tribe despite the destruction of many temples and slaughter of holy men managed to maintain its viability. The absence of an organized priesthood and single doctrine foiled the Turk and Afghan attempted to obliterate the Hindu religion. The defeat of a single Hindu clan in a particular region was quickly replaced by another Hindu tribe/warrior community to fill the vacuum almost instantly. After overwhelming the mainly Buddhist regions the Turks found themselves holding certain urban centres in a sea of Hindu resistance.

    The burgeoning bhakti movement helped by the headlong demise of Buddhism, though no Buddhist ideas expanded to cover the entire subcontinent in a challenge to the nascent Islamistation in many regions.

    The bloodletting continued. The Muslims historian Firishta in his book Tarikh i Farishta talks of tens and thousands of Muslim solders having to immigrate to India each year to cover the losses in the endless wars with the Hindus. The Hindu kings being pushed back by the heavy Turk Cavalry which had defeated the Crusaders of Western Europe adopted tactics to harry and punish Muslim warriors at each and every opportunity. A bloody stalemate was reached in which it began to dawn on the Muslim armies that the Hindus could not be wiped out in the same manner as the Jews, Zoroastrians, Pharsees, and the erstwhile Buddhists of west and South Asia.

    What happened was a regeneration of Hindu thought. A reaction based on dogged resistance backed by religious inspiration. The inspiration allowed the Hindus to stop the Arabic Jihad in its tracks after overwhelming all resistance from the border of India to Spain. It foiled the Turks for three hundred years whilst they beat back the combined might of the Europe in the Crusades. The waves of attacks emanating from central Asia were beaten back on numerous occasions and eve after the plundering and penetrative raids of Mahmud Ghaznnavi and two centuries later of Mohammed Ghori the fighting did not end. Indeed whilst the hapless Buddhists of South Asia were almost wiped from the face of the subcontinent with a large number falling under the flag of the ummah the Hindus crucially proved the ability to regenerate.

    The open system of worship without a central authority and a defined priest hood or single place of pilgrimage allowed Hinduism to resist, adapt, regenerate and eventually thrive in the face of genocidal attack. The Muslim historians whilst lauding the achievements of their kings in entering and establishing rule in India lamented their failure to convert the land into the land of Islam. Eventually realising the futility of their operations we have the sight of the Mughal emperor , Akbar renouncing traditional Islam and establishing his own Din i Ilahi in line with the syncretic traditions of the people. When his successor broke this tenuous compromise the Empire was broken into pieces with predominantly Hindu warrior lands rising over its ruins and obliterating the Islamic rule. Indeed by the time of the advent of the British the surviving Muslims kings either had folded to the new Hindu revival or ran into the waiting arms of the British Empire for protection.

    Buddhism is happily making a return to India, the land of its origin. Pilgrims from East Asia and the Americas now make pious journeys to the land of Buddha’s Birth. It is however a sober reminder to humanity of the need to preserve an ethos of toleration and acceptance and resistance in the face of genocidal terror. It is the lesson of the history of Hinduism.

    The truths of conversion are far more complicated than envisaged by modern day self proclaimed scholars. The idea of a mono religious India prior to the Islamic invasions defies historical truth. A multi cultural, multi religious India was assailed by the determined forces of monotheistic jihad. The end of a millennia of attack saw nearly a quarter of the subcontinent embrace the middle eastern faith but the concept that a uniformly Hindu nation became in part Muslim is a falsehood. The very word for ‘idol breaker’ is but shikan – (lit- breaker of the Buddha) a tragic reference to the obliteration of the once widespread Buddhist faith from the lands of its birth and beyond. In contrast – though suffering terrible pain the Hindus resisted, regenerated and in parts expanded showing clearly that the values of Dharma are essential not only for survival but for the very future of mankind.” http://www.chakranews.com/hindu-survival-and-buddhist-disappearance-during-medieval-india/1460

