Tag Archives: Indian

Francois Gautier FAQs – 2

A) Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Married to Indian, other roots in India?

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

Q. Relationship to Auroville?

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

B) Publications and books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C)· Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Your views on Islamic invasion and missionary invasion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D) Closing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

* La dernière Caravane des Indes (to be published)

Francois Gautier FAQs – 1

1. Why did you choose to move to India ?

I came to India by accident, if you wish. My best friend’s father was the last French Governor of Pondichery and he told me there was a caravan of cars driving from Paris to Auroville-Pondichery. AS I had had a strict upper class Christian education, I thought I needed to see the world – and driving to Pondichery seemed a good way to start. But when I reached Delhi I understood India was my home and I stayed.

2. What would you consider the greatest change brought in you by the masters Shri Aurobindo and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?

Sri Aurobindo is my Supreme Master, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is my living guru becasue he does the work that I feel is most important for Mother India and of which Sri Aurobindo was a pioneer.

3. Why is terrorism in India a topic that is ignored by the West?

West is good-willing but extremely ignorant about India. We need to educate westerners about India. There are a few hurdles, chief amongst them Western Indologists who have made it a tradition to belittle India and its traditions and always harp and amplify its negative sides, such as castes, sati, child marriage, poverty, etc.

4. Why do you think Western Media ignores the human rights abuses against Hindus inflicted by terrorists?

Well, the West  is facing the same terrorists threats than India, but as long as it is not hit too hard by them, it pretends they do not exist. How long with this blindness last???

5. What motivated you to create a “Museum of True India History”?

We see more and more today that Indian History has to be rewritten according to the latest linguistic and archaeological discoveries, if Indian children are to understand who they are and where they come from. We know now that not only the history of India’s beginnings were written by European colonizers, with an intention to downsize, downgrade and postdate Indian civilization, but that unfortunately, generation after generation of Marxist Indian historians, for their own selfish purposes, endorsed and perpetuated these wrong theories, such as the Aryan invasion, which divided India like nothing else, pitting South against North, Aryan against Dravidian, Untouchables against Brahmins.

Not only that, but British and Marxist historians, eager to give prominence to the Congress, which was in the first place a British institution, robbed of their true places in history giants, such as Sri Aurobindo, who, apart from being the avatar of the ‘supramental’ age, was the early prophet of Indian independence, when all Congress wanted was a few crumbs from the British. As a result, very few Indian children know about Sri Aurobindo today. Thus we need to have a physical place where true Indian history will be shown.

6. Can Kashmiri Pandits ever hope for a return to their homeland and for the world to understand the atrocities committed against them?

There has to be a strong Hindu nationalistic government in place for that. It willnot happen for quite some time.

7. What is life like for a “firangi” In India?

It’s good. I am a lucky guy. Hindus and Indians accept easily different people in their midst.

8. Any special message for our readers?

How much of yourself do you give to your American identity – and how much space do you preserve for your Indian-ness ? These are the questions that Indian expatriates should ask themselves today. For we see many of the children of Indians who settled in the US twenty or thirty years ago, merge themselves totally in the American way of life, speak with an American accent, eat Mac Donald, think American… and in the process forget all about their wonderful Indian culture… Hindus need to be united in the US, as they are fragmented in a thousands of groups that often fight with each other. The time of Hindu power has come.

Francois Gautier: Custodian of India’s Historical Heritage

Houston Web

HOUSTON: Eminent journalist and author Francois Gautier is passionate about India. His love affair with that country began in the ‘70s, when as a young student, he left his native France and meandered across Europe and arrived in India. So captivated was he by India’s arresting liveliness and the warmth and kindness of the people, that years later in the early ‘80s he returned to India and made it his home. During the last three decades, he has been a high-profile ambassador to India through the power of his pen.

“It is a wonderful privilege to be born Indian,” said Gautier to a multigenerational gathering at the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston on August 10. “I’m a westerner but I feel it is a privilege to live in India.”

