Category Archives: Government

MM JOSHI: A MAN FOR INDIA

MM JOSHI: A MAN FOR INDIA

I have known Shri Murali Manohar Joshi for more than fifteen years and I have the greatest respect for him. Why ? For two reasons. The first is that he is a politician who has stuck to his ideals when he came to power, contrary to many of his peers, who got caught in the system and forget their initial aspiration.

Secondly, he is a man of seva. In ancient India, the concept of “Seva”, of service to others, was very predominant. It was then felt that the very action of forgetting oneself and giving one’s work towards the welfare of one’s brothers and sisters, was one of the most powerful tools to the realisation of the inner Self. Today, the tradition of Seva is being revived by many contemporary spiritual movements which are creating a new avatar for Hinduism. More than that, for the first time since independence, India has a Government which can boast quite a few Ministers, who are bringing back the practice of service to their country. That is to say, that they are not in power to fill their pockets, but put the betterment of “Mother India”, before their own petty self-interests, or even those of their parties.

One such politician is Dr Manohar Murali Joshi – and amongst all the NDA Ministers, he is the one who has been most targeted by the Press. Yet, Dr Joshi has a mission, an ideal – not for himself but for his own country. The first thing that Dr Joshi feels is that “Indians lack self- confidence”, this very modern and western bend of mind which says: “we can do it” and drives people to go beyond themselves to reach their goals. And it is true : Indians are often self-depreciating and are always comparing their countries to western nations and their achievements. “Yet, says Dr Joshi, we should tell our children that modern computers would not work unless India had not invented the concept of the zero, or that high grade steel in ancient India was so good that Alexander the Great wanted it to fashion his own sword, or that rhinoplastic surgery was performed in Vedic times, long before it was known in Europe”.

Manohar Murali Joshi also believes that Indians lack “esprit de corps”, the team spirit which makes a nation great. “Look at our hockey or crickets players, says Dr Joshi, they are great individually, but cannot perform well collectively on a steady basis”. Dr Joshi could also have added that Indians are probably amongst the most undisciplined people in the world: they always break queues, drive without thinking one second about the other, clean meticulously their own front porch, but throw their garbage in the street, and have hoarded so much black money that if it would surface, it would make India one of the richest nations in the world. And here again, the key is to educate : “It has been stated that Hinduism, being too individualistic a religion, is responsible for this lack of collective spirit, argues Dr Joshi, but nothing is further from truth”. And Murali Joshi to quote from Sri Aurobindo, India’s great avatar of the New Age: “Indian civilisation lived with a noble, ample and vigorous order and freedom; it developed a great literature, sciences, arts, crafts, industries; it rose to the highest possible ideals of spiritual knowledge “…

“It is the British, asserts Dr Joshi, who attacked and ridiculed Hinduism, which they rightly perceived as the main obstacle to their complete hold over India”. And he could have further said that they also created “Macaulay’s children”, Indians in body, but British in mind, whose descendants can still be found amongst Indian Intelligentsia ! “Hinduism is very community-oriented religion, contends Dr Joshi, as apart from the concept of seva, look how collective is our temple worship, with its bhajans, or how the old Panchayat system was democratic from the village all the way to the top (and not like today, where everything is decided in Delhi, with the villages having absolutely no say in anything).

What about the environment, which is so degraded today : tigers are being killed at the rate of one day, says a recent report; every year an area the size of France is deforested in India; and the holy Ganges is so polluted that it is not even fit for bathing. Are not those who defecate in the Ganges, cut their own forests and kill tigers, mostly Hindus ? “But on the contrary, replies Dr Joshi, the Scriptures tell us never to urinate in the Ganges, they enjoin us to plant trees at the time of festivities and not to kill animals. It is again the impact of ten centuries of colonisation which has made us forget this very Hindu respect of Nature”.

Finally, unless you educate Indian children about the greatness of their own civilisation, which taught the concept of seva, of collective discipline and respect for Nature’s bounties, there is no way that India is going to produce the leaps and bounds which she needs to become a superpower. You also have to rewrite Indian history, which basically has been crafted by British historians to further their claim of superiority on the “natives”, using false evidence, such as the theory of the Aryan Invasion, which all recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries are proving as false. The history of the independence of India, which has been concocted by Congress historians to show the Congress in the best light, should be reviewed too and Indian children should be told about the untold horrors of ten centuries of Muslim invasions so that they can face their own history.

