Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ashoka the Great: The Legend and the Reality (270-232 BC)

Part I:

In 274 BC J.-C. King Bindusara fell seriously ill and died. His son and heir Sushima, who had gone to tame a rebellion on the North-West borders of India, rushed back to Pataliputra as soon as he heard the news. However, when he arrived, he discovered that his half-brother, Ashoka, had usurped the throne with the help of Greek mercenaries.

Prince Ashoka, Davanampriya Priyadarshi Samrat Ashoka, his full name, was born in the year 304 BC in Pataliputra. He was the son of King Bindusara and Maharani Dharma, one of the king’s many wives. From his youth he showed himself adept for combat and hunting; it is even said that he was able to kill a lion with a spear. Considered fearless – and cruel – he was sent by his father Bindusara, to teach a lesson to the rebels of the Avanti Provinces of the empire in Central India. He drowned the revolt in blood and, after his success, was named viceroy of this province in 286 BC. He was recalled by his father to help Sushima put down another revolt, that one in Taxila. Which he did – with incredible cruelty, report historians – then becoming Viceroy of Taxila. On the death of his father in 274 BC, he took control of Pataliputra, and according to Buddhist texts, killed ninety-nine of his half-brothers, including the heir Sushima, sparing only the life of his true brother, Tissa. Hundreds of officers loyal to Sushima were also executed. Ashoka eventually became emperor in 270 BC.

The beginning of Ashoka’s reign is known for having been brutal and unpopular, to the point that he was known as Chand Ashoka, “Ashoka the Cruel”. The beautiful story – and the source of his fame – reported by most contemporary chroniclers – is that Ashoka converted to Buddhism after the murderous wars of Kalinga, having seen the battlefield littered with thousands of bodies. But it seems that this version is false, because we know, thanks to some edicts found engraved in stone, that Ashoka had converted to Buddhism two years before the killings of Kalinga. Even great admirers of Ashoka, such as historian Charles Allen, acknowledge that he had been in contact with Buddhist scholars ten years prior to his famous conversion. Recent discoveries suggest that his conversion to Buddhism was due more to a dynastic politics, than his remorse at the horrors of war. The Maurya dynasty was Vedic, thus following Vedic rituals, both personally and publicly, and its priests were Brahmins. However, the Mauryan emperors, as early as Chandragupta, seemed to have wished to alleviate the Vedic yoke, which had become very constraining and had lost its original spontaneity and purity. Already, Chandragupta had forged ties with Jain monks, and in his later years, his son Bindusara became close to a parallel “heretical” sect called Ajivika, which lasted until the 14th century. It is likely that Ashoka, having usurped the throne, and despite the assassination of all possible heirs, faced the opposition of the surviving family members, many of whom had ties to the Jains and Ajivikas. At that time, Buddhists were the great rivals of Jain and Ajivikas, which would be the reason for Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism.

It is important to take a look at the kingdom of Kalinga (located in the modern state of Orissa, now Odisha), at that time a vassal empire, in the hands of the Nanda dynasty, until it was conquered by Chandragupta, Ashoka’s grandfather. Like many vassal kingdoms of Ashoka, it seems that Kalinga rebelled and allied with rivals of the emperor during the war of succession, and that it later declared independence. This seems to have drawn the wrath of Ashoka, who marched on Kalinga in 262 BC at the head of a powerful Mauryan army. The Kalingians never had a chance, and according to Ashoka’s own writings, 100,000 Kalingians died during the battle, 120,000 others perished from hunger or their wounds, and 150,000 were enslaved. As legend has it, horrified by the spectacle of this battlefield strewn with bodies, Ashoka became a Buddhist, a pacifist, for the rest of his life. This is unlikely, however, since he was used to violence, war and blood. Some historians take as evidence of his repentance the text of the decrees he had engraved on stone or pillars all over India. However, none of these inscriptions expresses neither remorse or regret. If Ashoka had felt guilty, he would have apologized to the people he had persecuted.

He does not even seem to have wanted to free the slaves of Kalinga, and in his edicts, it is noted that he threatened all ethnic groups of reprisals who may dare to revolt against his reign. In fact, it is likely that Ashoka used these inscriptions as a propaganda tool to mitigate his reputation for cruelty. In addition, a text in Pali (which succeeded Sanskrit), the Ashoka Bandara, narrated other acts of cruelty perpetrated by the emperor many years after he is supposed to have become a “pacifist”. These murderous acts were allegedly committed against Jain and Ajivika followers. The Ashoka Bandara even says that he put 18,000 Ajivikas of Bengal to death in one day – the first religious persecution in India.