The renowned writer is currently visiting several cities within the US to raise funds through his visionary foundation FACT – India for the creation of an Indian history museum in Pune, in the state of Maharashtra in India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, named for the Indian military leader Shivaji (1627 – 1680), will cost an estimated US$40 million. Gautier is eager to begin work as soon as he returns to India and is confident that this fundraising tour will bring in the much-needed initial $100, 000 to jumpstart the project. A wall within the museum will bear the names of donors supporting the museum project. The museum will be built on land donated by a private trust. Gautier believes that with the help of commissioned historians hired by the museum, visitors will be privy to accurate chronicles of India’s great history. For Gautier, the epiphany came upon him when he started research on a book he was writing. He found that history books carried outdated theories such as the Aryan invasion that have since found to be fictional.

Earlier in the day, he chatted informally with Indo American News sharing his thoughts and vision for the museum.

“India has been largely maligned by distorted information and misrepresentation. No records or schoolbooks have a correct account of the Hindu Kush genocide, where millions were slaughtered. Exactly how many were killed isn’t known but that was India’s holocaust. Yet everyone knows about the Jewish Holocaust,” said Gautier. “India’s history, falsely propagated by the British, Christian missionaries, and western media, has made me realize that we need to show Hindu civilization in its correct and true context. For the sake of our children and the generations to come, and the world!”

The first exhibit to be set up will honor the life and times of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. India’s rich cultural heritage will be portrayed through the Vedas. The museum will document and exhibit the various invasions from Alexander the Great to the Arabs, the Goa Inquisition, the ongoing massacre of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus by Muslim terrorists, the persecution of the Syrian Christians, Buddhism’s rise and decline, India past and current. Highlighted too, will be India’s glorious contribution of yoga and Ayurveda to the world community.

“The museum will be there for our children, for them to know that regardless of the fact that the British broke the backbone of our agricultural system and caused the deaths of millions of Indians from famine, and despite the Muslim onslaught, India prevailed and remains prosperous,” added Gautier, a practicing Hindu who was spiritually influenced by the writings of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). He has since joined forces with spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who supports him in his quest for the truth about India’s past. Gautier estimated that it would take several years till completion of the museum.

“I’m thinking about 10 to 15 years. Once people realize how important this project is, and how essential, the funds will pour in,” confided Gautier. Speaking softly in a lilting Indo-French accent, his messages however were undoubtedly strong as he condemned the slaughter and maniacal “ethnic cleansing” of Hindus in the Kashmir valley by the Muslims, an area Gautier covered as a political journalist from 1987 to the late ‘90s.

“There were over a million Hindus living peacefully in Kashmir. Today there are a mere hundreds. The Kashmiri Pandits moved me with their despair, but nobody else seemed to give a damn. Indian media abroad and in India were only covering the Muslim angle,” said Gautier.

Through FACT – India, an organization he founded in 2003 to draw attention to human rights abuses in South Asia, Gautier documented the genocide in Kashmir in a video called Terror Unleashed – An Exhibition on Kashmir, and presented it to the US Congress in the desperate hope that Washington would intervene and help resolve the issue.

“Several House Representatives saw it and lauded the video but nothing was really done about it,” said Gautier. “US presidents think that by pouring money into Pakistan, it will curb terrorism. That won’t work.”

Gautier said that the dissent among Hindu community leaders has led to disunity.

“If there’s fighting among ourselves, how do we present a united front to the world? After all this time that Indians have been in the US and enjoy great prosperity, they still do not have a voice that is heard. Yet other communities work together and in that unity, they find a voice. Indian organizations need to share a common agenda and work towards that.”

He confided that it is “tragic” that the children of Indian immigrants adopt the American way of life and are lost to India.

“They’re hostile to spirituality. And it’s mostly the fault of the parents who either don’t care, or don’t instill cultural pride in their children. Families are fragmented, values lost. Instead of pushing children to visit the temple, engage them in other spiritual activities like the classical arts and yoga. It will bring them closer to their cultural roots,” said Gautier. “It’s such a pity that India is so poor at sports, as that could have helped make them proud of India.”

