Category Archives: francois gautier

Not India’s first woman saint

Francois Gautier, Pioneer

Indian media went into a tizzy while covering the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, an obscure nun, to prove its secular credentials! Indian journalists forget that this country has had other women saints too.

As a Frenchman, I was coached right from childhood that logic, what we in France call cartesianism, is the greatest gift given to man and that one should use one’s reason to tread in life. Thus, I taught to my students in a Bangalore school of journalism, the SSCMS, that the first tool of a good reporter is to go by his or her own judgement on the ground, with the help of one’s first-hand experience — and not go by second hand information: What your parents thought, what you have read in the newspapers, what your caste, religion, culture pushes you into…

Yet in India, logic does not seem to apply to most of the media, especially when it is anything related to Hindus and Hinduism. One cannot, for instance, equate Muslim terrorists who blow up innocent civilians in market places all over India to angry ordinary Hindus who attack churches without killing anybody. We know that most of these communal incidents often involve persons of the same caste — Dalits and tribals — some of them converted to Christianity and some not.

However reprehensible was the destruction of the Babri Masjid, no Muslim was killed in the process. Compare that with the ‘vengeance’ bombings of 1993 in Mumbai, which killed hundreds of innocent people, mostly Hindus. Yet Indian and Western journalists keep equating the two, or even showing the Babri Masjid destruction as the most horrible act of the two.

How can you compare the Sangh Parivar with the Indian Mujahideen, a deadly terrorist organisation? How can you label Mr Narendra Modi a mass killer when actually it was ordinary middle class, or even Dalit Hindus, who went out into the streets in fury when 56 innocent people, many of them women and children, were burnt in a train?

How can you lobby for the lifting of the ban on SIMI, an organisation which is suspected of having planted bombs in many Indian cities, killing hundreds of innocent people, while advocating a ban on the Bajrang Dal, which attacked some churches after an 84-year-old swami and his followers were brutally murdered?

There is no logic in journalism in this country when it applies itself to minorities. Christians are supposedly only two per cent of the population in India, but look how last Sunday many major television channels showed live the canonisation ceremony of Sister Alphonsa, an obscure nun from Kerala and see how Union Minister Oscar Fernandes led an entire Indian delegation to the Vatican along with the Indian Ambassador. It would be impossible in England, for instance, which may have a two per cent Hindu minority, to have live coverage of a major Hindu ceremony, like the anointment of a new Shankaracharya. What were the 24×7 news channels, which seem to have deliberately chosen to highlight this non-event, trying to prove? That they are secular? Is this secularism?

The headline of the story “India gets its first woman saint”, run by many newspapers, both Indian and Western, is very misleading.

For India has never been short of saints.

The woman sage from over 3,000 years ago, Maithreyi, Andal, the Tamil saint from early in the first Millennium CE and Akkamahadevi, the 15th century saint from modern-day Karnataka, are but a few examples of women saints in India.

What many publications failed to mention in the story is that this is the first woman Christian saint — not the first Indian woman saint.

This statement is ok, when it comes, for instance, from the BBC, which always looks at India through the Christian prism (BBC ran a few months back an untrue and slanderous documentary on Auroville), but when it comes to the Indian media, it only shows the grave lack of grounding in Indian culture and history of most Indian journalists.

As a result, they suffer from an inferiority complex.

This inferiority complex, as expressed by television’s live coverage of the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, is a legacy of the British, who strove to show themselves as superior and Indian culture as inferior (and inheritor of the ‘White Aryans’, a totally false theory).

Is it not time to institute schools of journalism, both private and public, where not only logic will be taught, but where students shall be made aware of Indian history and of the greatness of Indian culture, so that when they go out to report, they will use their own judgement and become Indian journalists, with a little bit of feeling, pride and love for their own country?

A French journalist’s view on India and its media

27th March 2002

Source: PRdomain

India is a country of wonderful people — warm, hospitable, tolerant. Its intellectual elite — in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore — are good friends to have: fun-loving and always cordial with westerners.

gujararIntellectually, the journalists and writers of this country are often witty, brilliant, speak good English, and write even better. In fact, quite a few of them — Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Upamanyu Chatterjee and others — have become households names in the English literary world and have brought a good name to India. Roy has even shown us that one can be a successful writer and also work for a social cause — even going to the extent of going to jail for that.

Yet, there is something that I have never understood. Although most of India’s intellectual elite is Hindu, the great majority of them are Hindu haters — and it even seems sometimes that they are ashamed to be Hindus.