This is not the only incident mentioned in this manuscript, which tells that when a Jain disciple was discovered in Pataliputra, painting the Buddha prostrating himself before a Jain monk, Ashoka ordered that he and his family be locked in their house and that be burned alive in it. He then declared that he would pay in gold for every decapitated head of a Jain. This carnage ended only when his only surviving brother, the Buddhist monk Vitashoka (also called Tissa), was mistakenly killed. Historians agree, however, that he avoided conflict with Hindu kingdoms and remained respectful of Brahmins.

(To be continued)

Saraswati or the Lost River

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, majestic rivers began to flow down from the Himalayas to the present states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan – making them the greenest and most fertile states of the Indian subcontinent – while today, some of these states such as Rajasthan, are mostly desert. All great civilizations flourished on the banks of major rivers, which tempered the climate, allowed navigation, irrigated the fields and provided drinking water for all. The ancient texts of India, including the four Vedas (Rig, Vayur, Sama, Atharva), the Puranas and the Mahabharata, mention many times the existence of a river of this type, called Saraswati.

Hindus have always venerated their rivers as female goddesses and Saraswati is the goddess of wholeness and perfection in work.

The Rig-Veda mentions Saraswati – with reverence – more than fifty times. She is described as “the best of mothers, the best of rivers, the best of goddesses”. The famous Rig-Veda hymn, the Nadi Stuti, “River Ode”, mentions a group of rivers that includes the Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati and Sutlej, and geographically places Saraswati between Yamuna and Sutlej. Its origin is indicated in the hymn which proclaims: “The purest of rivers, vibrant, the Saraswati, flows from the mountains to the ocean, lavishing its immense riches to the world…” Another hymn sings the strength of the Saraswati: “This river has shattered the mountain peaks with its large and powerful waves as easily as uprooting the lotus stems…”

It has long been thought that the Saraswati River was a myth… However, as early as 1872, C. F. Oldham and R. D. Oldham undertook a detailed study of the area where the Saraswati and its tributaries were thought to have flowed. They claimed to have located the course of Saraswati and concluded that the Saraswati had once been fed by two large rivers, the Sutlej and the Yamuna – before disappearing, following a westward movement of the first and an eastward movement of the second.

Later, in 1940, Aurel Stein explored part of the dry course of Saraswati, in the former state of Bahawalpur, where she is known as Hakra, and he identified up to ninety sites on the banks of the river. In 1969, Herbert Wilhelmy, a renowned German geologist, studied the relevant regions and also concluded that as a result of geological shifts, the Yamuna had had to change course and drain all the water out of the Saraswati.

Today, recent archaeological discoveries, as well as the new science of satellite imagery, have helped to reconstruct the birth and death of the Saraswati River. These discoveries showed that Saraswati was much wider and deeper than the Indus, which occupies the main place in our current history books. It originated in the Bandapunch Massif in the current Himalayan state of Gharwal, descended through Adibadri, Bhavanipur, Balchapurand, and flowed into the plains. There, it took a southern direction, crossing the current states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and finally threw itself into the old mouth of the Arabian Sea, the “Grand Rann of Kutch”. The decline of the Saraswati River appears to have begun about 5,000 BC as a consequence of tectonic plate movements in the Siwaliks foothills of the Himalayas.

Indeed, all of the Siwalik Mountains, stretching from Potwar, Pakistan, to the state of Assam in India, began to move in the Pleistocene era, that is to say, thereabout 1.7 Ma. It is probably one of those movements that cut the Saraswati from the glaciers that fed it. Thus, the Saraswati, depending only on monsoons, would have gradually dried up until disappearing completely around 2,000 BC. Today, satellite images show that the course of the Ghaggar River roughly represents the old bed of Saraswati. Studies with carbon and isotopic oxygen on sand particles of this river have all indicated that it was during the “Middle Ages” of the Pleistocene that this region enjoyed a temperate climate, a great abundance of water and even frequent floods.

Saraswati and Indus would thus have constituted the two great rivers during the Vedic period, but their tributaries, some of which still exist today, even though they have deviated from their course, have also played an important role: the Yamuna, Jhelum, Chenab, and Sutlej rivers.