At a private meeting with local youth at the Arya Samaj, Gautier urged young people to be proud of their cultural heritage. “It is a privilege and a responsibility to have Indian roots and there is no contradiction here – you hail from the lineage of the Vedas. People are moving forward and coming to Hinduism for spiritual answers,” said Gautier.

By Kalyani Giri, www.indoamerican-news.com

It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu: Francois Gautier

_Gauiteweb_912441932NEW YORK: Noted French journalist and writer Francois Gautier who has made India his home and propagation of Hinduism his cause and mission for over three decades, is currently traveling across the US to raise funds through his foundation, FACT – India, for the setting up of an Indian history museum in Pune, India.

Gautier, perhaps one of the very few Westerners to have unconditionally adopted a Hindu way of life, feels the widely prevalent distorted image of Indian history as propagated by the British, Christian missionaries, communists and the western world in general for over two centuries, has necessitated the museum to portray Hindu civilization in the right light.

In an interview with India Post during his visit to New York last week, Gautier spoke about his ambitious museum project, the many threats to Hinduism in today’s world and how Hindus can gain the respect of the world.

IP: Can you tell us about the Museum of Indian History?

Gautier: I have been donated some land in Pune by a private trust where I want to build the museum to be called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History.

I see in India there are no museums of Indian history worth the name. So the idea is to start from the Vedas, go on to talk about the greatness of the whole of India and the entire drama of the invasions through history, the Hindu holocaust, and then portray India of today and tomorrow.

IP: What kind of funds do you need and how long will it take to complete the museum?

Gautier: It’s a huge project but definitely it will happen. It’s about $40m dollars, and I don’t know how long it will take — perhaps 10-20 years, because I don’t have the money right away. But I am ready to start, once I start, the donations will come and people will understand the importance of this museum.

IP: Why is it important to have such a museum?

Gautier: As a journalist and writer, when I started documenting for my book, I realized that most history books on India are based upon very old theories considered defunct or debatable such as the Aryan invasion theory, which evidence shows has never taken place.

Both British historians and later Nehruvian historians have toned down the considerable impact on Indian culture of the invasions starting from Alexander the Great to the Arabs, the Muslim invaders and the British — that entire part of the history has been swept under the carpet. And even later, the history of India’s Independence is very unfairly portrayed.

The need of the museum is very important so we can look at India’s history in a very scientific manner, which is what my organization FACT India is doing.

IP: Will the museum focus only on the Hindu history of India?

Gautier: The museum will also broach upon many of India’s dark periods in its history like the inquisition in Goa by the Portuguese, the Sufi persecution, the Ahmedi Muslim persecution in Bangladesh, how the Buddhist history was wiped out and how some of the early Syrian Christians of Kerala were persecuted. And of course the Hindu holocaust right from Hindu Kush (massacre of Hindus) to the current terrorist activities against them.

I want school children to come to the museum and learn of their own culture and be proud. Kids in Indian schools are learning about Shakespeare and Milton, not about their Hindu or Indian culture. In my country we are taught about great French people like our poets, social reformers, artists etc… so I grew up proud of my culture, but Indian kids do not grow up learning about or feeling proud of their culture.

IP: Do you see any kind of opposition to your project from either the government or any section of the Indian society?

Gautier: Of course there’s bound to be some opposition, you can’t make everybody happy. But one has to go by the truth. Whatever one’s limitations, if backed by truth, even if it is opposed, there will be some kind of direction and protection.

In fact, there are three reasons for setting up the museum in Pune: One– of course the land donated is in Pune; second– since I work in Pune, I found that people of Pune, irrespective of their political affiliations, are quite nationalistic in nature. I feel my museum will be more protected in Pune than anywhere else in India; thirdly– Pune is Shivaji’s birth place. There is no museum of Shivaji anywhere in Maharashtra though he is a true hero. So naming it after Shivaji will be a protection for this museum.

IP: Over the many years of your career, how successful have you been in changing western perceptions of Hinduism?

