Tag Archives: muslims

Islam and the Bhagavad-Gita

In the last 30 years, I have spoken against Islam and Islamic fundamentalism numerous times in my books as well as in in my articles and conferences. Often thus, I have been often branded as an Islamophobe or a hard-line pro-Hindu…

Yet, when I came to India, I was innocent : I did not know the difference between a Muslim and a Hindu. And as a journalist I had the same prejudices and ideas about India as any other Western correspondent. In fact I embraced the same ideas: ‘secularism, the Congress is the only party that can unify India, Hindus too can be fundamentalists’, et cetera…

But then, I started covering Kashmir during the 90s, when separatism bloomed and violence set fire to the Valley. It is there that I saw the first Hindu leaders whom I had interviewed previously, assassinated in the most savage manner, such as doctors, lawyers, or All India radio broadcasters. And then, when Benazir Bhutto gave her famous speech of ‘Azad Kashmir’, every mosque in Srinagar and the Valley repeated that cry, telling Hindus: “Convert or die”. And in a few weeks, 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits left their ancestral houses and land, for no other crime than being Hindus – and that without firing a shot in self-defence – becoming refugees in their own country, a first in the world.

Thus my eyes were opened and I lost my innocence. Since then, covering many other countries, I witnessed the same phenomenon in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan, of Hindus being the target of hatred, as Jews have been for centuries. This set me to study Indian history and I quickly realised that great Hindu heroes such as Shivaji Maharaj or Maha Rana Pratap, had been bypassed in Indian history books, to a single paragraph: Shivaji Maharaj who alone with his wits, extraordinary courage and a few hundred men, defeated the most powerful army of the world of his time, is a ‘plunderer’; and Maharana Pratap, is described as a small chieftain, although he is the only Rajput to have fought the Moghols and to have held Akbar’s army at bay the Hadilghati battle. The irony is that tyrants such as Aurangzeb, who were monsters not only towards Hindus but also with their own family – Aurangzeb poisoned his own father, beheaded his brother Dara Shikoh, imprisoned his son – are lauded in history books as ‘firm but just emperors under whom arts flourished’ (Aurangzeb actually banned music at his court, because it was un-Islamic)….

…It happens that my wife and myself are teachers of the pranayama and meditation techniques of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which we have practicing for the last 25 years and which have changed our lives, giving us energy, enthusiasm and commitment. We do this free, as a sewa, to partake of this great gift to humanity that originates from India.

During the last Shivaratri celebrations, we taught in Sri Sri’s Bangalore ashram a pranayama course to a batch of Iranians. Our group, which had many girls and ladies, some of them who always covered their heads, was reserved at first, but as the course progressed, there grew a bond of affection and warmth between us all. We could perceive so much love and humanity in all of them. And by the end of the course, we all danced and hugged each other.

Now it is not because I have fought Islam that I did no know before this course that Muslims are as much as the others, decent human beings, warm, family oriented, hospitable. I remember when I drove to India by road from Paris, crossing many Muslim countries. My best friend was then a Muslim French Moroccan. He would say “AssalamoAlaikum », and doors would open, smiles were flashed, we would be dined, entertained, respected. This universal brotherhood of Islam does not exist in the Hindu world.

So this set me thinking: Islam was born in Iran and since Khomeini’s takeover, though it has a Shia majority, Iran has an image of a hard-core Islamic nation, where the Sharia reigns supreme and which is ready even to use a nuclear weapon to impose the supremacy of its faith. Yet these people we taught were the opposite and showed values of refinement and love that are today missing in the western Christian world….

I do understand even more now that most Muslims are good, witness the many human right organizations, journalists or intellectuals that fight for their rights as refugees, at the moment Yet the stumbling block remains the Koran, a wonderful scripture, no doubt, but which was written for people and mentalities of 1400 years ago, when realities were harsh, punishments even harsher and survival a matter of life and death. Nobody has read the Koran properly, except the Islamic terrorists of today: it does say that the Infidels should be slayed, that Islam must be the world religion, that women can be stoned if unfaithful, or that being gay is a crime punishable by death. Logic would say that Muslim scholars of international repute should get together and reform the Koran, as Christians have done, so that it becomes adapted to the 21st century world. Problem is that nobody dares touch it or question it for fear of death. Problem is that even within the most moderate, educated and enlightened Muslims, logic and good sense, stops when it comes to the Koran…

Thus, I will continue fighting Islam, in the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita: so many of my brothers and sisters are in the opposite camp. I have come to love them and respect them too… Yet, I know that willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously, by accident or by karma, they are born in a religion that is harming the world, that is on the side of the anti-human and anti-divine forces. Therefore it must be challenged, even if it is with love in the heart – and not hatred.