And this is the task that Dr Joshi has set for himself in the true spirit of seva. Of course, “secular” historians and journalists, who often have such a Marxist-inspired vision of their country, will scream every time Mr Joshi makes a move towards “Indianisation” of what is basically a very bland copy of Western culture. But just think how seven years ago Dr Joshi had the guts to go and raise the national flag in Kashmir on 15th of August. Remember how he was reviled and ridiculed by the Indian Press ? Today he would be hero… “We can do it”…

Ultimately for me, MM Joshi is a man for the highest post of the country: he has the knowledge, he has the courage, he has the vision. What else can India wish for its future leader ?

François Gautier

* François Gautier, born in Paris, is a French journalist and writer, who was for fifteen years political correspondent in India and South Asia for Le Journal De Genève and subsequently eight years for ” Le Figaro “, France’s largest circulation newspaper. François Gautier has written several books: Un autre Regard sur l’Inde” (Editions du Tricorne), which has been reprinted twice since; “Arise O India” (Har Anand) 1999, “A Western journalist on India” (Har-Anand 2001), India’s Self Denial (Editions Auroville Press, 2001) and “A Guru of Joy” (2002, India Today Book Club).

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Toughness pays

Toughness pays
Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 29, 2003
Have you ever taken an El Al flight from Mumbai? The security is drastic: You are asked a hundred questions by young men and women, Indians, but of Jewish origin, whose parents emigrated from the first century onwards after the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, to find refuge in India where they prospered and lived in peace till many of them went back to Israel in 1948 (indeed, India is probably the only country in the world where Jews have not been persecuted).

Why did I visit Israel? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the 144 countries-wide Art of Living movement, had been invited by the Government of Israel, thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Cooper and Dr Balitzer from Wisenthal, US-based foundation. All along our trip Rabbi Cooper and Dr Balitzer proved invaluable. I was tagging along because I have always believed that India and Israel have to come together. For 40 years after Independence, India did not have relations with Israel. Yet, India and Israel have much in common – both can learn a lot from each other. Like Indians, Israelis are one of those “elected people of God” – of whom Sri Aurobindo speaks in his book the Hour of God – who have managed to keep their spirituality alive in spite of oppressions, invasions and genocides.

Indians and Israelis also share a serious problem with Muslim fundamentalists. And India could learn a few lessons from the way Israel handles this problem, however much it is criticised by the Western media. Unlike India, which since Independence has chosen to deal with this problem in the Gandhian spirit, that is, by compromising most of the time with Islamic intransigence (if not giving in); Israel has showed that toughness first, followed by negotiations, pays better. Basically, the concept of “land for money” is something that India could learn from: In 1967, Israel was under threat of getting engulfed by its fanatical neighbours, so it stole the initiative by crushing them in a lightning Six-Day War and kept some land which it used later as bargaining chips with Egypt and Syria.

FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism), which I launched this year, was taking to Israel an exhibition on Kashmiri Pandits, one of the biggest genocides of the 20th century at the hands of Islamic terrorism, to see how it could be put up at different places in Israel to create public awareness there. Because of the hostility of Arab countries to Israel, El Al cannot overfly any of them and a journey which should take four hours takes, instead, seven hours, nearly the same time as a flight to Europe. We landed in Tel Aviv early in the morning. Tel Aviv is a modern city on the Mediterranean coast. It is much more relaxed than Jerusalem, as it is less subject than the capital to suicide attacks. People there speak several languages, girls look gorgeous and the affable Indian ambassador, Mr Raminder Jassal, who has done so much to improve Israeli-relations, hosted for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar a gracious meeting with the Indian community in Israel.

The drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is short, but the impressions are striking: The landscape is dry, rocky and arid and one wonders whether this land is worth fighting for. But Jerusalem is a beautiful city, perched on a hill, all constructed in white stone. As we arrived, the city was shining against the setting sun of a cool November evening. The King David Hotel, whe-re we stayed, is probably one of the most beautiful hotels in West Asia: Old world, stately and entirely furnished in mahogany. It also has a history of violence, as it once housed British troops and was bombed by Jewish activists. The rooms offer a view of the old city of Jerusalem and everything looked so peaceful.

Peaceful? Not really: As soon as you step out, you can feel fear: Suicide bombers can strike any time, anywhere and our security would not even allow our car to stop near a bus, for fear of it being blown up! It is Friday evening and we went to the Wailing Wall on this most holy Shabbat day. It is an impressive sight: Hundreds of young men and women, in ancient velvet black coats and funny fur hats, locks falling one each side, face the wall swaying back and forth while chanting an age old prayer that their forefathers have repeated for centuries. Sri Sri too touched the wall reverentially and concentrated for a few minutes: Two very ancient spiritualities met.