They always come out with the same clichés on Hindutva, the saffron brigade, the Hindu ‘fundamentalists,’ and if you listen to them you get the impression that India is in the hands of dangerous Hindu fundamentalists and that the Christian and Muslim minorities of India are being cruelly persecuted.

Recently, Courier International, a very prestigious French magazine, which is read by diplomats and politicians, published a special issue on ‘Hindu fundamentalism’ with a cover photo of RSS members doing their lathi drill. The ignorant westerner who read it must have had the impression that India indeed is in the grip of fascist, Nazi-like Hindu groups and that civil liberties are curtailed here. When the editor-in-chief of that magazine was contacted, he pointed out that all the pieces had been translated from articles written in the Indian press by Indian journalists.

If I did not know India, I would tend also to believe what I read about India in the western press: a nation torn by caste discrimination, poverty, corruption, Hindu extremism and natural calamities. But after living more than 30 years in this country, my experience is totally different: Hindus are probably the most tolerant people in the world — they accept that God manifests Himself under different forms, at different times, according to the needs and mentality of each epoch: Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha…

gujararThus they always allowed throughout the centuries religious minorities who were victimised in their own countries to settle in India and to prosper and practice their religion: the Syrian Christians, in fact the first Christian community in the world; the Jews, who have been persecuted all over the world (including in my own country, France), but were left in peace in India; the Armenians; the Parsis; and today the Tibetans…

As a westerner, living in India, apart from the obvious bureaucratic hassles, the slowness of everything and the dirt, being here has also been a dream: I have never been mugged in 33 years, no policeman has ever asked me my papers in the street (see what happens to you if you are dark-skinned and without a tie in the metro in Paris) and I have always been made welcome even in the remotest villages of India.

As a journalist, it is even better: I do not have to ask permission to go out of Delhi and submit the subject and route of the features I propose to do outside the capital; and I do not get kicked out of India, even if I criticise its government — all this contrary to China, which even then remains a more coveted post for a foreign correspondent than India.

It is true that for a western journalist, coming to India can be a baffling experience. The diversity (going from one state to the next is like passing from one country to another); the language is different, so is the food, the habits, the political set-up; the complexity of India’s political life, its heavy subtleties; the incredible religious, social and ethnic diversity…

So what does the new correspondent do, when often he has at heart to do justice to the country he has been asked to report about? He turns to his Indian fellow journalists for enlightenment. Regrettably, the f

irst input he is given by his Indian colleagues is very negative: the black mark of Ayodhya on India’s secular fabric; the heavy hand of the army in Kashmir; the terrible caste abuses in Bihar; or the Taliban-like Bajrang Dal.

And this is why if you read the western reports on India, however good their style is, however well-meaning they are, they all say the same thing with infinite monotony and often nastiness). Again, it is absolutely factual that there are unforgivable things done in India in the name of caste; that the disparity between rich and poor is shocking; that affluent Hindus have very little concern about their less fortunate brethrens, or else have no respect for their environment.

But it is also true that there is so much positive things to be written about India: so many great people, so much tolerance, so much talent, so many fascinating subjects. Nevertheless, western journalists seem only to concentrate on the negative. His is the vicious circle of journalism and India: the negative goes from the Indian journalist to the western journalist… and comes back to India under the form of unfriendly reporting.

The recent Sabarmati burning followed by the rioting in Gujarat showed again the veracity of that phenomenon. Here you had 58 innocent Hindus, the majority of them being women and children, burnt in the most horrible manner, for no other crime but the fact that they want to build a temple dedicated to the most cherished of Hindu Gods, Ram, on a site which has been held sacred by Hindus for thousands of years.

When a Graham Staines is burnt alive, all of India’s English press goes overboard in condemning his killers. But when 58 Graham Staines are murdered, they report it without comment. No doubt, the revenge that followed is equally unpardonable. No doubt, Indian and foreign journalists who rushed to Gujarat, wrote sincerely: after all they saw innocent women, children and men being burnt, killed, raped.

Which decent journalist, who has at heart of reporting truth, would not cry out against such a shame? But then history has shown us that no event should be taken out of context, and that there is in India, among the Hindu majority, a simmering anger against Muslims, who have terribly persecuted the Hindus and yet manage to make it look as if they are the persecuted.

And once again, the western press coverage of the Gujarat rioting comes back to haunt India: Hindus targeting Muslims; fundamentalism against innocence; minority being persecuted by majority… But when will the true India be sincerely portrayed by its own journalists, so that the western press be positively influenced?