Nevertheless, this course also opened my eyes: Sri Sri reminds us that we are one World family, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Let us not forget that…

François Gautier

A propos #YakubMemon hanging and some of the Media and Indian intellectuals opposing it,


A propos #YakubMemon hanging and some of the Media and Indian intellectuals opposing it, here is what I had written in 1993 and which was published by Blitz in Mumbai. I have not changed a word. FG

When after centuries of having been at the receiving end, a handful of Hindus dared to destroy a mosque, however mistaken this gesture was, they were treated ruthlessly. The whole Indian media and political world went into a frenzy: ‘Nazis, monsters, Hitlers’… The end of secularism, the doom of democracy, the seed of India’s splitting’… Yet, the Hindu ‘fundamentalists’ did not kill a single soul. In fact, during its long history, Hinduism has been one of the most peaceful creeds in the world, never trying to impose itself upon others, accepting the reality of different beliefs, never trying to convert and submitting itself meekly to numerous invasions.

But how come the Indian and western media kept so quiet after the Bombay blasts which were coldly and meticulously planned, killing more than 350 innocent souls, in one of the most horrifying terrorist bombings of the 20th century? Not a word about the religion to which belong the perpetrators of this ghastly murders. Mum, silent are our wonderful intellectuals, who not so long ago raved and ranted about the threat of Hindu extremism. Our ‘secular’ politicians have also lost their tongue suddenly, mouthing only clichés about ‘the wonderful communal spirit of Bombay’. But it’s not only a conspiracy of silence, it’s an attempt to deceive a whole nation. Because the facts are clear: the hand seems to be without doubt that of the Bombay underworld, whose majority is Muslim (who will ever explain to me why most of the smugglers in India are Muslims? Is It because their religion teaches them that there is nothing wrong in cheating a government which is non-Muslim, even though it is their own?) But the amount of explosives and the meticulous character of the operation show also the hand of the Pakistanis. After all, they’re also Muslims and since they lost Bangladesh through (they think) the conniving of India, they are in a hurry to take their revenge: Kashmir and Punjab are part of their plan to get back at India.

Yet, there is something incomplete, something which can’t help nagging you, as if you’ve missed something. For the Memon brothers should have fled straightway to Pakistan. But they did not. First they went to Dubai, then to Jeddah. And even though India did not request a formal extradition, word was quickly known, thanks to the loud mouth of Bombay police chief Samra, where the prime suspects of the Bombay bombings were hiding. And there was no way the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE could not have been aware of this, because their police are good, if not totalitarian: they must have known when the Memons entered the country and exactly where they were staying. It would have been a simple matter to stop them from leaving both the countries till an extradition was asked for. Yet they chose to let the Memons go and now the brothers have gone into hiding in Pakistan and India will probably never see them again and solve the mystery of the Bombay blasts. Why did Dubai and Jeddah let them go?

One has to understand the Arab psyche: By destroying the Ayodhya mosque, it is the whole Muslim world that secretly has felt insulted and humiliated. Furthermore, none of the Gulf countries have forgotten India’s support to Iraq during the Gulf War. Is it possible then that it was decided to teach India a lesson? That Pakistan and ‘some’ other Muslim countries funded and planned, or at least knew in advance of the bombing attempts, of which Bombay was supposed to be only the first of a series? Is this a warning of the Muslim world to Hindu India? But who are the fundamentalists? Who are the murderers?
Who are the Nazis?

And what does the Congress do when its people are murdered, when the nation is threatened and all hands point an accusatory finger towards Muslim fundamentalists in India, killing their own brothers, with the obvious help of other Muslims from abroad? It keeps trying to throttle down the RSS, the VHP and the BJP, which have not bombed anybody and do not bother acting immediately upon the pointers India’s intelligence agencies quickly gave them. Why did not the Indian government ask the United States to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan to hold the Memon brothers? The USA would have probably complied: it just suffered a similar ghastly bombing and is thus sympathetic to India’s woes.

India looks today like a humbled fool. It was kicked nicely in the ‘arse’ and all the world heard was a few worn-out statements about communal harmony and the usual ‘foreign hand’. It is one thing to shoot unarmed kar-sevaks in Ayodhya, it is one thing to call its own religion, which is one of the greatest, most gentle, most tolerant creeds, the last living spiritualised religion in the world, ‘fundamental and rabid’; it is another thing to have the guts to call a spade a spade and stand up to an occult menace to one’s own country: a covert attempt by universal Muslim fundamentalism to implode India and finish it once for all.