Recent explorations, both in India and Pakistan, in the Indus and Saraswati basins have led to the identification of more than 2,000 Harappan sites. The number of sites identified in the Saraswati Basin is about seven times higher than the sites surveyed in the Indus Basin, suggesting that the Saraswati Basin has contributed to a larger share of the formation of this civilization. The total area covered was about 2.5 million km2 and stretched roughly to Ropar in the North, Dainabad on the Godavari River in the South, Alamgirpur on the Hindon near Delhi. to the East, and Sutkagendor and Mirikalat, on the Arabian Sea, to the West.

Various scientific researches (by remote sensing or isotopic geology), as well as excavations, have been able to establish even more precisely the history of Saraswati. Indian IRS-1C satellite photos, combined with radar imagery from the European Remote Sensing Satellite, have identified underground portions of the Saraswati that still exist today in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan.

Another satellite study showed that there was a natural channel between the Indus and Saraswati rivers, confirming that these two rivers were interdependent. Geological studies conducted to find drinking water in today’s dry areas of Bikaner, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan have finally revealed several areas of underground rivers unrelated to the melting glaciers of the Himalayas and which would therefore be remnants of the Saraswati. A team of three scientists from the Central Arid Zone Research Institute in Jodhpur, conducted an extensive study of the area using Landsat satellite imagery. In this report, the team concludes: “We believe that the Saraswati has contributed to the alluvial deposits of the westernmost part of the desert, and that the groundwater of this part comes mainly from what was the Saraswati River, as well as precipitation that had been infiltrated into the ground over the centuries.” To prove this, the Central Ground Water Commission dug a number of wells on and along the dry bed: out of twenty-four holes, twenty-three produced drinking water.

After the Pokharan nuclear explosions of May 11, 1998, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre conducted a series of tests to estimate their impact on water quality in the surrounding area. These tests revealed that the water in the area was drinkable and that it was about 8,000 to 14,000 BC old. It would have come from the Himalayan glaciers and would have slowly been recharged by the aquifers from the North, in spite of scant rains. These revelations reinforced the theory of what is now called the “Lost Saraswati”.

François Gautier

(extract from his forthcoming book: “AN ENTIRELY NEW HISTORY OF INDIA”


The Myth of Aryan Invasion

The Alleged Aryan Invasion

During the 18th and 19th centuries linguists began to notice many striking similarities between Sanskrit and most European languages. They came to the conclusion that these similarities were due to their belonging to the same family: the Indo-European languages, as they were called. Mentalities in the 19th century, when England dominated the industrial world were colonialist, and these linguists then imagined an “Aryan” invasion of India coming from the West, that would have occurred around 1500 BC. Much has been written about these mythical “Aryan invaders” who subjugated the indigenous peoples of India, imposed Sanskrit, replaced local traditions with a Proto-Vedic culture and a system of iniquitous caste, which gradually spread from Northern India to the plains of the Ganges. The theme of the Aryan invasion justified (in the eyes of some British) the colonization of India. According to the Sanskritist H.H. Wilson in 1958, “was to a certain extent the reunion of the great Aryan family, with the aim of civilizing and Christianizing India”. However everyone did not agree: the famous British biologist Julian Huxley rejected this linguistic association as well as the alleged Aryan family. The philologist Isaac Taylor meanwhile felt that the theory of the Aryan invasion was based on very dubious grounds. Some great figures of Indian independence, such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Ambedkar (father of the Indian constitution) proclaimed that this famous theory did not appear in any ancient text of India, and further, that the European Sanskritists distorted the translations of ancient Indian texts in order to support their theory.

The discovery of the Indus-Saraswati civilization by John Marshall, director of the Indian archaeological service, in 1856 had cast a first shadow on this theory: “It was previously thought that the pre-Aryan peoples were of an underdeveloped level, but it turns out that 4,000 years BC the men and women who lived in the cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa had a civilization well in advance of ours”[1]. In other words, this reversal revealed that the natives were the civilized peoples whereas the Aryan invaders were shown to be semi-primitive nomads. Despite this, the theory of the Aryan invasion continued to form the basis of all the history books of India.