Gautier: It’s a very difficult task, because unfortunately the image of Hinduism is not that good. But, there is more ignorance than hostility. Westerners do not know that it is a monotheistic religion. Secondly, Hindus, especially Brahmins have been at the receiving end of many like the British, the missionaries, the Islamic invaders all of who created a very negative image of Hinduism — particularly the missionaries emphasized only the negative sides of Hinduism and amplified them a thousand times. Today we still find that even after 200 years, these negative images have survived even in the minds of Hindus in India.

Unfortunately it is a great handicap for journalists like me who like Hinduism and want to defend it. I can’t say I have been very successful, but at least now westerners are open to going to India and understanding Hindus.

There are so many good things to be said for Hinduism, but unfortunately there is no will among Hindus to try to explain to westerners. Hindus are just content to come to the West and melt into local cultures or at best keep their spirituality and religion to themselves.

IP: What do you think of the role of the Indian intellectual elite and media in projecting the image of Hindus?

Gautier: The British have left such a mark on the minds of much of Indian intelligentsia and elite, right from the erstwhile Maharajas who have copied the British way of life that it has left a deep impression on generations after that. Today Indians think that everything that comes from the West is good. It’s very stupid, because many things in the West have failed like family values etc.

This generation of Indian intelligentsia is aping Marxism so brilliantly, which is dead even in Russia, and is probably only left in Cuba, but I don’t see why Indians should copy Cuba (laughs).

Look at the Chinese, they are so proud of their culture; nobody dares to fiddle with them, even America will not dare to interfere with their affairs.

IP: Many Hindus fear the very survival of Hinduism in the face of Islamic fundamentalism. How real are their fears?

Gautier: The fear is very real. I see there are five or six enemies that may be covertly or overtly attacking Hinduism. In the past there was any one threat at a time like the Greek, British or Muslim invasions. But today, there are the threats of Muslim fundamentalism, Christian conversions, Marxist onslaught, Westernization and so on which are eroding the Indian culture all at the same time. However, there are many great gurus today like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others who are repackaging the Hindu tenets like spirituality. pranayama, yoga, ayurveda etc for everyone’s easy consumption while not associating them with Hinduism. Though I do not agree with that, it’s an important movement today and helping to preserve that culture.

It’s true that Hinduism is under attack and it looks frightening at times. That’s why the museum is so important.

IP: Have you ever felt conflicted about the culture you were born into and the one you adopted?

Gautier: Personally I have never felt conflicted, but people of my country often do not understand why I defend the Hindus– that has been a bit of a problem. Though my country is sympathetic to India, when you touch the intellectual layer – people who are fed on the Nehruvian history and the downgrading of Hindu culture, I have come into conflict sometimes with these people. But for me living in India is a protection; people often appreciate the work I do. Some of my friends do not understand why I poke the dangerous Islamic fundamentalism by defending Hindus. I started speaking about it (Islamic fundamentalism) 20-25 years ago when it was not at all politically correct to speak about it. Even those friends who like me sometimes do not really understand me. I have faced a lot of hostility also.

IP: What can Hindus living in America do to preserve their culture?

Gautier: For Hindus living in the US, whether fist or second generation, it is important that they carry their Hinduness. It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu, because you inherit the knowledge which is very ancient and very practical. Also the many Hindu groups which are scattered should unite to become a lobby like the Jews. They should teach their children to be proud of being Hindu while being faithful to their Americanness. They should create a lobby in the US to be able to influence South Asia policy at the administration level and see that it does not cap India’s nuclear policy.

IP: Is there something that really frustrates you?

Gautier: Hindus don’t think big. Most Hindu movements in the US have mostly people without a vision, they don’t unite; it’s very frustrating. When I last visited the US in 2002, the Hindu community was more vibrant, today I find many of the Hindu leaders of that time burnt out or taken a back seat or gone back into mainstream life; that is saddening. If only Hindus knew their own power — there are one billion in the world — Islam is conscious of its might and its numbers; Christianity though on the decline, is conscious of its greatness in terms of technology and power. Hindus, who are not all that small in number, have to use more muscle. Meekness and submissiveness will not take them far, they have to show muscle power. That’s the way to get respect in the world.