Are Hindus cowards then? Are they forever going to take things lying down? Have centuries of Muslim conquests, rape, looting, forced conversion, razing of thousands of temples, imprinted so much on India’s psyche, that they can only endlessly ‘good tolerant Hindus’ or Hindu leftists intellectual who mask their fear of Islam by being anti-Hindu – and thus traitors to their own race?

But India has to stand up now. Its very existence is threatened: There are forces which are actively working to disintegrate her. The fact that these forces happen to be Muslim, does not mean that they cannot be fought. Whoever taught India to always appease Muslims, whatever wrong they did, however much they demanded, even if it means the breaking up of India? Who instilled this terrible unconscious fear in Indians that Muslims should never be antagonised? Is it because there are 120 millions of them here ? But the Hindus are 800 million, theirs is an ancient culture which has been capable of sustaining numerous invasions, colonisations, blows, pitfalls. Theirs is one of the oldest and most wonderful civilisations of the world.

COME ON INDIA: Don’t listen to your intellectuals and your so-called secular politicians. If you do, they will lead you to doom, hasten the process of breaking up this wonderful country which once stretched from Cape Comorin to the Afghan frontiers. Or else they will make it into a faithful westernised copy.

COME ON INDIA: Stand up and fight. There is no question of throwing out 120 million Muslims out of your country. They are part of your culture and your soul: They are only another element of the wonderful mosaic of Indian culture: They only have to be told clearly that their first loyalty is to India and then to Islam. And not vice versa. What is needed now is a firm hand, which has a clear vision of India’s inner potential and past greatness and not coteries of politicians who are more interested in preserving their perks, than protecting their own country against a dangerous, concerted attack.

COME ON INDIA: Stand up now, show the world your inner strength and resolve, use your dharma, draw force from the millions of tapasyas performed by your yogis, the courageous hearts of your women and the simple prayers of your people. Come on India, stand up and fight for the truth.


Dear Mr Prime Minister,

First let me tell you that many a times, I felt that some Divine Force was inspiring you – the way Sri Aurobindo said that Churchill was guided by Him to fight the Nazis…

But then, I have to say, as someone who travels extensively in India & has spent a lot of time in Delhi for the last 40 years (I have interviewed 7 Indian PM’s), that nothing much has changed. Your ministers are still as unreachable as the Congress ones, functioning in the same system with four layers of secretaries. Even if you have an important work – there is no way you can meet one of your ministers unless you have some pull. Your MP’s, as the Congress ones before them, once they come to Delhi, with their cars, bungalows, countless aides, and so many sycophants coming for favours, quickly lose sight of why they were elected. You need to send them BACK to their constituencies the way Mao Tse Tung sent back all his cadres to the countryside. Delhi is a microcosm of India and you seem to have lost there some of the Hindu electorate who voted for you UNITEDLY, from the Dalit to the businessmen. Some of us had seen this coming for a few months already.

You need to have around you people who will tell you what the mood of the people is – without ANY FEAR – for I have seen, even with gurus, that their followers always want to please them, flatter them and thus shield them from the truth. It is something inherent to the Hindu psyche. If this had been done, maybe we could have told you that the middle class and lower class Hindus who voted for you, want a change at the grass root level. They are not concerned about Obama and nuclear energy, or the way you are skillfully loosening the Chinese encircling grip, or the remarkable unifying of intelligence and their agencies you are doing with Mr Doval, but about the daily problems and the constant bribes that are asked by petty bureaucrats and policemen. I myself experience this in Maharashtra as I am asked bribes for getting permissions for a Museum, which is free, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj and a sewa project!

Also they do not understand why you were so fiery and outspoken while campaigning – and now that you are elected, you do not seem any more to be promoting their Hindu causes. They cannot fathom, for instance in their simple minds, why you are being so friendly to Sonia Gandhi, who wanted you in prison or even dead – and why you are keeping away from those who supported you in your darkest hours, when nobody thought that you would become PM. These old friends of yours are still keeping quiet, out of respect for your work, but I know many who are bitter. The common Hindu man does not comprehend either why no one in your Government stands by reconversions of Christians or Muslims to Hinduism. During the last Tsunami, at least 10% of the Tamil Nadu fishermen were converted by Christian missionaries, using financial baits, such as free boats. I was there and SAW it. Or why when one of yours says that Hindus must produce more children, he is booed down. We know that Muslims produce seven to eight children per couple and in some areas of India they are now in majority and will NOT vote for you. It is true that there have been vandalizing of churches in Delhi, whether intentional, or just by some common thieves. But this is an old trick of Indian Christians to evoke sympathy from Obama and C° and bring pressure & discredit upon you. You should know better than that: Christians have been the aggressors in this country & the Pope still thinks that India is a fair target for mass conversions.