As in Ayodhya, Muslims have placed their mosque on the most sacred space of the Jews, exactly where their ancient temple was built. The golden mosque stands there as a perpetual taunt, as an unending expression of aggression. After the Seven-Day War, the Israelis control the entire area. But it remains very tense: As a mark of respect to Islam, we want to meditate in the mosque, but we are facing the wrong direction and the imam takes objection when he sees the rishi from India in a dhoti and kurta with long flowing beard and tells our security men that “Infidels” are not allowed to worship there. Luckily there are not many faithful at this time and an incident is avoided.

We met a number of dignitaries. The President of Israel, a soft-spoken gentleman, who is very worried about the Palestinians suicide bombers – “No religion condones that kind of barbaric act,” he told us; the mayor of Jerusalem, who proudly showed us the magnificent view of Jerusalem from his office terrace; Mr Shimon Peres, Nobel Prize winner and Israel’s best known face, who preaches tolerance – but even he condemns the suicide bombers; or the deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Sherenzki, a well-known dissenter from the erstwhile Soviet Union who is seen as a hawk by observers, but appears very gentle to us.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talked about all the marvellous work his volunteers are doing amongst India’s poor villages: Bringing housing, hygiene, human values, and harmony in diversity. He also speaks about the stress and post-trauma Art of Living courses – a combination of pranayama, meditation and relaxing techniques – done to great success in Iraq and Bosnia, and how they could also be taught in Palestine and Israel. When asked about terrorism, Sri Sri said: “The problem is that children should be taught a little about each religion, so that they develop a broader perspective.” If the Taliban had known even a little about the Buddha, he added, they would not have destroyed the Bamian statues.

I was surprised to note that whenever I mentioned Kashmir, neither of our interlocutors blinked: Kashmir did not mean anything to them, although it faces more or less the same problem that Israel does at the hands of the Arabs. Even, Mr Sherenzki, the Deputy Prime Minister, looked blank. That is when I realised that an exhibition on Kashmiri Pandits had to come up and we arranged for two venues, one in Tel Aviv, with the possibility of it coming up also at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. We thus left with a sense that so much more has to be done so that Indian and Israel, two ancient people sharing some of the same spiritual, cultural and contemporary problems, really start understanding each other.

Hindus: majority yet minority

Hindus: majority yet minority

Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: December 4, 2000

Hindus, who comprise the majority population of India, boasts of one the oldest cultures of the world. Sanskrit is often thought as the mother of all languages; Hindu philosophy has to considerably fashioned Greek mythology and Celticlore (as demonstrated by French Indianist Guy Deleury); and these two traditions represent the foundation of all European culture.

We all know that the zero concept originated from India, but it is not so well known that the Egyptians used Hindu arithmetic concepts to build their pyramids, that Hindus inspired Pythagorean mathematics, or what an 18th century French astronomers Jean-Claude Bailly had remarked: ‘Hindu calculations of the position of the stars and of solar eclipses were so precise that we are still using them today’.

Thus the Hindus, inheritors of an immense, noble and age-old culture, constitute 85 per cent of India and represent the social, religious and cultural majority of this emerging Asian superpower of the 21st century. And yet, their voice is rarely heard in India. They are respected neither in home, nor abroad; and they generally lack self-confidence.

Could it be that Hindus are a psychological minority in India, whereas minorities, such as the Christians, which constitute only 3 per cent of the population, wield an enormous moral power in this country, thanks to the quality of their schools and hospitals and because of the pride they have in their own religion and moral standards?

All European children, Italian or German, are brought-up on Christian values and Greek philosophy. It would be impossible, in France for instance, for the Muslim minority – immigrants from French ex-colonies such as Algeria or Morocco to impose their views and culture on the government. In fact, Muslim girls are not allowed to wear a veil when they go to French school: ‘you are in France, you have been given the French nationality, so behave like a French first and like a Muslim second’, they are told bluntly.

Would that be possible in India? Would any Indian except the much-maligned RSS, have the courage to ask Muslims to be Indians first, and Muslim second? Or tell Catholics and Protestants that they have to revert to a more Indianised Christianity, such as the one that existed in Kerala before the arrival of the Portuguese Jesuits? And see how stridently Muslims and Christians backed by most of the media – react when the Human Resources Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, wants to teach Indian children a little bit of the greatness of their culture.

There are two sets of standards used in India amongst intellectuals; one for the Christians or the Muslims; and one for the Hindus. When the Australian missionary Graham Stains and his two sons were killed the Indian and foreign press spent weeks – if not months – in eulogizing Graham and making Nazis of all Hindus held responsible for his murder. But if a few days later 20 labourers, as innocent as Stains’ two sons, are savagely assassinated by separatists in Kashmir, it will only warrant a few lines in Indian newspapers, without any of the outraged comments which followed Staines murder.