(Gautier is the correspondent in India and South Asia of Ouest-France, the biggest circulation French daily [1 million copies], and for LCI, a 24-hour TV news channel. He is also the author of Arise O India and A Western Journalist on India)

KASHMIR AND DEMOCRACY

Source: Kashmir Herald

 

François Gautier

[Editor’s Note: Kashmir Herald is honored to have Mr. Francois Gautier write this article exclusively for Kashmir Herald.]

No doubt Mr Vajpayee is a nice man, no doubt he is well-meaning, no doubt he also embodies some of the better virtues of tolerance and ahimsa of Hinduism, but lately, he has all but surrendered Kashmir to Islamic separatism, not only losing elections there, even amongst his own people, but also saying that “democracy has won in Kashmir”. Democracy has won in Kashmir? Does democracy mean that a state where Hindus and Muslims used to live in harmony, where Islam had a gentler more tolerant face, has now become a haven for violence, intolerance, bullets and treachery? Is this democracy? Does democracy mean that 400.000 Kashmiri Pandits have become refugees in their own land, an ethnic cleansing without parallel in the recent history of mankind, worse even that in Yugoslavia ? It is also an irony that Mr. Vajpayee, whom the Press likes to call a Hindu “nationalist”, may have all but handed to Pakistan on a platter what has belonged to India for millennia.

I am a white man and a Christian, but I feel ashamed for India when I see in Sundays’ newspaper the photo of a Christian, and a white woman, Sonia Gandhi, along with two Muslims, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, royally offering to the latter the governance of Kashmir. Have Indians forgotten how Mufti Mohammed Sayeed surrendered the might of the whole Government when his daughter was taken hostage and he was a Union Minister? Does a country of 860 millions Hindus, inheritors of one of the most ancient civilizations on earth and today comprising some of the most brilliant people on this planet, need a Christian white woman and a Muslim to run what was once the cradle of Shivaism?

Western correspondents (and unfortunately sometimes Indian journalists) keep lionizing the Kashmiri “freedom fighters” and demonizing the “bad” Indian army. 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 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 are living in miserable conditions in camps near Jammu and Delhi, 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 or the Albanians in Yugoslavia?

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, Kashmiri Muslims never liked India. There was only one thing that attached them to India, it was the marvellous financial gains and state bounties that they made out of tourism.  Even those Kashmiri Muslims 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 a 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 Mufti Mohammed Sayeed wants us to believe that with a certain degree of autonomy, Kashmiri Muslims will be appeased. This may be true in most Indian states, who are often rightly fed-up with the Centre’s constant interference in their internal affairs, but basically, there is only one thing which Kashmiri Muslims 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 Mufti, 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. 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. Amnesty International chooses to highlight “the Indian atrocities” in Kashmir. But Amnesty which does otherwise wonderful work to keep track of political atrocities world-wide, can sometimes become a moralistic, somewhat pompous organisation, which in its comfortable offices in London, judges on governments and people, the majority of whom happen to be belonging to the Third World. Its insistence on being granted unlimited access to Kashmir is a one-sided affair. Did Amnesty bother at all about the support given by the CIA to the most fundamentalist Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, support which led to the bleeding of Afghanistan today and the Pakistani sponsoring of terrorism in India? (Without mentioning the fact that most of the Western countries which today sit in judgement of India, raped and colonised the Third World in the most shameless manner; and after all it happened not so long ago).

And this leads to the next question: should then India surrender to international pressure and let Kashmiris decide their own fate? Well it all depends on the Indian people’s determination. Each nation has, or has had in the past, a separatist problem. Today, the Spanish have the Basques, the French the Corsicans, and the Turkish,  the Kurds. Amnesty International will continue to lambaste India in its reports about human rights violations. But has Amnesty the right to decide what is right or wrong for each nation?  Sometimes double standards are adapted by the West. Yesterday it colonised the entire Third World. Today; the United States, under the guise of human rights, is constantly interfering in other’s people’s affairs, often by force. It uses the United Nations, as it does in Iraq, in Somalia and Yugoslavia and is getting away with it. Can Amnesty International, the United States and the United Nations decide today what is democratic and what they deem anti-democratic and use their military might to enforce their views? But this is the trend today and it is a very dangerous and fascist trend. Will tomorrow the United Nations send troops to Kashmir to enforce Pakistan’s dreams?