We understand that you must be the Prime Minister of all Indians and that you have to rise above sectarism, but there has to be in the public a perception that you are the PRIME MINISTER OF HINDUS BECAUSE IT IS THEY WHO VOTED FOR YOU – not the Muslims – whatever Ram Madhav told you before the Kashmir elections, which is going to be another thorn in your heel (and if you do not remove article 370 soon, most Hindus will lose faith in your government). To cultivate the Muslims, thinking that they will like you in the end, as Mr Vajpayee did, under the influence of the nice but misguided Suddeendhra Kulkarni, is not only a waste of time, but also may ALIENATE YOU HINDU VOTERS, whom you are going to need in four years again and at different state elections.  Let the Muslims of India know that they possess the same rights as any Hindus, Sikhs or Christians, which they actually have, including total freedom of worship, that Hindus have neither in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, but do not go out of your way to please them. When the common man of Delhi sees that you received Aamir Khan, whose film PK, is a deliberate insult to all Hindu gurus & Hindus, they think something is not right. Also they do not understand why so many Hindu gurus and activists such as sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Purohit, whose innocence has been proved, are still languishing in jail. Congress had no qualms in favouring their people and flouting all decent rules. This isn’t about ethics, but if your aim is just, dharmic, and I believe it is, it does not matter what means are used.

The Congress got elected and elected again with mostly the Muslims votes, till Kejriwal came, You need to CULTIVATE THE HINDU ELECTORATE Sir, by making gestures, even if you let your people do them and stand back. And that has to be done QUICKLY. If they are convinced that you are working for them, you will have the two or even three terms you need to achieve a real Renaissance of India. Democracy is a beautiful but skewed system, easy to hijack by adharmic forces. To realise all the great things you have undertaken, YOU NEED A UNIFIED HINDU VOTE.

The trap now is to listen to the Media which says that your party lost in Delhi because of ‘communal’ reasons – vandalizing of churches, statements by your people about reconversions, or your so-called ten lakh suit. This will prod you and your government to go more secular, let go of more of the pledges you made for the Hindu cause during your campaign, the same way the Vajpayee Government veered away gradually from its Hindu ideals – and lost the elections to Sonia Gandhi.

But think of it like that: you got elected in May last year with a massive mandate BECAUSE of your dedicated, sincere and fiery HINDU promises. There is no reason why it should not work the same way now that you have the power. You need to stick by what your pledged Sir – whatever the Media, Obama, your bureaucrats or the Foreign Press says