When the Ayodhya mosque was brought down, it was as if eternal shame had descended upon India. ‘Death of secularism’, ‘Hindu fundamentalists have taken over the country’, ‘a Black Day in the history of our democracy’, the newspapers screamed. However unfortunate the Ayodhya episode was, nobody was killed there; but the terrible Bombay blasts which followed, orchestrated by Indian Muslims, with the active help of Pakistan and the silent approval of Saudi Arabia, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent Hindus, never warranted the kind of moral indignation which followed Ayodhya.

Hindus are ironically chased from their own ancestral lands. There were one million of them in Kashmir in 1900 but only a few hundred today, the rest having been made to flee through terror. In the North-East, Hindus are being outnumbered by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorized by pro-Christian separatist groups, such as the Bodos or the Mizos. In Karnataka, a bill will bring more than 43,000 Hindu shrines and maths under the commissioner’s control. This act does not apply to Christians and Muslims. The Indian government still sponsors the Haj pilgrimage.

Hindus should become a little prouder of themselves: there is ample talent and brains in India today. Hindu children regularly top their schools and universities in the US, they are the best programmers of this planet and are are amongst the richest people in UK, the US or Canada. Why can’t the majority of this marvelous, diverse, ancient and extraordinary country stop behaving as if it was a moral minority?

Francois Gautier Writes

Francois Gautier Writes

Author:
Publication: Hindu Views International
Date: May 7, 2003

Dear friends,

India’s image in the West has never been so bad. We foreign correspondents have been propagating in the last few weeks a picture of an intolerant Hindu majority, ruthlessly hunting down the Muslim minority. Not only has it falsified public opinions abroad about India, but it has put pressure on Governments to bring out so called Human Rights reports on Gujarat, whereas they have no right to interfere in India’s affairs, given the fact that it is one of the very few working democracies in Asia. Would the British, who left a mess wherever they colonized, dare to interfere in such a way in China’s affairs, whose human rights record is a million times worse than India?

This is unfair: those of us who have lived long enough in this country, know that not only Hindus have historically been extremely tolerant, accepting the fact that God manifests himself at different times under different forms, but also that, in spite of the bureaucratic hassles, the dirtiness and the heat, we Westerners are living in a paradise of freedom, compared to what would be our lot in China, for instance:- we can criticize as much as we want, slander even, without fear of reprisal.

As a foreigner having covered India for 25 years, I am shocked by the ambivalence of our standards when it comes to Hindus. There were 400.000 Hindus in Kashmir in 1947 – and only a few hundreds today. All the rest have been made to flee through terror in the late eighties and early nineties. I remember when Muslim militants would stop buses all over Kashmir and kill all the Hindus, men women and children, none of the foreign correspondents and diplomats protested about human rights the way they are doing now after the Gujarat riots. There are 400.000 Hindus who are refugees in their own land, an ethnic cleansing without parallel in the world.

Why are none of us interested in highlighting this fact? Do we know that Hindus themselves have been for centuries the targets of genocide at the hands of Muslim invaders and that today in Bangladesh or Pakistan they are still at risk? In Assam, Tripura, or Nagaland, Hindus are being chased out by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorized by separatist groups, such as the Bodos or the Mizos, while local governments often turn a blind eye. Are we playing our role, which is to inform, educate our fellow countrymen, who are generally totally ignorant about India? Many of us are using the word “genocide” to describe the riots in Gujarat, or even making comparisons with the Holocaust. But do we tell our readers that Jews in India were never persecuted and lived and prospered in total freedom till most of them went back to Israel? The same cannot be said about my country France, where even today they face problems. We do not care to balance our articles: we take an isolated incident such as the murder of ‘Graham Staines’ or the riots against Muslims in Gujarat, and we make it look, as it is a whole, telling our readers abroad that Christians and Muslims are persecuted in India.

When the Ayodhya mosque was brought down, it was as if eternal shame had descended upon India: “death of secularism, Hindu fundamentalists have taken over the country, a Black Day in the history of our democracy”, we screamed ad infinitum… However unfortunate the ‘Ayodhya’ episode was, nobody was killed there; but the terrible Bombay lasts which followed, orchestrated by Indian Muslims, with the active help of Pakistan and the silent approval of Saudi Arabia, which took the lives of hundreds of innocent Hindus, never warranted the kind of moral indignation which followed the rioting against Muslims in Gujarat.