Furthermore, there is today another very dangerous habit, which is to fragment the world into small bits and parts, thus reverting to a kind of Middle Age status, whereas small nations were always warring each other on ethnic grounds. It is the West and particularly the United States’ insistence to dismantle Communism at all costs, thus encouraging covertly and overtly the breaking up of Russia and Eastern Europe, which started this fashion. But this is a dangerous game and tomorrow Europe and indirectly the USA will pay the price for it: wars will bring instability and refugees to Europe and the United States might have to get involved militarily.

Can India get herself dragged into this mire? Why should India which took so long to unite herself and saw at the departure of the British one third of its land given away to Pakistan, surrender Kashmir? The evolution of our earth tends towards UNITY, oneness, towards the breaking up of our terrible borders, the abolishing of passports, bureaucracies, no man’s lands; not towards the building up of new borders, new customs barriers, new smaller nations. India cannot let herself be broken up in bits and parts just to satisfy the West’s moralistic concerns, although it does have to improve upon its Human Rights record, particularly the police atrocities. To preserve her Dharma, India has to remain united, ONE, and even conquer again whether by force or by peaceful means, what once was part of her South Asian body . For this she should not surrender Kashmir, it could be the beginning of the breaking up of India.

[Francois Gautier, who has lived in India for 30 years and is married to an Indian, is a French journalist, was the correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France’s largest circulated newspaper. He has published Rewriting Indian History (Vikas) and Arise O India (Har Anand).]

NOTE : He is about to release his latest book The New istory of India this october 2008

A UNIQUE EXHIBITION ON TERRORISM UNLEASHED

 

François Gautier

Source: Kashmir herald

 

Do you know the FACTS about Kashmir?

Over 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley, have been forcibly pushed out of the Valley by terrorists. Since 1989, they have been forced to live the life of exiles in their own country. Terrorism has unleashed in Kashmir a systematic campaign of terror, murder, loot, arson and rape against Hindus in Kashmir. About 70,000 of them still languish in makeshift refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Scores of temples in Kashmir have been desecrated, destroyed, looted. More than 900 educational institutions have been attacked by terrorists. Properties of Pandits have been vandalized, businesses destroyed or taken over, even hospitals have not been spared.

Did you know that this huge human tragedy is taking place in Free India?

Kashmir was known as “Sharda Peeth” , the abode of learning. Now the Pandits, the original inhabitants, have been forced to flee. 5000 years of civilization is at stake. 

THE ROLE OF PAKISTAN IN KASHMIRI TERROR is clear: Terrorism in Kashmir is an ideological struggle with specific fundamentalist and communal Agenda.

Terrorist violence aims at the disengagement of the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its annexation to Pakistan. It is a continuation of the Islamic fundamentalist struggle. The major dimension of terrorist violence in Kashmir is the terrorists’ commitment to the extermination and subjugation of the Hindus in the state, because Hindus do not subscribe to the idea of separation from India, nor will they allow governance by the tenets of Islam. Kashmiri Pandits have always been in the forefront of the struggle against secessionism, communalism and fundamentalism. Hence this peace loving minority with a progressive outlook became the main victim of terrorist violence.  

The strategies involved in the terrorists’ operation against the Hindus in Kashmir are simple:

– The extermination of Hindus, i.e., subjecting Hindus to brutal torture, to instill fear among them in order to achieve their submission.

To engineer a forced mass exodus of Hindus from the land of their ancestors by way of issuing threatening letters, kidnappings and torture deaths on non-compliance of the terrorists’ dictates and ensure the destruction of the secular and pluralistic character of Kashmiri Society.

Attacks, molestations, kidnappings, gang rapes of the women folk of the Hindu Pandits to instill fear and humiliation.

Destruction and burning of residential houses of the Hindus who have been compelled to abandon their homes.

Looting of their properties and appropriation of their business establishments are undertaken to ensure that they do not return.

Attachment of the ancestral and landed property of Pandits. Destruction of the social and religious institutions of the Hindus by the desecration and destruction of their places of worship.

Appropriation of the property of the Hindu shrines.

BURNING BOOKS, LOOTING OF CULTURE is also a very important part of the plan. Kashmir was the crucible of Knowledge, Spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars and saints such as Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created here an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute. Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on “Sharda Peeth”, zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries.

Commencing 1998, the assault on learning began afresh. How else to erase 5000 years of civilization? The Jammaat-i-Islami, a fundamentalist organization, launched a campaign to ransack libraries in the educational institutions and flared ban on books which did not correspond to their ideas about man, world and God. The Kashmir university funded by the University Grants Commission and headed by the Governor of the state was denuded of two thousand books including the works of Milton, G.B. Shaw, Shakespeare, H.G. Wells and tomes on Hindu Philosophy. Book-shops were looted in broad daylight at Batamaloo, Srinagar. The library of the Information Centre run by Government of India was looted and set on fire.