Francois Gautier

The #Godhra Riots Postscript: The Masterminds Nicole Elfi October 2014

Note: This is a postscript to The Godhra Riots:
Sifting Fact from Fiction, July 2013, by the same author.
In May this year, the people of India chose their Prime Minister. Over twelve
years, several inquiry commissions — the Tewatia Committee (2010), the
Nanavati Commission (2008), the Special Investigation Team (2011) under the
Supreme Court — cleared Narendra Modi of all charges of having
masterminded or, at least, encouraged the Godhra riots.1 Still, his detractors —
politicians and ideology-driven activists in India, the US and Europe — have
continued to label him “merchant of death”, “butcher”, “Nazi”, “fascist”,
“murderer”, etc.
Let us examine the facts and see whether they can point to the riot’s real
The Role of Congress Members
On 27 February 2002, when a coach of Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya
went up in flames at Godhra railway station, a Congress member of the Godhra
municipality, Haji Balal, led a mob and stopped the fire-fighting vehicle on its
way to the station. The fire crew reported that “he had been visiting the fire
station at night for the past few days on the pretext of watching films on
television.” Haji Balal got the fire-fighting vehicles sabotaged beforehand: one
of the main vehicles had its clutch plates taken out a few days earlier; also
removed was the nut connecting the pipe with the water tank on the other
Haji Balal who, according to locals, proudly proclaimed himself the “Bin
Laden of Godhra”, is among eleven people convicted for criminal conspiracy
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 2
and murder and sentenced to death by a special fast track court in the highsecurity
Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad on 22 February 2011.3
Other Congress members were also “booked for the carnage”.4 The
attack on the pilgrims was carried out “according to what was planned earlier
under the directions of [the late] Maulvi Umarji”,5 a religious leader of the
Ghanchi Muslims of Godhra.6 “All the acts like procuring petrol, circulating
false rumour, stopping the train and entering in coach S/6 were in pursuance of
the object of the conspiracy,” concluded the Nanavati Report. “The conspiracy
hatched by these persons further appears to be a part of a larger conspiracy to
create terror and destabilise the Administration.”7
“Destabilise the Administration”: Narendra Modi had assumed office as
Gujarat Chief Minister on 7 October 2001, four months earlier. Incidentally,
Maulvi Umarji got a ticket to campaign for the Congress in December 2002 state
election in Gujarat.
In order to quickly gather a crowd of angry Muslims to the Godhra
station and attack the train, so that no one would guess who was pouring petrol
in the S6 and S7 coaches, rumours that a Ghanchi Muslim girl had been
abducted by the Kar Sevaks were spread by the Jamiat-Ulema-E-Hind (JUH), a
long-standing ally of the Congress.8
From the start of the crisis, Narendra Modi appealed to the people to
remain calm and exert self-control. On five occasions between 27 and 28
February, “CM addressed Media, Assembly and General public and
everywhere the genesis and intention was one and the same, to punish the
culprits responsible for the Godhra incident in an exemplary manner, so that it
did not recur ever again.”9 He announced an ex-gratia payment of 200,000
rupees to the next of kin of those killed in the Godhra incident and ordered a
high-level inquiry into the incident.10
On 1st March, less than two days after the tragedy and while riots were
raging, Modi requested the chief secretaries of neighbouring states of Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to send ten companies of armed police
from each state to assist the government in “handling law and order situation”.
As the sociologist and author Madhu Kishwar points out,11 all three states then
had Congress governments, and all three turned down the request.
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 3
The Campaign
Let us recall that the BJP-led NDA alliance had been in power at the Centre
since 1998, confirmed by fresh elections in 1999. A 15-million-rupee campaign
by journalist-activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, funded by
the Congress Party and Communists to “politically isolate the BJP”,12 failed to
convince the Indian people, who voted the BJP to power. And the crusaders
had to swallow the obvious — that the streets of India remained peaceful
during the NDA regime.13
They however found a fertile ground in the US, especially with the
evangelical lobbies.14 On 1st April 2002 Teesta Setalvad created “Citizens for
Justice and Peace” (CJP), an NGO “outsourced by the Congress to the job of
attacking Modi”, as Madhu Kishwar put it.15 The activists approached the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a U.S.
government-funded body, with known roots in the evangelical movement,
whose “original intention was to protect Christians around the world … to
review facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom
internationally — and to make policy recommendations to the President,
Secretary of State, and the Congress”.16 Testifying before the USCIRF, Teesta
Setalvad alleged that the BJP had conducted:
successful pogroms and attacks against the countries religious
minorities, … recent state-sponsored Genocide of the Muslim
Community in Gujarat … Brutal destruction of life, through rape,
quartering of bodies, urinating on them and incarcerating [sic] them so
that there is no trace or evidence of their remains … desecrating over 270
religious and cultural shrines belonging to the community … through
systematic planning and targeted action by armed militias ideologically
driven by the vision of a supreme and exclusive Hindu rashtra (state). …
Over 2,000 lost their lives, 500 are missing and 250-300 girls and women
were gang-raped before being quartered, burned and killed.17
This “testimony” from India is what fed countless self-styled human
rights organizations and intellectuals in India and in the West. They drank in
Setalvad’s words and regurgitated them as articles and “reports” with a