In 1934, the archaeologist V. Gordon Childe remarked: “There is no trace of weapons in either Mohenjo Daro or Harappa, contrary to what was found after the brutal end of ancient Egypt or of Babylon, and none of the pottery depicts scenes of war.”[2]

The defenders of the Aryan invasion continued to argue that the fortifications of Mohenjo Daro were extremely thick, “which would denote the fear of invasion.” However, the American archaeologist Kennoyer retorted, “we have never found evidence of breaches produced by battles on these fortifications.” Another thesis of the fanatics of the theory of an Aryan invasion: skeletons found in Mohenjo Daro, on which were found traces of injuries, and who “would have been killed or wounded during the Aryan invasion”. But recent carbon-14 tests have shown that these skeletons belonged to different stages of the Indus-Saraswati civilization and that the wounds had healed before they died[3]

In fact, the American archaeologist, Kennoyer’s mentor, George F. Dales, had written: “There was no destruction during the last period of Mohenjo Daro, nor even traces of fire; no skeleton of a soldier dressed in armor and surrounded by weapons of war has ever been found, despite extensive excavations. So there is not the slightest proof of armed conquest or even destruction by an alleged Aryan invasion.”

Today, defenders of the Aryan invasion are beginning to step back. Instead of “invasion”, they use the word “migration”, that of peaceful nomadic tribes who introduced Indo-European languages in India. But again, no archaeological evidence of any “peaceful” Aryan invasion has been found either on the banks of Saraswati or on the banks of the Indus. As pointed out by the French archaeologist Jean-Marie Casal who directed excavations in Mundikak, another Harappan site: “there is no ‘Aryan’ archaeological definition, because no objects or weapons have been found which differ from those of the Harappan civilization[4].

Nor is there, contrary to what the defenders of the Aryan invasion have long claimed, a spiritual and cultural break between the Harappan and post-Harappan civilizations. In the one and the other we also note the same veneration of Mother Saraswati, of Shiva’s lingam, or of yoni (the sacred sex of women). This is why the archaeologist Marshall, who was one of the great specialists of Mohenjo Daro, found the Harappan culture “so typically Indian that it would be difficult to distinguish it from Hinduism as it still lives at present.” This was said in 1931 – yet it is still true today.

The latest research that also questions the Aryan invasion comes form the fields of anthropology and genetic science. Indeed, for a long time it was admitted as a fact that the Aryans had a lighter skin than the Dravidians in the South, who are black-skinned. Thus, this theory of the Aryan invasion has divided India between white-skinned, Brahman and Kshatriyas (warrior-caste of which the Maharajas are a part), and those with darker skin, Untouchables and the lower castes. Politically, even today, this myth of the Aryan invasion is exploited for electoral reasons: politicians in Tamil Nadu, for example, complain about the imposition of the Hindi language, which they regard as derived from Sanskrit and therefore of “Aryan” origin. There were even riots in Tamil Nadu in the 1980’s to protest the imposition of Hindi. Even today, the Anglican missionaries (mainly from Australia and the United States) convert the Untouchables, the lower castes and the tribals to Christianity by telling them: “You are the true inhabitants of India, you were there before the Aryans, you have nothing to do with the Hindu religion – convert!” This missionaries’ aplomb comes from the fact that for decades British or even Indian anthropologists, such as Dr. D. N. Jha, wrote: “The first Aryans were generally light in color, while the native people were of a much darker complexion. The color of their skin must have been an important sign of their identity”. Unfortunately for Professor Jha and his ilk, a lot of recent genetic research led by anthropologists such as the famous SR Walimbe who studied the skeletons of Mohenjo Daro in comparison with skeletons from other periods, taken at random, have come to the conclusion that there is “a genetic continuity between the Harappans and the Indians who inhabit this region today”.

From the 1990’s, the genetic study of populations, which had already been tested in the West, was applied to South Asian populations in general and the hypothesis of the Aryan invasion in particular. Geneticists have been able to isolate Y-chromosome mutations passed down from father to son on Harappan skeletons and compared them to contemporary Indians living in formerly Harappan regions and in various parts of India. Their conclusions are convincing: the geneticist Partha Majumder postulates that “we find an obvious unity of the Y-chromosome Harappan in all regions of India, despite a linguistic and cultural diversity extremely important.” Another geneticist, Toomas Kivisild conducted from 1999 a series of research on all populations of South Asia, from Burma to Afghanistan. He came to this conclusion: “The alleged Aryan invasion of India, if it ever existed, had no major impact on the Indian gene pool. The Caucasian traits of Indians can be considered pre-Caucasian, that is to say, part of the genetic reservoir of North Africa and North-East.”