  14. Gautier what happened to India, to Hindus by Arab and other Muslims, was in essence not about either India or Hindus but about Islamic global conquest until the whole world is Dar al Islam and about everyone who is non-Muslim. First to suffer were the Arabs themselves. Arabs once had their own religions. The Kaaba was there worshiped by many long before Muhammed. Muhammed’s own people ran the Kaaba. Muhammed chose instead to be the self proclaimed prophet of the Jews/Christians and turn on the religion of his ancestors and people. He kept certain rituals of the Arab people’s own religions, so now Muslims today go to the Kaaba just like the Arab polytheists once did before they were wiped out by Muhammed. Muhammed did not allow Arabs to remain polytheists of their own faiths. Muslims are taught that the time before Islam is a time of ignorance. It is one of the main reasons we know so little of the Arab polytheists. From that annihilation of ancient religions of the Arabs it spread to the rest of the Middle East and on to Asia, Africa and Europe. The ones who suffered first under Islam were the original Arabs practicing their own Arab indigenous religions. The holocaust of Hindus was massive in scale for so many refused to leave Hinduism, but the holocaust began in Arabia, and Arab polytheists are no more and their religions vanished. Their Arab Muslim descendents much like Indian Muslim descendents look down and reject their pre-Islamic Arab past and look down and reject the indigenous religions of Arabs that are no more.
    And the impact of Islam on Arabs is still felt today. See article below.
    ——–
    “The Shawarma Republics are Burning
    Syria is burning, not because of the Arab Spring or Tyranny or Twitter, or any of the other popular explanations. The fire in Syria is the same firestorm burning in Iraq, in Turkey, in Lebanon and throughout much of the Muslim world. It has nothing to do with human rights or democracy. There is no revolution here. Only the eternal civil war.

    Most people accept countries with ancient names like Egypt, Jordan and Syria as a given. If they think about it at all they assume that they were always around, or were restored after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. But actually the countries of the Middle East are mostly artificial creations borrowing a history that is not their own.

    When Mohammed unleashed a fanatical round of conquests and crusades, he began by wrecking the cultures and religions of his native region. And his followers went on to do the same throughout the region and across the world.

    Entire peoples lost their history, their past, their religion and their way of life. This cultural genocide was worst in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. But the Middle Eastern peoples lost much of their heritage as well.

    The Muslim conquerors made a special point of persecuting and exterminating the native beliefs and indigenous inhabitants they dominated. Israeli Jews, Assyrian Christians and Persian Zoroastrians faced special persecution.

    Conquered peoples were expected to become Muslims. Those who resisted were repressed as Dhimmis. But those who submitted and became Muslims suffered a much worse fate, losing major portions of their traditions and history. They were expected to define themselves as Muslims first and look back to the great day when their conquerors subjugated them as the beginning of their history. Their pre-Islamic history faded into the mists of the ignorant past.

    But Islam did not lead to a unified region, only to a prison of nations. The Caliphates, like the USSR, held sway over a divided empire through repression and force. Many of those peoples had lost a clear sense of themselves, but they still maintained differences that they expressed by modifying Islam to accommodate their existing beliefs and customs.

    Islamic authorities viewed this as nothing short of heresy. It was against some such heresies that the Wahhabi movement was born. But these attempts to force the peoples of the region into one mold were doomed to fail.

    Islam came about to stamp out all differences, to reduce all men to one, to blend state and mosque into one monstrous law for all. And it did succeed to some extent. Many cultures and beliefs were driven nearly to extinction. Jews, Christians and others struggled to survive in the walls of a hostile civilization. But Islam could not remain united and the divisions resurfaced in other ways.

    Muslim armies did succeed in conquering much of the world in a frenzy of plunder and death. But they quickly turned on each other. Rather than conquering the world, they went on to fight over the plunder and the power. Nothing has really changed since then.

    The fall of the Ottoman Empire brought in the Europeans to reconstruct the Middle East. The modern states are the work of their hands. A clumsy mismatch of borders and warring peoples. The USSR came after with its own line of coups and Arab Socialist dictatorships. Now the third wave of Islamist tyrannies is on the march. But none of them can solve the basic problems of the region.

    Syria is burning not because of human rights, but because it’s a collection of different peoples with different variants of Islam who don’t get along. A handful are descended from the original natives. The rest are foreign Arab invaders, some more recent than others. The story repeats itself across the region. And across the world.

    Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon are just some examples of countries permanently divided by such a mismatch of peoples. Agreements and elections come to nothing because no group believes that they will be treated as equals if they aren’t in power. And they’re right. Equality doesn’t just come from open elections, but from a cultural acceptance of differences. This simply does not exist in the Muslim world where gender differences mean you’re a force of corruption or a slave, ethnic differences mean you are the son of a dog, and religious differences mean you’re an enemy.