plethora of gory details.
As regards the number of riot victims, invariably quoted in thousands,
the then Police Commissioner P.C. Pande, in a statement to the Special
Investigating Team, declared,
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 4
… it was incorrect to say that 1000 people lost their lives in Ahmedabad
City during the riots of 2002, whereas the actual number of deaths
between February 28th 2002 and April 30th 2002 was 442, of whom 113
were Hindus and 329 Muslims. … All offences committed were duly and
properly registered including by sending police officers to relief camps
and therefore, no important crime remained unregistered.18
According to the Congress-led UPA government’s statement in
Parliament on 11 May 2005, the final figures of those killed in the Godhra riots
are 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus.19 In any case, the endlessly repeated figure of
“2000 Muslim victims” has no basis in actual fact.
The SIT and Sanjeev Bhatt
Facts cannot so easily be wished away. And they were nailed by the Nanavati
Report and the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT),
headed by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief R.K. Raghavan in
response to a petition filed by Jakia Nasim, Ehsan Jafri’s20 widow, and Teesta
Setalvad, which alleged criminal conspiracy by Narendra Modi’s government.21
Jakia Nasim’s testimony before the Nanavati Commission and Supreme Court
in 2002 and 2003 was that “the mob would have lynched all of them but for the
timely action by the police”. Four years later, her praise turned into complaint
— except that the poor lady was not even aware of what she complained or
petitioned about: “She has no personal knowledge of the allegations mentioned
in the affidavits filed by R.B. Sreekumar during the years 2002, 2004 and 2005
on his own”, said the SIT.22
Let us explain: The SIT, appointed on 23 March 2008, investigated two
retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, one of them being R.B. Sreekumar
just mentioned, to whom we will shortly return. The second one, Sanjeev Bhatt,
then Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the Gujarat government, claimed
after years of silence that he was present at a law and order meeting convened
by the Chief Minister on 27 February night at his residence. At this meeting,
which lasted 15-20 minutes, Sanjeev Bhatt claims that the Chief Minister said
that “for too long the Gujarat police had been following the approach of
balancing the action against Hindus and Muslims … that the situation
warranted that the Muslims be taught a lesson, … it was imperative that Hindus
be allowed to vent out their anger….”23
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 5
As it turned out, none of the officials present even remembered the
presence of Sanjeev Bhatt. Interrogated independently later, they denied any
such talk by the Chief Minister, who, they asserted, said instead that the
Godhra flare-up was very unfortunate and should be handled with a firm hand.
The discussions centred around maintenance of law and order in view of the
call for a bandh on the next day and the availability of forces. Ahmedabad
Police Commissioner P.C. Pandey categorically stated that no instructions to
allow any freedom to law-breakers were given by the Chief Minister. According
to Prakash S. Shah, then Additional Secretary (Law & Order), the Chief Minister
instructed all the officers that “communal peace and harmony be maintained at
all costs and all possible steps be taken to control the possible communal flareup.”
As for Sanjeev Bhatt’s testimony, the SIT called fax messages produced
by him “not genuine”, “forged document, fabricated subsequently by someone
with a vested interest.”25 “This conduct of Shri Sanjiv [sic] Bhatt in arranging,
prompting and controlling the witness [a witness produced by him] to
corroborate his statement is highly suspicious and undesirable.”26 And from the
location of his mobile phone, his claim of being present at the said meeting at
the Chief Minister’s residence proved to be false. “Shri Sanjiv Bhatt is a tainted
witness and therefore, cannot be relied upon keeping in view his background in
the police department as he was involved in criminal cases of serious nature
and departmental inquiries are also in progress against him.”27 Cases against
him included inflicting torture in custody leading to death, abduction, extortion
and unprovoked firing, killings and planting narcotics with a view to blackmail.
SIT head R.K. Raghavan concluded that Bhatt had lied and brought in tutored
witnesses to falsely implicate Modi.28 The Gujarat Vigilance Commission
recommended his suspension twice (on 15-07-2002 and 19-10-2006) for
professional misconduct, but each time he managed to evade prosecution.29
A last brush stroke on Sanjeev Bhatt’s erratic comportment is given by
senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani in a Sunday Guardian article. The man “handed
over charge and his official computer, leaving all his emails in an unprotected
mode for all to read”… The state government forwarded the material to the SIT
for investigations, and thanks to this irresponsible gesture, authorities
harvested details of his “hobnobbing with the Opposition Congress party in a
thoroughly illegal and almost seditious manner to concoct evidence against the
Chief Minister and the state of Gujarat”. To this end Bhatt was in constant touch
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 6
with top Congress party leaders, from whom he received not only guidance,
but “packages” and “materials”, as per his own statement.30
An Activist’s Career
The activist Teesta Setalvad built a successful career on the Godhra issue and on
demonizing Narendra Modi, for which she has been covered with national and
international awards. Let us mention just a few:
• In August 2002, the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana [Communal
Harmony] Award instituted by the Congress (I), jointly with Harsh
Mander (former IAS officer and NAC board member)31, “for their
outstanding contribution towards communal harmony and national
• In 2003, the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award (jointly with