In the year 2000, the anthropologist Susanta Roychoudhury and his colleagues performed genetic tests on ten different Indian ethnic groups and noticed “a fundamental unity of the genetic links of all these groups”. These researchers also observed that the haplogroup U, common to Northern Indians and of the Caucasian type, that is to say a group of humans having the same common ancestor in patri-lineal or matri-lineal lineage, is also present among tribes of East India, such as the Lodha and the Santal. Their analysis of the dominant presence of haplogroup M, frequently used by early supporters of the Aryan invasion theory, demonstrates that “the haplogroup M is found on 60% of the Indian population, including tribes and low castes, whatever their geographical location”. This conclusion thus completely dismantles the simplistic theory of an Aryan invasion, which would have created a very marked genetic distinction between the upper and lower castes. Indeed, Kivisild and his colleagues also discovered that “even high castes share more than 80% of genetic links with lower castes and tribes”.

A second study focused on the genetic inheritance of the early Indians through examination of the Y-M17 chromosome haplogroup, which was also considered to be the genetic mark of the Aryans. Kivisilid discovered these chromosomes among two tribes of South India, one of which the Chenchus, was genetically close to several high castes. “There is no striking genetic disparity between Indian castes and tribes,” the researchers concluded. In 2010, the geneticist Underhill led a study on the relations between the Y chromosomes of South Asian populations within the same RLA haplogroup, also supposed to be specific to Indo-Europeans. These studies came to the same conclusion as the previous ones …

It is important to insert a word here about those tribes called in India the Adivasis (the first residents), which many historians claim to be the original inhabitants of India. Anthropologists have often speculated that today’s tribes are descendants of the original inhabitants of India. This concept, which originated in nineteenth-century anthropology, shaped Indian thought as well as social, political and economic relations. There is still a latent conflict between the North and the South, between Sanskrit and Tamil, the Brahmans and the Untouchables, and an obsession with white skin which makes millions of Indian women buy cheap creams, thinking that it will help them attain lighter skin. However, all the great ancient texts of India (such as the Mahabharata, an epic poem comparable to the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer), which gives us a glimpse of the customs of ancient India, do not differentiate the tribes of the time and the populations of other castes. The contemporary anthropologist Michel Boivin notes that “firstly, many of these ancient tribes climbed the social ladder of castes and became, for example, Kshatriyas”.

Other genetic studies, on the Adivasis (Untouchable and Indian aboriginals), show that they too possess Y chromosomes similar to those of other Indian castes and that for example, high castes of the North and South are not particularly genetically related, whereas the southern castes and the southern tribes are very similar in Y chromosome terms. This, once again, challenges the theory that Adivasis and low castes are descendants of the original inhabitants of India. Moreover, an even more recent study by M. Reddy (2014) shows “that there is no significant difference in terms of DNA between Indian castes and tribal populations”.

One of the pillars of the theory of the Aryan invasion is that the people speaking the Dravidian languages today (Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu) would be the descendants of the indigenous Indians who fled the North and settled in the South following the Indo-Aryan invasion, which is to say that the Harappans spoke a Dravidian language. Unfortunately, few genetic studies have endorsed this theory, as noted by the geneticist Noah A. Rosenberg, who compared several groups speaking Indo-European languages with those using Dravidian languages. On the basis of studies of thirty-six Indian castes and groups, the geneticist Sanghamitra Sengupta claimed that the genetic landscape of the Indian subcontinent was formed long before the period of the so-called Aryan invasion.


A team of genome experts and archaeologists further broke in the myth of the Aryan invasion. The team was comprised of scientists from Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Birbal Sahni Institute of  Palaeosciences, Lucknow, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology under the CSIR (Hyderabad), Max Planck Institute ,Leipzig, Germany and University of California,USA & Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune.

The research which focussed on DNA samples collected from a the skeleton of a 4,500-year-old female genome collected from a Harappan site in Rakhigarhi, Haryana, showed that there is no trace of any foreign genetic presence in them « which proves that people belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization had distinct genetic lineage,” stated Prof  Thangaraj of CCMB, Hyderabad.

Prof Vasant Shinde, director, Deccan College further says: « we discovered that there was no detectable ancestry from Steppe pastoralists or from Anatolian and Iranian farmers, suggesting farming in South Asia arose from local foragers rather than from large-scale migration from the West ».


[1] John Marshall, Mohenjo Daro and the Indus Civilization, Vol-i (1931).

[2] Gordon Childe, The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins, Kegan Paul (London), 1926.

[3] Ibid

[4] Jean-Marie: Mundigak excavations. (Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan, Tom. XVII.) Librairie C. Klincksieck, Paris 1961.