As a correspondent covering India for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the terrible damage that terrorism in Kashmir has inflicted upon people’s lives, their family, their culture, the very fabric of society, not only of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also of the Muslims of the Valley, who after all, are the victims too of Pakistan’s bloody designs.

Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT – Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. The first task of FACT has been to mount an exhibition on terrorism, focusing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, so that the people of India who do not suffer directly from terrorism understand what it does to others.

We need your support and we invite all of you, whatever your class, caste, religion, or ethnic origin, to come and witness it. Come and see the FACTS. Later, we would like this exhibition to travel not only to all major India cities, but also to the United States, England, France and Switzerland, so that the world understands what India has been going through in the last fifty years. 

Learning from History

 

Source: Kashmir Herald
Francois Gautier
The massacre of six million Jews by Hitler and the persecution they suffered all over the world in the last 15 centuries has been meticulously recorded after 1945 and has been enshrined not only in history books, but also in Holocaust museums, the most famous of these being the one in Washington DC. It has not been done with a spirit of vengeance: Look at Israel and Germany today, they are in the best of terms; yet, facts are facts and contemporary Germany has come to terms with its terrible actions during Second World War.
Hindus too have suffered a terrible Holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush, for instance; probably, one of the biggest genocides in the history of Hindus. There has practically been no serious research on the subject or mention in history books. The Hindu Kush is a mountain system nearly 1,000 miles long and 200 miles wide, running north-east to south-west and dividing the Amu Darya valley and the Indus valley. The Hindu Kush has over two dozen summits of more than 23,000 feet and historically its passes, particularly the Khyber, have been of great military significance, for they provide access to the northern plains of India. Most foreign invaders have used the Khyber Pass: Alexander the Great in 327 BC, Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1001 AD; Timur Lane in 1398 AD; and, Nadir Shah in 1739 AD. 
Yet, in the first millennium before Christ, two major Hindu kingdoms, those of Gandhaar (Kandahar) and Vaahic Pradesh (Balkh of Bactria) had their borders extending far beyond the Hindu Kush. The kingdom of Gandhaar, for instance, was established by Taksha, the grandson of Bharat of Ayodhya, and its borders went from Takshashila (Taxila) to Tashkent (corruption of Taksha Khand) in present day Uzbekistan. In the later period, the Mahabharat speaks of Gandhaari as a princess of Gandhaar and her brother, Shakuni, as a prince and later as Gandhaar’s ruler (the last Hindu Shahiya king of Kabul, Bhimapal, was killed in 1026 AD). Then came, in 3rd century BC, Buddhist emperor Kanishka, whose empire stretched from Mathura to the Aral Sea (beyond the present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Krygzystan) and under his influence Buddhism flourished in Gandhaar. The two giant Buddha sandstones carved into the cliffs of Bamian, which were destroyed by the Taliban, date from the Kanishka period. In Persian, the word ‘Kush’ is derived from the verb ‘Kushtar’ – to slaughter or carnage.
Encyclopaedia Americana says of Hindu Kush: “The name means literally ‘Kills the Hindu’, a reminder of the days when Hindu slaves from Indian subcontinent died in harsh Afghan mountains while being transported to Moslem courts of Central Asia.” Encyclopaedia Britannica on its part mentions “that the name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant ‘Hindu Killer’, a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers”. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. “However,” writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, “the number is easily likely to be in millions.” A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. Encyclopaedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Timur Lane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Timur Lane’s army was about 100,000. Encyclopae-dia Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms, “1,500,000 residents perished”. “Thus,” writes Vyas, “it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Muslim conquests.”
Since some of the Muslim conquerors took Indian plainsmen as slaves, a question arises: Whatever happened to this slave population? The startling answer comes from The New York Times (May-June 1993). The Gypsies, who used to be wandering people in Central Asia and Europe since around the 12th century, have been persecuted in almost every country (the Nazis killed 300,000 gypsies in gas chambers). Until now their country of origin could not be identified, as their language has very little in common with the other European languages. Recent studies, however, show that their language is similar to Punjabi and to a lesser degree, Sanskrit. Thus the Gypsies probably originated from the greater Punjab.
The time-frame of Gypsy wanderings also coincides with early Islamic conquests; hence, it is most likely their ancestors were driven out of their homes in Punjab and taken as slaves over the Hindu Kush. Why does not the Government of India tell Indian children about the Hindu Kush genocide?
The horrors of the Jewish holocaust are taught not only in schools in Israel and the US, but also in Germany, because both Germany and Israel consider the Jewish holocaust a “dark chapter” in the history. Yet, in 1982, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) issued a directive for the rewriting of school texts. Among other things, it stipulated: “Characterisation of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden.”
Thus, denial of history, or negationism, has become India’s official “educational” policy. Fortunately, the present Government of India has initiated a rewriting of History school books, although this policy has come under attack as “a dangerous saffronisation” of history.
This is why the Forum Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), which sponsored the recent exhibition in Delhi on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits – an exhibition which opened also in Bangalore on September 1, and will be in Poland on September 10, and then in Berlin on the 15th – would like to start a project aiming at having a Holocaust Museum in New Delhi. It will record not only the genocide of Hindus at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecution by the Portugese (hardly mentioned, too, in Indian History books), or of the British (nobody knows that 25 millions Indians died in famine between 1815 and 1920, a genocide in the true sense of the term, as the Britsih broke the agricultural backbone of India for raw materials like Cotton, jute, etc.
FACT needs the support of all Indians for this museum to come into existence, so that every Indian child knows his/her history and what his/her forefathers had to endure.
[FACT, which stands for FoUNDATION Against Continuing Terrorism HAS its registered office at 41 Jorbagh, New Delhi 110003 and this is where the cheques in the name of FACT can be sent,  to 41 Jorbagh, New Delhi 110003, India .  FACT HAS tax exemption.]