Why does nobody bother to say that maybe, the tolerant, easy going middle class Hindu, is so fed-up with being made fun of, hated, targeted, killed, and bombed, that he is ready to take to the streets? If you dare say that there are 850 millions Hindus in this country and not only they represent the majority culture, but they have a tradition of tolerance and gentleness and they cannot be the fundamentalists that the Press makes them out, you are immediately branded as an RSS Spokesman or a VHP lover. Why this primitive labels?

In the West we are not ashamed to call ourselves a Christian civilization: the American President swears on the Bible when he takes office and look also how all European children, be them Italian or German, are brought-up on the values of Christianity and the greatness of Greek philosophy. It would be impossible, in France for instance, for the Muslim minority – immigrants from France’s ex-colonies such as Algeria or Morocco to Impose their views and culture on the government. In fact, Muslim girls are not allowed to wear a veil when they go to French school: “you are in France, you have been given the French nationality, so behave like a French first and like a Muslim in second”, they are told bluntly. Would that be possible in India? Does any Indian, except the much-maligned RSS, have the courage to ask Muslims to be Indians first and Muslim second? Or tell Catholics and Protestants that they have to revert to a more Indianized Christianity, such as the one that existed in ‘Kerala’ before the arrival of the Portuguese Jesuits? And see how stridently Muslims and Christians – backed by most of the foreign Media * react when the Human Resources Minister, Dr Joshi, wants to teach Indian children a little bit of the greatness of their culture!

I know that many of the foreign correspondents arrive here with an aspiration to understand India and report fairly. The problems is that there is no way we are going to know India if we stay in Delhi, or fly all over the place, staying in five star hotels, to do features which give justice to a civilization which is 5000 years old. It is also true that in Delhi, an arrogant, superficial city, we are never in contact with the real India and always hears the same stories in the Journalists parties, or diplomatic cocktails, about secularism, the ‘Sangh Parivar’ or Human Rights in Kashmir. We should take some time off the political situation and go out to the South, which is much more gentle and easygoing than the North.

Do for instance some features on ‘Kalaripayat’, the ‘Kerala’ martial art which gave birth to ‘Kung fu’ and ‘Karate’, or on Ayurveda, the oldest medical science still in practice; or see for oneself the extraordinary ‘Ayappa festival’ in the mountains bordering ‘Tamil Nadu’, or witness the one million Christians who descend every year on the “Lourdes” of India, Velangani on the Coromandel coast. There you will discover that the genius of India, its tradition of tolerance, hospitality and gentleness lies in rural areas, amongst the humble people – and not in the arrogant westernized cities that have lost contact with their own roots. Or else, do an Art of Living Basic course and learn first hand India’s ancient traditions of meditation and ‘Pranayama’… For the truth is that if you want to know and understand this country in some degree, you have to LIVE India from the inside.

Cry, o! my beloved India – Francois Gautier

Cry, o! my beloved India – Francois Gautier

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December 18, 2006
Source: http://www.DailyPioneer.com

Indians often rave about how India is shining and sparkling. Yet,nobody seems to note that today, in India at least, we live in a world of the politically correct where truth is often a casualty and untruths take on scintillating forms. If one looks a little closely at what’s happening, we will find India has never been in such great danger of losing its identity, of forfeiting what makes it special – indeed, unique – amongst all the nations in the world.

Indians are getting divided and subdivided: Instead of feeling Indians first, they feel they are Muslims first, or Dalits first or Christians first. This is a very dangerous trend because it spells the death of the minimum unified nationalistic pride, which alone takes a country forward.

Indians today take pride in melting abroad, or adopting a ‘secular’ creed, which basically makes them soulless and identity-less, however brilliantly they may ape the West. There is also increasing Christianisation taking place in India – virtually half of the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu have converted to Christianity after the tsunami, to give just one example. Conversion to Islam, too, is going on at an alarming rate: Madarsas, which teach children that there is only one God, Allah, are sprouting all over the country, from Kerala to UP.

Marxism poses another kind of threat: The Congress-led UPA Government has placed its
Communist fellow travellers in major academic posts, universities, and curriculum committees. It will take a decade to dislodge them and correct the untruths they have introduced into the textbooks. Then, Americanisation in the name of globalisation is going on at full tilt. It can stifle the soul of the country with the connivance of advertisers, the Government and greedy entrepreneurs.

While all this is happening, the one person who can make a difference, who can put a stop to all this, the “Eminence Grise” of India, Ms Sonia Gandhi, maintains her Sphinx-like silence. Surely, she might be sincere in her desire to cleanse Indian politics and introduce rationality to the Congress party. However, her actions speak louder than words, and India has entered the worst phase of divisiveness under her dispensation-by-proxy.