Help India become the alternative to China.  Emphasize again and again in western forums that India is the natural economic and geopolitical partner of the USA and the rest of the civilized world. For contrary to China, it is democratic, pro-western, liberal, with a middle class as important as China’s. Tell them that the West has banked all their investments on China, neglecting India, the other giant of Asia, which is a grave mistake because some social upheaval is bound to happen in China sooner or later, as it is now in Hong Kong, because as soon as the authoritarian hold is removed one way or another. Highlight the fact that India is a much safer bet in the long run for western investments. Already India’s PIB has overtaken the Chinese, who are facing a lot of economic difficulties. Tell them that at the very least, the US, UK and Europe should balance their chips by investing half of them in India – the Prime Minister, Mr Modi is in the process of liberalizing the economy and making it easier for foreign investors. Tell them that India is the next economic superpower and that it has a much better human rights record than China.

 It is also very important that you point out that India is the natural geopolitical buffer of the West in an Asia racked by Islamic fundamentalism and the Chinese thirst for hegemony (explain to the British that Beijing is claiming for instance an Indian state as big as England – Arunachal Pradesh). The UK and the US also keep making the mistake of funding and arming Pakistan, even when they fully know that the Pakistanis have unleashed Islamic terrorism not only towards Kashmir, but unto the whole world.

Spread Happiness in the West. “India will become the spiritual leader of the world”, Swami Vivekananda had predicted. Thus share with your western friends the fact that hatha yoga, today practiced by hundreds of millions in the world, is a Hindu invention. Tell them too that Ayurveda, also taking the West by storm, is the oldest medical system still in practice in the world; that much before the West knew it used plants and minerals to cure people, knew that many illnesses have psychosomatic sources, and that Indian doctors practiced plastic surgery 1000 years before Christ. Talk about Pranayama, the most exacting, precise, mathematical, powerful breathing discipline one can dream of. Its effects and results have been observed and categorised by Indian yogis for millenniums. This extraordinary knowledge, brings in very quickly wonderful results in both the well being of the body and the quietude of the mind. Pushed to its extreme, it gives to the disciple deep spiritual experiences and a true inner perception of the world. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has revitalized this science and packaged it in modern terms. Help them to practice meditation, queen of all the yogic sciences, that which is above everything, that without which any yogic discipline is impossible. That which interiorizes us, carries us within ourselves, to the discovery of our true soul and nature. There are hundreds of different mediation techniques, simple, cartesian, easy to experience, which have been devised by Indian sages since the dawn of Bharat. Each one has its own characteristics, each one gives particular results, which has been experienced by the billions of aspirants who have practiced them since the dawn of Vedic times. This is the Wonder that IS Hinduism, tell them.

In conclusion, when the Hindus help shed these prejudices which have been harming their image, they can not only continue to contribute to the world’s economic growth, as they have done for several decades, but also, once they participate more intensely in the political power, be recognized as a distinguished community, with a separate and honored identity. Francois Gautier



Take political power in the West & Unite.  You know by now that wherever Hindus exiled themselves, they did well, whether as laborers in Mauritius or doctors in the UK or IT engineers in the USA! They pay their taxes, integrate themselves, do not riot, their children top in colleges and universities and generally blend in the culture of the country they adopted. Everybody also knows that some of the biggest multinationals, such as Adobe, Microsoft, Diageo, Mastercard, Google, Pepsi, or others are today headed by Indians – read Hindus.

Yet, Hindus are individualistic people and they tend to look down on politics, as something ‘dirty’. This is why they did not always get the politicians they deserve in their home country. We see today that a lot of Muslims are elected in local boroughs or even towns in the US and UK, or even as Mayor of London. That is good and should be praised. But it is also true that often these Muslim leaders tend to think only of their community and sometimes use their offices to enforce the vision of their particular communities, such as segregated swimming pools, or even try to modify British textbooks. Hindus, with their universal outlook will not do such things. But they need to come out of their shells and stand for elections at all levels of the British political system.

Another drawback of Hindus in the UK and the USA, is that they are terribly disunited and are splintered in many groups, along states of origins, profession, or even castes, sometimes even are at odds with each other. Hindus in the USA & UK should therefore unite under one umbrella organization & the united Hindu diaspora leadership should meet at least once a year with a rotating president.