Donare online at www.fact-india.com

 
François Gautier

Website: http://www.francoisgautier.com

Redefining India

Francois Gautier

This is an article meant for my friends, the "fringe Hindus"; those who have
either espoused a Marxist outlook, or are, for their own good reasons,
strongly anti-Hindutva, or are neutral; as well as for the Muslim and
Christian minorities of India. 

When Jawaharlal Nehru came to power in 1947, he sincerely thought that some
of Marx's ideas could be put to use in India and help level the terrible
inequalities that existed within between the very rich and the poor, the
high castes and the low castes, the mighty and the helpless. The motive was
noble but, unfortunately, Indian socialism often made the rich richer and
the poor poorer and created a massive, inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy,
that any government today in power finds difficult to dismantle. Everywhere
in the world, communism and Marxism are defunct - even China has more or
less done away with it.	 

However, in India, not only does communism remain alive in West Bengal and
Kerala, it also remains firmly entrenched as a powerful idealism in the
minds of much of India's intelligentsia. Most of India's English language
mediapersons and journalists, many of the writers, historians and thinkers,
are sympathetic towards communist thought. Once again, there is nothing
wrong with that: Indians show, in a world racked with materialism and
cynicism, that they remain idealists, loyal and dedicated to selflessness
and seva, as the thousands of Indian NGO's still prove today.

Nevertheless, the world is changing, Asia is changing, and even India is
changing. We have to live with our times, especially after September 11,
2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, which radically altered the
outlook of most Western nations. What is going to happen in Gujarat on
December 12 is equally of paramount importance to the 850 million Hindus in
India, the nearly 1 billion Hindus worldwide, and the Christian and Muslim
Indian communities, as it might redefine their own outlook. Indeed, if the
BJP and Mr Narendra Modi win with a handsome margin, an intense intellectual
debate will be triggered in the country. We will hear cries of alarm,
disgust or worry on the part of the Western press, the Indian English
language Media and the intelligentsia, about "Hindu fanaticism taking over
India", or "the terrible direction that the results of this election seem to
portend for India".

But, once again my "fringe" Hindu brothers and sisters, as well as the
Christian and Muslim communities of India, should remind themselves than in
the entire Indian history, Hinduism has always shown that it is not
fundamentalist, that it accepts the others with their religions and customs
as long as they do not try to impose these beliefs on the majority
community. Indeed, in a recent report, UNESCO pointed out that out of 128
countries where Jews lived before Israel was created, only one, India, did
not persecute them and allowed them to prosper and practice Judaism in
peace.

Moreover, if under the intense and often bloody onslaught of Muslim
invasions and later of European colonialism, such as the Portuguese - which
committed untold atrocities in Goa - the Hindus did not lose their peace and
tolerance, why should they do so now? Also, Hinduism is probably the only
religion in the world which has never tried to convert others, or conquer
other countries to propagate itself as a new religion. The same is not true
of Islam and Christianity.