    Had the forces of Islam not turned the Middle East upside down, the nation state might have evolved out of individual cultures, rather than as a strange hybrid of feudalism and Great Powers colonialism. For all their bluster and viciousness, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon are abandoned colonies. The Gulf states are even worse, backward clans of cutthroat merchants who are parasitically feeding off the West, even as they try to destroy it.

    The rulers invariably marry Western women or women with a large dose of Western blood. Both Sadat married the daughter of an English woman. Mubarak married the daughter of a Welsh woman. For all that the Hashemites tout their descent from Mohammed, Queen Noor is more Anglo-Saxon than Arab. And the current Jordanian King’s mother was originally known as Toni Gardner. Even when they do marry Arab women, they are usually Christian Arabs and British educated.

    There’s something pathetic about the sight of the post-colonial Arab leadership trying to gain some psychological legitimacy by intermarrying with their former rulers. As if pumping enough English blood into the veins of their offspring will somehow make them as capable as the Empire that ruled them and then left to attend to its own affairs.

    But not nearly as pathetic as half of them claiming descent from Mohammed. Both reveal the underlying historical instability of their rule. These aren’t nation states, they’re hopelessly dysfunctional geographical divisions bristling with Western weapons and money, with interpretations of the Koran and texts on Arab Socialism, where everyone is a philosopher and a scholar– but no government lasts longer than it takes to overthrow it.

    Every colonel and general dreams of empire, and every cleric in his flea ridden robes theorizes on the Islamic state, but none of them can do anything but act out the same murderous dramas. Building their house of cards and then watching it tumble down.

    Had Western shenanigans not raised the price of bread, while providing support to local leftists from wealthy families, the Arab Spring would not exist. Now that it has, it’s only another excuse for locals to fight their civil wars and then erect another ramshackle regime on the ruins of the old.

    This isn’t 1848 as some have theorized. It’s 848, over and over again. Worse still, it’s 748.

    When you don’t have a nation, but you do have an army, then what you have is not a state, but a Shawarma Republic. To keep the army from overthrowing the leader, he must find internal or external enemies. When a downturn occurs, and the mobs gather, either the army massacres the mob or overthrows the ruler. Or the rebels cut a deal with some internal elements and wipe out the loyalists.

    This is an old regional narrative that has nothing to do with democracy, human rights, Twitter or any of the other nonsense flowing through New York Times columns faster than the sewers of Cairo.

    The modern Shawarma Republic has some royal or military ruler at the top who receives money from the West or from its enemies to hold up his end of the bargain. Which to him means stowing the money into foreign bank accounts, sending his trophy wife on shopping trips to Paris and striking a fine balancing between wiping out his enemies and buying them off.

    Naturally he carries on the ritualistic chant of “Death to Israel”, and if Israel ever looks weak enough, or his new Chinese or Iranian allies kick in the money for a full fledged invasion, he may even take a whack at it. But mostly the chants of “Death to Israel” are a convenient way of executing his enemies for collaborating with Israel.

    In Syria, Assad’s Shawarma Republic (officially the Syrian Arab Republic, formerly the United Arab Republic, after a bunch of coups and one kingdom, the privately owned fiefdom of the dumbest scion of the clan) is on fire. Because the enemies of the regime, and some of its former allies, got around to exploiting Bashar Assad’s weakness.

    For now Assad’s armies backed by his Iranian allies are in control of the Shawarma Republic of Syria but that might change. Especially now that Turkey and much of the Arab world have stepped into the anti-Assad camp. And when the fireworks die down, and the corpses are cleaned up off the streets, there will be another Shawarma Republic. This one may not be run by the Alawites. But it will be run by someone, and it won’t be the people.

    The irony is that after turning Lebanon into its puppet, Syria got the same treatment from Iran. And if a revolt succeeds, then it might get the same treatment from Turkey. The big dog bites the little dog, and the bigger dog bites it.

    The process can’t be stopped, because the Islamic conquests that wrecked the region, the Caliphates that tried to make it static, and the colonial mapmakers who turned it into a ridiculous puzzle of fake countries filled with people who hate each other– make it impossible.

    There was a brief window after the war when the exit of empires and the presence of a large Western educated class seemed as if they might lead to working societies. Instead they led to the pathetic imitations of the worst of the West, dress up generals and scholars cranking out monograms explaining how everything could be made right with their theory. Now it’s leading back to Islamism and the bloody clashes in the desert that led to this permanent state of dysfunction.