Explain Narendra Modi. There is a lot of disinformation floating around India, specially after the abrogation of Article 370 by the PM, which saw so much negative and untruthful coverage by the western Media – BBC in particular. We saw how poverty, caste and polytheism still hang around Hindus’ necks, but what about political misconceptions? For instance, Hindus in the West should offer some counter arguments on the disinformation about Mr Narendra Modi, India’s present prime Minister. They should first remind their friends, that Mr Modi had made of his state, Gujarat, the most efficient, most prosperous and least corrupt of all the states of India. Of course, he is labeled “anti-Muslim and accused him of having engineered the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim riots. But remind them that these riots were triggered by the horrifying murder of 57 Hindus, 36 of them innocent women and children, burnt like animals in the Sabarmati Express. Riots of that intensity like in Gujarat, do not happen in a day, they are a result of long term pent-up angers and a spark like the killing of Hindu brothers and sisters, whose only crime was that they believed that the God Ram was born in Ayodhya, is enough the ignite the smoldering fire.

Ask your British friends if it is logical that only Mr Modi is targeted? But who went down in the streets in fury in 2002? Hundreds, if not thousands of Gujuratis, not only from the lower strata of society, not only Dalits, but also middle class, and sometimes even upper middle class! Should they also not be judged and condemned? But then it would be the whole of Gujarat who should be hauled to court, an ancient and noble race, who gave so much to India, including Mahatma Gandhi, and today is still exporting all over the world its upright and successful businessmen, to the UK or the US, for instance, where they own most of the motels. Finally, tell them that it was never proved that Mr Modi waited 24 hours before calling the army to quell the riots.


François Gautier


  1. Explain the caste system to westerners. Caste is still a curse that hangs around India’s neck. While it is true that 75% marriages are still arranged in India, Hindus in the US, UK and elsewhere, need to whisper in the ears of their western friends that the Indian Government has made tremendous efforts since 1947 to uplift the lower castes. And it has succeeded in great measure. Tell them that your present Prime Minister comes from one of the lowest castes and was a tea seller, that some of today’s Indian Chief Ministers are untouchables, or that one of India’s best known saints, Amrita Anandamayi, who has hundreds of thousands of disciples in the US, UK, & millions all over the world, and has built hospitals, universities, housings for the poor, comes from the lowest caste possible in Kerala.

You can also ask your western friends if the caste system is really that worse than the huge class differences you can see nowadays in Europe or the USA!


  1. Dispel the notion that Hindus can be fundamentalists and violent. Hindus need to repeat again and again to their British brothers and sisters that the only country in the world where Jews were never persecuted is India. Tell them that the genius of this country lies in its Hindu ethos, or rather in the true spirituality behind Hinduism. Explain that the average Hindu that you meet in a million villages, possesses this simple, innate spirituality in his or her genes and accepts your diversity, whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Jain, Arab, French or Chinese. It is this ‘Hindu-ness’ (which cannot be experienced if you sit in Delhi most of the time) that makes most Indian Christians different, from say a French Christian, or an Indian Muslim unlike a Saudi Muslim. Also that Hindus have given refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Syrian Christians, the Parsis (Iranian worshippers of Zarathustra), the Jews, the Armenians, or today the Tibetans (the real Tibet is in India now, as the one in the hands of the Chinese has lost much of its Tibetan character). Thus you cannot find less fundamentalist than a Hindu in this world and Hindus in the US, UK & Europe, should immediately react when they read articles in the British Press (often unfortunately from New Delhi-based correspondents) trying to equate Islamic terrorism, which blow-up innocent civilians, to angry ordinary Hindus who burn churches without killing anybody. Tell them that however reprehensible was the destruction of the Babri Masjid (a Mosque built in the 15th century by Muslim invader Babar on a very ancient and holy Hindu temple dedicated to the God Ram), no Muslim was killed in the process; compare this with the ‘vengeance’ bombings of 1993 in Mumbai, which wiped-out hundreds of innocent, mostly Hindus. Yet, the Babri Masjid  destruction is often described by journalists as the most horrible act of the two. Today, you can argue with your western friends, Hindus are one of the most successful, law abiding and integrated communities in the world. Can you call them terrorists?








Every 6th person on this Planet is a Hindu and Hindus still constitute the overwhelming majority in India – nearly 80% of the population. Humanity needs thus to re-discover the wonder that is Hinduism, the oldest spirituality still in practice in the world. It is also true that Hindus must to rise to the challenges of this second millennium. Here they are – in order of difficulty.