Thus, it would be good if the "fringe" Hindus and Indian Christian and
Muslims do some introspection and look into the real causes of the Gujarat
riots which followed the burning of the 58 kar-sevaks on the Sabarmati
Express. If Mr Modi wins, instead of accusing the BJP of fanaticism, or even
"Nazism", a people which gave to India and to the world Mahatma Gandhi,
unique textiles and a solid peaceful culture, it may indeed be time to call
a spade a spade and to stop burying one's head in the sand like an ostrich.

We see the Gujarat riots through the eyes of the Western press and the
Indian Media: "Hindu fundamentalists who went on the rampage", etc. But what
if Gujarat was the first sign that good, peaceful, non-violent, middle-class
and even lower-class Hindus have had it and that they are tired of being
made fun of, attacked, bombed, burnt, killed, their women raped, their
temples destroyed? What if, rightly or wrongly, it is the portent of things
to come, that the next time innocent Hindu women and children are targeted,
Hindus might be tempted to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the
way Israel does at the official level? You may argue that it is a hateful,
mad and blind violence, but it is also true that Hindus have been at the
receiving end of Christians and Muslims attacks for centuries, that even
today 400,000 of them have been made to flee from their ancestral homes in
the valley of Kashmir.

Thus, our bother of sisters of Islam, most of whom are peaceful and
good-willing, have also to do a little bit of introspection. Every time
there is an attack on a Hindu temple, or a bombing, we accuse Pakistan or
the Al Qaeda. But none of these attacks could happen without the active
support of groups of Indian Muslims, as the Bombay blasts or Coimbatore
bombings have shown. In the same way, our Christian brothers and sisters
should think about this: The first community in the world, the Syrian
Christians, established themselves in Kerala in the first century and
prospered there in peace. At no time did the Hindus of Kerala try to impose
their own religious beliefs upon them, either by force or by allurements.

Is it right that the Indian Christian community today not only allows, but
often actively collaborates with, the foreign missionaries who are bent upon
making India a Christian kingdom, and are often using dubious economic
incentives to do so? Do not our brothers and sisters think that it is bound
to provoke sooner or later some kind of backlash and that the murder of
Graham Staines, however reprehensible, may have been a warning to
missionaries who convert by devious means, in the same way Gujarat riots
were a warning to the Muslims?

It may be true that the overwhelming majority of this country, which has
often been in minority morally, is waking up and trying to assert itself,
sometimes in an excessive and unforgivable manner. Yet, the fringe Hindus
and the Indian Muslims and Christians should not worry: India is a composite
society and it is a settled fact. Hindus, Christians, Muslims and other
minorities have to learn how to live together peacefully. There is no other
choice. And it will be done.

<http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives1/secon3.asp?cat=\opd1&d=OPED&fdnam=dec
1102>

White man’s burden?

By Francois Gautier
The Pioneer
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Why do Indians have such an attraction towards white
skin? I am a White and a born Christian – but even after
more than 30 years in India, this attraction in its
people still baffles me. I have looked in my mind for
answers.

When I see Mr Bill Gates coming to give charity to the
poor and ignorant Indians, who do not know how to handle
sex and are on the way to becoming the largest AIDS
reservoir in the world, I wonder: Do Indians really
believe in what the White man says? Do they need a White
man to tell them what to do and what not to do? Actually
the funny thing is that this AIDS scare is an old trick
of hostile NGOs, Christian organisations and the enemies
of India. It is true that AIDS is the scourge of the 21st
century, the great black plague of our era. But more is
being made of it than is necessary, especially in the
Indian context.

World health organisations are fond of saying that India
has the largest population of HIV contaminated cases –
some even speak about 25 millions by 2010. But as every
one knows, AIDS spreads through three agents:
Homosexuality, hypodermic syringes of drug addicts and
prostitutes. Yet, whatever Deepa Mehta or Shabana Azmi
would like us to believe, homosexuality is not very
common in India’s villages, which comprise 80 per cent of
the population; one-sided homosexuality is a Western
phenomenon and it is brought to India by Westernised
Indians.

As for hard drug addiction, again it is not all that
common in Indian villages, except in some of the North-
East border states, many of which incidentally happen to
be Christian. The prostitutes carry the greatest threat
of spreading the disease, particularly in big cities like
Mumbai. Then in turn, those men who have contacted it
will bring it to the villages, when they have intercourse
with their wives. But 25 million AIDS cases?