By SRIREKHA  N. CHAKRAVARTY, India Post News Service

URL: http://www.indiapost.com/us-news/5138-special-privilege-born-Hindu-Francois-Gautier.html


Each nation, like the human soul, packs karma in each of its lives or cycles. Good karma or bad karma have one unique characteristics: they are like a tiny seed, bearing their fruits ages or cycles later, often giving the impression to the ignorant mind of total injustice done to innocent souls. Thus the individual who seems to suffer unfair circumstances in this life, may be paying for a bad karma done dozens of lives ago. In the same manner, a nation which appears to suffer inexplicable hardships: persecution, earthquakes, great natural catastrophes, dictatorships, may be amending for a karma accomplished centuries ago. The Tibetan people’s plight seems to be a good example of this phenomenon. Here is one of the most harmless, peaceful, adorable culture on earth, spiritualised on top of that, who suffered and is still suffering the worst ignominies at the hands of the Chinese communists, who have eradicated their culture, razed to the ground hundreds of ancient and marvelous temples, killed either directly or indirectly – concentration camps, torture, famine – more than one million of this adorable people! Why? The Dalai-Lama, himself, one of the last great spiritual figures of this era, admits that it was because of an ancient “black karma”, bad deeds. Was it feudalism? Was it not opening itself to the world for so long? Or misuse of Tantrism? Who knows and who can judge? But it’s a good bet to say that there is probably no total injustice in this world. Everything springs from a mathematical, ultra-logical system, where one gets the exact reward one deserves, which bears no moral connotation like in Christianity. That, is called Karma.

There is also another wonderful concept in India, that of Dharma, which is the path of righteousness and living one’s life according to the codes of conduct as described by all ancient scriptures. It means “that which holds” the people of this world and the whole creation. On the other side, a-dharma is what makes people stray from the path of compassion, love, togetherness and that which creates hate, corruption and selfishness. As in a human being, a nation can choose a dharmic path or an a-dharmic one. The dharmic path, whatever the pitfalls, ensures the survival of the soul of a nation – which has been India’s story so far; and the a-dharmic one, the fall of even the greatest of civilisations, whether Rome, Greece or Egypt. Today for Indians, dharma is choosing between forces that are attacking India’s spiritual legacy and forces which will help preserve it.

Then we have the notion of the Avatar and the Asura in ancient India. As the avatar or the Vibhuti is direct incarnation of the Divine forces, the asura works against Dharma and ushers an era of a-dharma. It should also be emphasized that there is no such thing as the utter evil and absolute good of Christianity or American films in human beings: often the asuric beings seem to embody some good, whether it is charity or even secularism.

At this very moment, Indians have been asked to decide their future by electing a new Government. Sometimes, it is said that people act out of ignorance. But this time it is not so: Indians have been warned repeatedly in the forms of monstrous terrorist attacks, one after the other, that something is terribly wrong. They have also seen how the whole system is deteriorating, that cynicism in politics is the rule of the day, that their own Media is terribly biased and can be bought, that ancient values are being lost quickly by the way of Christian conversions, wildcat westernization and the sprout of Islamic fundamentalism. So, ultimately Indians are being given the choice to vote decisively for their future. If they do opt for the repeat of the same government which has ushered all these forces, out of regional, caste or religious pettiness, selfishness, or plain indifference, it can be said safely that somewhere they will do it consciously. They will have then to bear the consequences of their choice. That is called Karma

Then Sir Aurobindo’s words will echo down the ages:
“There are moments when the Spirit moves among men and the breath of the Lord is abroad upon the waters of our being; there are others when it retires and men are left to act in the strength or the weakness of their own egoism. The first are the periods when even a little effort produces great results and changes destiny; the second are spaces of time when much labour goes to the making of a little result. It is true that the latter may prepare the former, may be the little smoke of sacrifice going up to heaven which calls down the rain of God’s bounty.

Unhappy is the man or the nation which, when the divine moment arrives, is found sleeping or unprepared to use it, because the lamp has not been kept trimmed for the welcome and the ears are sealed to the call. But thrice woe to them who are strong and ready, yet waste the force or misuse the moment; for them is irreparable loss or a great destruction.”