Despite widespread disquiet with caste-based reservation, Ms Gandhi’s Congress party is pushing for quotas for Muslims. The Congress leaders have always cynically exploited Muslims as vote-banks while doing nothing for their uplift. But under Ms Gandhi, minority appeasement has turned into an article of faith. She may go to Tirupati but it’s only because she lives in a country of 850 million Hindus; she probably won’t mind too much if India turned into a land of converts to Christianity. As a Westerner and a Catholic, she has no idea about the spirituality behind Hinduism, and probably sees the West as the ultimate sign of civilisation.

Is Ms Sonia Gandhi at all concerned about the fact that poor tribals in large pockets in the North-East are being converted to Christianity? Where missionaries tell them that it is sinful to enter a temple, where women are asked not to wear bindis and children taught to look down on their culture as animist or heathen? Is it surprising that there is an increasing loss of communal harmony in the North-East?

Regardless of the shocks of invasions that India went through historically, there has always been syncretism among Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim communities. The ordinary Muslim in Jammu & Kashmir or the Christian in Kerala, even if he thought that his or her God was the only true one, had understanding and respect for the age-old Indian culture. Reverence for
women, respecting others’ festivals and customs, harmony with one’s neighbours were the hallmarks. Today, thanks to the pernicious policy of caste and religion-based reservation, Christians, Muslims and Dalits are taking things for granted.

What makes India special is its spirituality. The knowledge that there is life after death, the understanding of the various subtle plans above the mind, the ancient wisdom on reincarnation, dharma, karma, jnana, maya and, above all, the acceptance of God as an ethical and moral absolute, and that he manifests himself at different times under different names, is the greatest contribution of hinduism to humanity.

This is the knowledge that humanity needs in the 21st century if it does not want to continue hurtling towards catastrophe as it is doing now. The world’s two major so-called monotheistic religions, whose adherents still believe that only their God is true, and that the rest must be converted through guile and financial baits, is a medieval attitude to religion.

Some suggest that all this is because Indians have a slavish mindset. That may not be true. Still, the question must be asked: How is it possible that a nation of a billion people, with some of the best brains on this planet, allows itself to be governed by patently divisive and dangerous policies that the current UPA dispensation led by Ms Sonia Gandhi is following? What can be done to prevent the dismantling of all that is good and true about India?

Cry, o my beloved India! See what thy children are doing to thee…

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November 2001: A World Upside Down

November 2001: A World Upside Down

” Once you start seeing from the right inner perspective, you will notice that the world appears upside down, as if people were walking on their head”, often commented the Mother of Pondichery. And indeed, if you look at the world today, in this inauspicious beginning of November 2001, what do you see ?

Without any doubt, modern politics is nowadays the torch-bearer of expediency, short-cuts, and falsehood. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, all the world leaders seems to be rushing to Pakistan, to pay obedience and offer their unlimited support to President Mushrarraf, an un-elected leader of an Islamic country that has made of jihad a national enterprise. Of course, they come with their arms full of goodies: rescheduling of loans, waiving of sanctions, billions of dollars in credit, that will serve to buy weapons, a sizeable fraction of which will end-up aimed against the third great “Satan” of Islam, after the United States and Israel: India.

And then, as an afterthought, they hop on to India, to give the ever smiling and innocuous Mr Vajpayee a moral discourse on how he should behave himself and make friends with Islamabad, regardless of the fact that Pakistan keeps arming, training, sheltering and encouraging Kashmiri separatists to kill innocent Indians. Is that not a world turned upside down ?

The American war on Afghanistan also looks completely wrong: you do not win a war by bombing from the safety of supersonic planes flying at 10 kms above the ground. There is nothing much left to bomb in Afghanistan anyway, except a few innocent civilians. You do not fight terrorism with terrorism, as Bush is doing, by using Pakistan to “neutralize” the Taliban, which Islamabad created. You do not bomb on the one hand, while feeding the civilians on the others; not only are leaders always product of their own people, as Hitler and Germany amply demonstrated, not only does a nation always pay for its own past karma, as the Dalaï-lama constantly reminds us, but many of these refugees are probably supportive of the Taliban. You do no think that by killing one man – Bin Laden – you will eliminate Muslim fundamentalism, which is today a world phenomenon. You do not ignore, a huge pro-western democracy – India – which has been the victim for centuries of bloody and terrible Muslim invasions and today fights a lonely battle in Asia against Muslim fundamentalism. You do not enroll the help of China, as many of the western leaders are trying to do (Chancellor Shroeder, for instance, is there now, after his visits to Pakistan and India), probably the Taliban’s biggest investor and friend (and sworn enemy if India, even if it fools Delhi by pretending otherwise). China has only one goal today : diminish the United States as a superpower, so that it can spread its hegemony, first on Asia – Taiwan, Tibet, the Spartlys islands, parts of India (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh) – and then onto the world. It is true that the United States remains a beacon of goodwill and freedom on our planet, but because of materialism, they have lost their kshatriya spirit which they demonstrated during the first and second world war, when they saved twice Europe from the German hegemonic spirit. Today, they show not only the inability to fight and sustain casualties, but a fear that borders on paranoia. It is also true that a greater majority of Muslims are peaceful law-abiding citizens, but then history has always shown us that it is the violent politically- active minority which sways in the end the silent majority and takes control -witness Kashmir.