Again, when I see the fascination that Indians – old and
young, rich and poor, whether from the Congress, the CPI
or even the BJP – have for Congress president Sonia
Gandhi, I wonder: Does India, one of the great ancient
civilisations, need a White woman to govern it? I am sure
she has great qualities, but are Indians so backward that
they cannot find amongst themselves someone intelligent
enough enough to lead them? And what about this craze for
Mother Teresa? She may have been a saint, but nobody has
harmed India’s image in the West as much in the 20th
century. When you mention India in the West, their eyes
light up and they say: “Mother Teresa/ Calcutta/ poor
people/ starving people/ who do not know how to care
after their own underprivileged/ who need a White woman
to show them how to pick-up those dying in the street and
to look after orphans.”

Is this the image that Indians needs today – one that is
harming them, which is stopping Western investors from
investing in India? Yet Mother Teresa is worshiped here,
from Calcutta to Chennai, and when she will be made a
saint by the Vatican, perpetuating this colonial,
superior-minded, Christian symbol of White superiority
over the Brown/Black man, the whole of Indian media will
rejoice in their own mental slavery and the Indian
Government will probably declare a national holiday!

Why don’t Indians understand that Brown is beautiful?
White people spend hours in the beach and put a hundred
cream and lotions to get tanned. Why this obsession in
Indian woman to have white skin? And why this growing
trend to colour their hair blonde? How come the two most
popular actors in India, Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik
Roshan, have very fair skins and blue eyes? Why this
craze about “fair” brides? If you find the answer to
that, you will understand the reason behind Indians’
fatal attraction towards Mr Bill Gates, Ms Sonia Gandhi
and Mother Teresa.

Obviously, colonisation has frozen the Indian mind in
certain patterns and the British made sure, through
Macaulay’s policies of leaving behind them an enduring
complex of inferiority amongst Indians, by constantly
harping on the flaws of Indian culture and inflating
them. This is why Indian intellectuals today repeat what
their masters said before: “Hindus are fundamentalists/
Brahmins are exploiters/ Golwalkar was a Nazi/ Indians
are corrupt and no good.” But that does not explain
everything: Most colonised countries have aped their
masters after having hated them. No, in my mind the
greatest factor behind India’s love of the White is the
absurd theory of Aryan invasion.

According to this theory, which was actually devised in
the 18th and 19th century by British linguists and
archaeologists, the first inhabitants of India were good-
natured, peaceful, dark-skinned shepherds called the
Dravidians, who had founded what is now known as the
Harappan or the Indus Valley civilisation. They were
supposedly remarkable builders: Witness the city of
Mohenjo-Daro in Sind. But they had no culture to speak
of, that is to say no literature, no proper script even.
Then, around 1500 BC, India is said to have been invaded
by tribes called the Aryans: white-skinned, nomadic
people, who originated somewhere in Western Russia and
imposed upon the Dravidians the hateful caste system. To
the Aryans are attributed Sanskrit, the Vedic-Hindu
religion, India’s greatest spiritual texts, the Vedas, as
well as a host of subsequent writings, like the
Upanishads.

This was indeed a masterstroke on the part of the
British: Thanks to the Aryan invasion theory, they showed
on the one hand that the Indian civilisation was not that
ancient and that it was secondary to the cultures which
influenced the Western world, and that whatever good
things India had developed had been as a result of the
influence of the West. Thus, Sanskrit, instead of being
known as the mother of all Indo-European languages,
became just a branch of their huge family; thus, the
religion of Zarathustra is said to have influenced
Hinduism, and not vice versa.

On the other hand, it divided India and pitted its people
against each other, rifts which still endure. Yet, most
recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries point
out that there never was an Aryan invasion and many
historians, including Romila Thapar, are distancing
themselves from it. Yet, most Indians still believe in
this absurd theory.

It is time for you Indians to wake up. You are as great,
if not greater, than the White man. You can do as well,
if not better, than the White man. Not only did your
forefathers devise some of the basic principles of
mathematics, astrology, or surgical medicine, not only
are your people today amongst the most brilliant in the
world – half of Silicon valley is of people of Indian
origin; 30 per cent of UK’s doctors are Indians – but you
still hold within yourselves a unique spiritual
knowledge, which once roamed the world, but which has now
disappeared, replaced by the intolerant creed of the two
major monotheistic religions, which say: “If you don’t
believe in my true God, I will either kill you or convert
you.” Wake-up India. Brown is beautiful, smart and it is
the future.