What is intellectual fascism? It is to accuse the other, without bothering to analyze these charges by the test of logic and reason …
Fascism is also to refuse dialogue, which can take place before witnesses in the form of a debate. All Indologists who denigrate India, whether American ones, such as Witzel, or French like Jaffrelot, always refuse to dialogue with those they denigrate or those who defend the Hindus.
Fascism is to label someone who has lived 40 years in India, has been married 20 years to an Indian, whose friends are Indians of different ethnic origin or religion, to be a right wing fascist. Someone, who in his private life, is neither racist nor hateful, nor fascist .
Intellectual fascism is sitting behind a plush desk in Harvard or Paris (or in this big bubble that is Delhi) and dissect India, using prejudices and false theorems, based on the politically correct, which are only a product of one’s education, atavism, or what one reads (this is called second hand knowledge).
Fascism is to label as a fascist someone who has covered Kashmir for 15 years at the time of its most serious unrest, who has traveled extensively in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and who crisscrossed India like very few western journalists, except maybe Mark Tully. Even if he is wrong – at least he speaks from experience – and perhaps the time will prove him right…
All I did when I was working for Swiss newspaper Le Journal de Genève and later French daily Le Figaro, was to state that there was a problem with Islam in South Asia, at a time when it was not politically correct to say so. I also wrote a series of articles on major religions in India, showing the enduring tolerance of Hinduism, the brutality of Islam, the proselytizing tendencies of Christianity and the disappearance from India of Buddhism – not at the hands of Brahmins – but thanks to Muslim invasions. These articles provoked the ire of French Indologists, who began writing to Le Figaro an impressive number of letters of protest, demanding my resignation. From that day, I was marked and a smear campaign at all levels has been initiated against me.
When one is accused of being anti-Muslim, it’s worse than being a leper, one is sentenced without trial, without the accusers putting themselves in question for a second. If they did, they would realize that it is a terrible irony: we excuse suicide bombings in Israel or in Mumbai which kill thousands of innocents, in the name of the ‘persecution’ of Palestinians, Chechens and Kashmiris; but accuse of the worst crimes someone who has never murdered anyone, or even advocated hatred, but simply wrote about the reality he found on the ground with his own eyes, during twenty years of reporting.
Throughout my career I have thus suffered from these labels that are not explained but are passed on from person to person and quickly make the around of everything related to India, whether travel agencies, expatriates, diplomats or journalists: “He is an anti- Muslim, a pro-Hindu, a Fascist” … Nowadays, even the most enlightened only want to listen to the politically correct, the current ideologies of the masses, they rarely want to listen to something different which strives to go beyond appearances. I have seen six ambassadors of France, but never have I been asked about my opinion on one subject or another. I was even recently thrown by the current ambassador, Jerome Bonnafont, who called me a fascist … … because I told him that it was only after 59 innocent Hindus including 36 women and children, had been burnt in a train by a mob of Muslims, that the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat have started (Jerôme Bonnafont who is the first openly gay foreign ambassador, should know better).
It is this very French arrogance, which is not normal in the land of Descartes, which labels as a sect, anything which has a Hindu color, or casts as fascists anybody with whom they disagree, without giving them the chance to defend themselves. President Sarkozy, who showed he could be different, should form a small committee of French who LIVE India from within, so as to advise him.