Is India faring better? Not at all, what do we see today in India ? Instead of seizing upon this opportunity after the 11th September attacks to strike at terrorism and take bold steps against Muslim fundamentalism, which the world would have, if not approved, at least not condemned, its leaders are just mouthing the eternal empty threats, which do not frighten anybody anymore, or coming out with the most obvious platitudes, such as the Prime Minister declaring on October the 30th, that “we will fight terrorism with tourism”, at a time when everybody knows that tourism is in the dumps ! Muslims in many parts of India are showing their support to Taliban and Afghanistan, by rioting on fridays after the prayers, burning cars and public property, attacking police, as it has been the case in Malegaon, Maharashtra. All over the world today, a spade is called spade when it comes to Muslims manifesting their support to fundamentalism, even in England, which has long turned a blind eye to the fundamentalist cancer spreading in its heart. But what happens when it occurs in India ? Newspapers, such as the Hindu or Indian Express, report it briefly, saying “one community attacked another”, or label it “communal” riots. What communal riots? Are we going to make the Hindus responsible for Muslim burning cars and rioting? Poor Hindus! One newspaper (the Hindu) even brought up the Ayodhya factor in its October 30th issue covering of Malegaon ! Is it not the world upside down? The whole problem is also about Indian journalism, which devotes pages and pages when it comes to attacking its own culture, or lambasting the “saffronization” of India, but reports in only a few lines and without adverse comment, the fact that 800 Muslim-owned hotels in Mumbai, including 5 stars, have decided to boycott American and British products to show that “we no longer tolerate the attacks on innocents in Afghanistan” (Indian Express, October 31, page 9). Is it not the world turned upside down ?

On the external front, India tolerated the terrible mutilation of its soldiers by Bangladeshis early this year, so as not too embarrass the government of the “friendly” Sheikh Hasina, which was facing an election. Unfortunately, she lost by a huge margin, and the unfriendly Begum Khaleda Zia is now in power, with the consequences that once more, a massive pogrom against Hindus has taken place, raping of women and girls, killing innocent and a new exodus of Bangladeshis in the already overcrowded and sensitive North-east. But what does the Government do? Nothing, except sending Brajesh Mishra to Dacca ! It would be enough for Delhi to close the tap of the Ganges water for three days to bring Bangladesh to its knees and thus protect the innocent Hindus of Bangladesh. But no, India, is eternally obsessed to appear goody-goody and has learnt no lesson from its perpetual humiliation at the hands of Muslims and Chinese.

Does not the BJP understand that it was voted to power on the promises of radical changes in the country and a government which would respect the aspirations of the 850 million Hindu community, which feels it has been cheated, despised, neglected, hounded, ridiculed, by 45 years of Nehruvianism ? But the BJP has been too busy looking “secular” and making useless moves such as the Bus trip to Lahore, or the Agra summit, both of which failed, because Pakistani intransigence, to do anything. It is true that once in power, you look at things from a different perspective and you are bogged down by an amorphic and often hostile bureaucracy. But what about the changes in the Constitution, the privatization of Indian Airlines and Air India, the cutting down of the arrogant and useless VIP security, or the whittling of the bureaucracy ? Nothing ! Do they not realize that they are going to be hounded out of power at the next elections and that India will be back to square one ? That today may be is its last chance to make good with its pledges? Do they not realize that no country in the world has any respect for India, that Japan has the discourtesy of sending an ex Prime Minister, whom Vajpayee should never have received himself, to ask India to “exercise utmost restraint”; or that France, towards which India made so many overtures in the last few years, is only dispatching its External Affairs Minister now (he will, of course, also pay a visit to Pakistan) ?

The Mother of Pondichery was right: every time you open a newspaper, or switch on your TV, if you are a little introverted, you will notice that the world is walking on its head and that if it keeps on doing so for a little longer, it will totally lose its balance and lead us to pralaya.