  1. Break the Polytheist image. One of the most enduring clichés about Hinduism is that Hindus adore a multitude of gods and goddesses, which makes them heathens in the eyes of Christians, thus good to be converted to the ‘true’ God, often with unethical financial baits; & ‘kafirs’ for Muslims from all over the world, particularly from neighboring countries, such as Pakistan, which encourages them to wage a jihad on India.

Yet, Hinduism, whether you want to call it a religion or a spiritual system, is without doubt one of the most monotheist creeds in the world, because it always recognized that the One is Many and that He incarnates Himself or Herself in a multitude of forms – hence the million of gods & goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. Vedic Sages (from the Vedas, the oldest and most sacred Scriptures of Hinduism) had understood that man has to be given a multiplicity of different approaches to the Unfathomable. And truly, for the Hindus, the Divine cannot be “this” or “that” – neti, neti. In its essence, He cannot be several – or even one – and thus can never be perfectly seized by the human mind. Indeed, Hindus, who were once upon a time the best dialecticians in the world (and this is maybe why they are today the top software programmers of this planet), were able to come-up with this kind of equation: a) God is in the world; b) the world is in God; c) the world is God; d) God and the world are distinct; e) God is distinct from the world, but the world is not distinct from God; f) it is impossible to discern if the world is distinct from God or not… Never has the unique nature of Hindu polytheism been better defined.

Hindus in the world need to emphasize to their western brothers and sisters that they have also always recognized the divinity of other religions, as their concept of the avatar (the different forms that the Divine takes at different times to incarnate Himself or Herself in a human form) helped them to accept the reality of other prophets, masters or gurus. It is, for instance, perfectly acceptable for an ordinary Hindu to have on his wall the image of Krishna, alongside the one of Buddha, one of the Christ, with a few photos of the Mecca or even John Fitzgerald Kennedy ! And Hindus have always worshiped at non-Hindu places, such as Velangani, the Christian seat of pilgrimage of South India, or some Sufi shrine in Kashmir or Rajasthan. It should be said too that Hindus never tried to convert others to their own religion, not even by peaceful means, as the Buddhists did all over Asia; and their armies never but oh, never, set to conquer other nations to impose their own culture and religion, as Islam and Christianity did, often in a bloody manner. Thus, Hindus in the West, need to be able to counter in a knowledgeable manner, verbally or in writing (letters to editors, etc.) this wrong polytheist image which has harmed them.

  1. Dispel the image of poverty attached to India. One of the reasons Hindus are not taken too seriously abroad, is that their country, India, is always associated with poverty. True, there is still poverty in India, social inequality, but since 1947, thanks to the Green Revolution, there has been no famine. Hindus in the West can always counter this pervading untruth in the mind of the English, by stating that according to British records, one million Indians died of famine between 1800 and 1825; 4 million between 1825 and 1850; 5 million between 1850 and 1875; and 15 million between 1875 and 1900. Thus, 25 million Indians died in one hundred years under the benevolent rule of the British Raj!

Poverty in India is also commercially exploited by Hollywood and writers. A book such as ‘The City of Joy’, by Frenchman Dominique Lapierre, which was a huge success worldwide, gives the impression that India is a vast slum, which is absolutely untrue – and the author, who often comes to India, had to know that he was inducing his readers in error. As for the film “Slumdog Millionnaire”, which raked-up so many Oscars, it is even more perverse: it says things which are false, portrays situations that are untrue, such as the young boy throwing himself in excrement, to get an autograph of India’s film star Amitabh Bacchan & should have been boycotted by Hindus.

Yet, India is a wealthy country. It is said, even today, because of the socialist policies of previous governments and the heavy taxation, that half of India’s money is in the black. The poverty is only there because of the mismanagement, the dishonesty, and the inheritance of wrong structures. For Indians must be with some of the best savers in the world. And they don’t hoard in abstract concepts: they go in for solid gold, land, cash – and that from the little shopkeeper to the business magnate.

As economic liberalisation is happening in India at this very moment, the rise of India as a superpower will herald the rise of the status of Hindus in the West and all over the world, for today the assessment that every industrial nation in the world casts on another country, is primarily economical. Thus China is respected so much today in the world, not for its political power, which is overshadowed by immense Human Rights abuses (Mao Tse Tung killed 3 million of his own people during the Cultural revolution and it has been calculated that one million Tibetans have been murdered by the Chinese), but by its economic clout. In the same way, India’s image, whose PIB has now overtaken China’s, will shed many of the prejudices attached to her, when the world takes notice of the huge investment possibilities there.