    The Islamic Caliphate as a panacea for the problems caused by Islamic caliphates is about as good an idea as pouring gasoline on a fire. Which is exactly what the Islamists financed by Gulf royals, who can’t help cutting throats even when it’s their own, are doing.

    You can’t build a country out of sand and a book. Nor out of armies and billions of dollars. The last 70 years testify to that. The reason that Israel works and the Arab world doesn’t is very simple. The Jews retained their identity and their humanity. The perpetrators and victims of Islam who surround them have no roots. Only the sword in their hand and the shifting sand underneath their feet.” by Daniel Greenfield.

  15. DNA Study with Harvard shows once again that Aryan-Dravidian story is a MYTH

    “Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study
    TNN Sep 25, 2009, 01.16am IST

    HYDERABAD: The great Indian divide along north-south lines now stands blurred. A pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations says there is a genetic relationship between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed “fact” that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians might after all, be a myth.

    “This paper rewrites history… there is no north-south divide,” Lalji Singh, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and a co-author of the study, said at a press conference here on Thursday.

    Senior CCMB scientist Kumarasamy Thangarajan said there was no truth to the Aryan-Dravidian theory as they came hundreds or thousands of years after the ancestral north and south Indians had settled in India.

    The study analysed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. All the individuals were from six-language families and traditionally “upper” and “lower” castes and tribal groups. “The genetics proves that castes grew directly out of tribe-like organizations during the formation of the Indian society,” the study said. Thangarajan noted that it was impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different.

    The study was conducted by CCMB scientists in collaboration with researchers at Harvard Medical School,

    Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. It reveals that the present-day Indian population is a mix of ancient north and south bearing the genomic contributions from two distinct ancestral populations – the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI).

    “The initial settlement took place 65,000 years ago in the Andamans and in ancient south India around the same time, which led to population growth in this part,” said Thangarajan. He added, “At a later stage, 40,000 years ago, the ancient north Indians emerged which in turn led to rise in numbers here. But at some point of time, the ancient north and the ancient south mixed, giving birth to a different set of population. And that is the population which exists now and there is a genetic relationship between the population within India.”

    The study also helps understand why the incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from the rest of the world. Singh said that 70% of Indians were burdened with genetic disorders and the study could help answer why certain conditions restricted themselves to one population. For instance, breast cancer among Parsi women, motor neuron diseases among residents of Tirupati and Chittoor, or sickle cell anaemia among certain tribes in central India and the North-East can now be understood better, said researchers.

    The researchers, who are now keen on exploring whether Eurasians descended from ANI, find in their study that ANIs are related to western Eurasians, while the ASIs do not share any similarity with any other population across the world. However, researchers said there was no scientific proof of whether Indians went to Europe first or the other way round.

    Migratory route of Africans

    Between 135,000 and 75,000 years ago, the East-African droughts shrunk the water volume of the lake Malawi by at least 95%, causing migration out of Africa. Which route did they take? Researchers say their study of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands using complete mitochondrial DNA sequences and its comparison those of world populations has led to the theory of a “southern coastal route” of migration from East Africa through India.

    This finding is against the prevailing view of a northern route of migration via Middle East, Europe, south-east Asia, Australia and then to India.” http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-09-25/india/28107253_1_incidence-of-genetic-diseases-indians-tribes

  16. Arya is just a Sanskrit word for Noble and Dravida is a Sanskrit word for South. European linguists used those Sanskrit words merely to class certain South Asian languages together – they themselves said it was not about race. Max Muller of the 19th century said “an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar.” Robert Caldwell a Christian missionary in the 19th century coined the term Dravidian language: “He coined the term ‘Dravidian languages’ and proposed that the South Indian languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tulu formed a separate language family, affirming their antiquity and literary history, and their independence from the Indo-European language family. Before this discovery, the Dravidian languages were thought to be related to Sanskrit and other Indo-Aryan languages.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Caldwell

    Aryan/Dravidian were Sanskrit words to classify Indian languages by European linguists in the 19th century and it was again Europeans who later turned these linguistic terms into racial terms. Indians before the 19th and 20th century never thought of themselves as Aryan or Dravidian either in race or language. It was all a European fabrication from the start and a 18th/19th/20th century one at that.

  17. muralidharan k Muralidharan

    Sir, Thank you sir, Really wonderful as well as thought provoking facts. Hard truths With Regards, K. Muralidharan

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