FRANCOIS GAUTIER

" SEVA AND GOVERNMENT "

Source: http://www.francoisgautier.com

In ancient India, the concept of “Seva”, of service to others, was very predominant. It was then felt that the very action of forgetting oneself and giving one’s work towards the welfare of one’s brothers and sisters, was one of the most powerful tools to the realisation of the inner Self. Today, the tradition of Seva is being revived by many contemporary spiritual movements which are creating a new avatar for Hinduism. More than that, for the first time since independence, India has a Government which can boast quite a few Ministers, who are bringing back the practice of service to their country. That is to say, that they are not in power to fill their pockets, but put the betterment of “Mother India”, before their own petty self-interests, or even those of their parties.

One such politician is Dr Manohar Murali Joshi – and amongst all the NDA Ministers, he is the one who has been most targeted by the Press. Yet, Dr Joshi has a mission, an ideal – not for himself but for his own country. The first thing that Dr Joshi feels is that “Indians lack self- confidence”, this very modern and western bend of mind which says: “we can do it” and drives people to go beyond themselves to reach their goals. And it is true : Indians are often self-depreciating and are always comparing their countries to western nations and their achievements. “Yet, says Dr Joshi, we should tell our children that modern computers would not work unless India had not invented the concept of the zero, or that high grade steel in ancient India was so good that Alexander the Great wanted it to fashion his own sword, or that rhinoplastic surgery was performed in Vedic times, long before it was known in Europe”.

Manohar Murali Joshi also believes that Indians lack “esprit de corps”, the team spirit which makes a nation great. “Look at our hockey or crickets players, says Dr Joshi, they are great individually, but cannot perform well collectively on a steady basis”. Dr Joshi could also have added that Indians are probably amongst the most undisciplined people in the world: they always break queues, drive without thinking one second about the other, clean meticulously their own front porch, but throw their garbage in the street, and have hoarded so much black money that if it would surface, it would make India one of the richest nations in the world. And here again, the key is to educate : “It has been stated that Hinduism, being too individualistic a religion, is responsible for this lack of collective spirit, argues Dr Joshi, but nothing is further from truth”. And Murali Joshi to quote from Sri Aurobindo, India’s great avatar of the New Age: “Indian civilisation lived with a noble, ample and vigorous order and freedom; it developed a great literature, sciences, arts, crafts, industries; it rose to the highest possible ideals of spiritual knowledge “…

“It is the British, asserts Dr Joshi, who attacked and ridiculed Hinduism, which they rightly perceived as the main obstacle to their complete hold over India”. And he could have added that they also created “Macaulay’s children”, Indians in body, but British in mind, whose descendants can still be found amongst Indian Intelligentsia ! “Hinduism is very community-oriented religion, contends Dr Joshi, as apart from the concept of seva, look how collective is our temple worship, with its bhajans, or how the old Panchayat system was democratic from the village all the way to the top (and not like today, where everything is decided in Delhi, with the villages having absolutely no say in anything).

What about the environment, which is so degraded today : tigers are being killed at the rate of one day, says a recent report; every year an area the size of France is deforested in India; and the holy Ganges is so polluted that it is not even fit for bathing. Are not those who defecate in the Ganges, cut their own forests and kill tigers, mostly Hindus ? “But on the contrary, replies Dr Joshi, the Scriptures tell us never to urinate in the Ganges, they enjoin us to plant trees at the time of festivities and not to kill animals. It is again the impact of ten centuries of colonisation which has made us forget this very Hindu respect of Nature”.

Finally, unless you educate Indian children about the greatness of their own civilisation, which taught the concept of seva, of collective discipline and respect for Nature’s bounties, there is no way that India is going to produce the leaps and bounds which she needs to become a superpower. You also have to rewrite Indian history, which basically has been crafted by British historians to further their claim of superiority on the “natives”, using false evidence, such as the theory of the Aryan Invasion, which all recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries are proving as false. The history of the independence of India, which has been concocted by Congress historians to show the Congress in the best light, should be reviewed too and Indian children should be told about the untold horrors of ten centuries of Muslim invasions so that they can face their own history.

And this is the task that Dr Joshi has set for himself in the true spirit of seva. Of course, “secular” historians and journalists, who often have such a Marxist-inspired vision of their country, will scream every time Mr Joshi makes a move towards “Indianisation” of what is basically a very bland copy of Western culture. But just think how seven years ago Dr Joshi had the guts to go and raise the national flag in Kashmir on 15th of August. Remember how he was reviled and ridiculed by the Indian Press ? Today he would be hero… “We can do it”…

FRANCOIS GAUTIER