Ibn Abdur Rehman, a Pakistani “peace and human-rights advocate and
veteran communist from Pakistan”).32
• The New York-based Parliamentarians for Global Action’s 2004
Defenders’ of Democracy Award, for her efforts “to ensure justice for the
victims of the genocide in Gujarat.
• In 2006, the Nani Palkhivala Award. In her acceptance speech, Setalvad
was all praise for an IPS officer to whom she dedicates her award,
someone “who stood mighty in the face of a murderous and vindictive
Gujarat administration.”33
• In 2007, the Padma Shri Award from the Government of India, which
since May 2004 had been run by a Congress-led coalition.
The ISRO Spy Scandal
The IPS officer praised by Setalvad (and referred to earlier by the SIT) is R.B.
Sreekumar. He is remembered for the 1994 Indian Space Research Organization
(ISRO) spy scandal which implicated eminent ISRO scientists. Dust may have
smothered the case with time but not the memory of those who were falsely
accused. The story in brief:
Development of the Indian [rocket’s] upper stage had been underway
with Russian help for four years when the arrangements were
denounced by American President George Bush as a violation of the
Missile Technology Control Regime. … In May 1992, the Bush
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 7
administration announced that it was applying American sanctions on
both the ISRO and Glavcosmos [the Russian agency collaborating with
S. Nambi Narayan, a senior scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space
Centre, an ISRO centre at Trivandrum (Kerala), was arrested on 30 November
1994 without any search being conducted at his office or home. Harassed and
tortured, he refused to confess to the charge of selling defence secrets to two
alleged Maldivian spies; he also refused to implicate the director of the Liquid
Propulsion Systems Centre. Nambi Narayan collapsed under the torture and
was hospitalized. He was released after fifty days in custody. A colleague of his,
D. Sasikumaran, was similarly arrested and interrogated. The two Maldivian
women and two businessmen were also arrested and implicated.
Upon his release on 19 January 1995, Nambi Narayan was transferred
out of Trivandrum; ISRO reinstated him and promoted him as director of
Advanced Technology and Planning, but he was now a broken man.
The case was investigated by the CBI. A year later, in April 1996, its
report indicted the Intelligence Bureau (IB) as the main organization
responsible for creating an imaginary spy ring and falsely implicating the two
eminent space scientists (besides two Maldivian women who were framed as
“spies”). The CBI came down heavily on nine IB officials for “acting in an
unprofessional manner and being privy to the arrest of six innocent persons,
thereby causing them immense mental and physical agony”. The information
collected by the IB and the Kerala police was “not only false but was forcefully
extracted from the six accused”.35 The CBI filed its closure report on April 30,
1996, recommending that the accused be discharged, and necessary action taken
against the IB officials and the Kerala Police.36
Several IB officers were, according to the CBI report, responsible for this
unprecedented frame-up, especially:
• IB Director D.C. Pathak got the espionage case registered under the
Indian Official Secrets Act 1923, “so that the case would get a transnational
dimension, even though the Act makes it clear that the Kerala
Police have no legal right to do so”, as highlighted by the Kerala High
Court and Supreme Court of India. Pathak advised the Kerala Director
General of Police (DGP) to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT);
he also “informed” the then ISRO Chairman, K. Kasturirangan, that
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 8
“incriminating documents had been seized from the scientists”.37 Pathak
was indicted by the CBI in 1996 and sacked.
• Rattan Seghal had joined the IB as additional director five months before
S. Nambi Narayan’s arrest. In November 1996, Seghal was “caught redhanded”
by the then IB chief Arun Bhagath while having a secret
rendezvous with two undercover CIA agents to hand over sensitive
information about India’s Atomic Energy Commission. He was dismissed
from service, but allowed to escape and settle in America.38
• R.B. Sreekumar was an IPS officer seconded to the Central Industrial
Security Force, and posted as commandant in charge of security of the
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre where Nambi Narayan was working. “The
USA, with its excellent information gathering machinery, got wind of
what was going on inside VSSC, and put the CIA on the job of sabotaging
the cryogenic project,” writes Sam Rajappa.39 At the time of Nambi
Narayan’s arrest, Sreekumar was posted as Rattan Seghal’s deputy.
Despite being indicted by the CBI, Sreekumar was in 1998 awarded a
“Medal for Distinguished Service” by the Government of India. We will
return to him soon as he was probably the main player in the plot.
In Kerala’s Congress-led government (UDF), infighting raged between
two camps over the ISRO Spy case. Chief Minister K. Karunakaran being no
party to the spy story, he was forced to step down in March 1995 as he refused
to drop charges against the IB officials implicated in the case. With A.K. Antony
replacing him, the said officials were not prosecuted.
A change of regime followed in favour of the Communists; the new
government issued a notification to reopen investigations into the ISRO spy
case, and it was to be investigated by the same IB officials!40 On 29 April 1998,
the Supreme Court reprimanded the Kerala Government for ordering yet
another investigation by the State police after an inquiry by the CBI had found
that the allegations of espionage were false and the accused had been ordered
to be released. It quashed the notification for being “patently invalid … and
issued with malafide intention.”41
In 1998 the first work illuminating the story in detail came out — and
almost instantly vanished from the shelves. In an article about his book Spies in
Space: The ISRO Frame-up, J. Rajasekharan Nair author pertinently asks:
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 9
What about the charge that the cryogenic missile technology was
transferred from ISRO to enemy countries? To begin with, India does
not have cryogenic technology even today [in 2013]. How could then, in
1994, ‘spies’ transfer this non-existent technology? … 42
Prof. Nambi Narayanan echoes those words in a recent interview to
… at that time, we had not developed cryogenic technology, how can
you sell a non-existent technology?43
In September 1999, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
ordered the Kerala government to pay an interim compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs
(one million) out of 1 crore (10 millions) to Nambi Narayan “for having
damaged Narayanan’s distinguished career in space research along with the
physical and mental torture to which he and his family were subjected.” A
division bench of the Kerala high court upheld the order. But Kerala’s
Congress-led government managed to block the payment, till Nambi
Narayanan finally won a case for a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs which he
received in September 2012 — 18 years after his arrest.
R.B. Sreekumar was sent back to his parent institution in Gujarat in
August 2000. Disciplinary proceedings against him were started in 1999, but
only on 29 January 2004 was he served a chargesheet by the Ministry of Home
Affairs. The charges included:
• Illegally taking into custody the accused persons from the custody of
Kerala Police without completing the legal formalities and conducting an
independent investigation totally disassociating the Kerala Police.
• Torturing/ill-treating the accused persons during the investigation.
Consequently, no written statement was recorded.
• The interrogation statements prepared by Sreekumar’s team were left
unsigned and undated, indicating devious intent.
• Failing to conduct verification of the statements of the accused persons …
which reflects lack of proper supervision, integrity to duty …44
Without examining those implicated in the case, the investigations
against Sreekumar, which involved charges of endangering national security,
saw his file rush to closure in just 43 days, from 13 December 2004 to 24 January
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 10
2005: Sreekumar was cleared of all charges.45 In 2008, the UPA government
granted him in addition the Gangadharan Memorial Award for Best Police
Man, for his “courageous and competent performance of duties” during the
2002 Gujarat riots. He was invited with Teesta Setalvad for a lecture tour to the
US, organized by the Indian Muslim Council-USA, to deliver discourses against
Narendra Modi and the state of Gujarat, disregarding all evidence and
The same Congress-led Kerala government blocked all the CBI
recommendations against IB and police officials, till it ordered closure of the
file, fifteen years having conveniently passed since the case was initiated.47
However, on 20 October 2014, on an appeal from an indomitable Nambi
Narayanan, Justice Ramakrishna Pillai of Kerala High Court quashed the order
exonerating three police officials involved in the case.48
Let us see whether they will finally be prosecuted and face justice — and
not only these three but all those responsible for trying to wreck India’s space
programme at the behest of a foreign power.
Cooked-Up Affidavits
The UPA government cleared Sreekumar of the CBI charges against him but not
without a quid pro quo: he became an ideal “prime witness” in the 2002 Godhra
riots. When questioned by the Nanavati Commission before 2005, Sreekumar
had never made any allegation against the Gujarat Chief Minister. He even
submitted a letter “raising questions over Sanjeev Bhatt’s integrity for speaking
up against Narendra Modi”. But from 9 April 2005 onward, with his third
affidavit to the Nanavati Commission, he joined Bhatt’s and Setalvad’s
demonization of the Gujarat administration.49
However, the Supreme Court’s Special Investigation Team (SIT)
inquiring into the Godhra events found the allegations in Sreekumar’s
affidavits to be “vague”, “too general in nature, [with] nothing specific against
any individual police officer.”50 Sreekumar’s testimony was based on an
“unauthorised register” which appeared only in 2005, with entries noted down
from memory, including Narendra Modi’s alleged oral instructions to
encourage riots between Hindus and Muslims. The SIT observed that disclosure
was made about the said register only “after he was denied promotion.”51 “The
register … cannot be considered to be a reliable document, as the same appears
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 11
motivated and no credence can be placed upon the same. Moreover there is no
corroboration to the oral version of R.B. Sreekumar by any of the independent
witnesses. The allegation is, therefore, not established.”52
Besides, the SIT found twenty-two “witnesses” whose signed affidavits
were drafted, typed and printed on the same computer: their signatories were
not even aware of what they had signed of the alleged incidents.53
Euros and US dollars flowed to Teesta Setalvad’s NGO. Among the
donors were the Netherland-based Humanistic Institute for Co-Operation with
the Developing Countries (HIVOS), the ever-ready Ford Foundation, etc…54 A
statement of financial transactions of Teesta Setalvad and her NGOs, obtained
through a Right to Information petition, revealed how she went from “rags to
riches after 2000 Gujarat riots. A person who was not in a position to deposit
even Rs. 500 in her account continuously for two years (from 1st Jan., 2001 to 31st
Dec, 2002), could manage to get deposit of Rs. 1.49 crores in her account and Rs.
92.21 Lakhs into her husband Javed Anand’s account after Gujarat 2002 riots.”55
Following the Clues
Answers to the following questions contain the clues to the real masterminds of
the Godhra events:
• Who gave orders to the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra and Rajasthan to deny Gujarat the help it was urgently
asking for to control the riots?
• “Tainted witness” Sanjeev Bhatt having “lied and brought in tutored
witnesses to falsely implicate Modi,”56 the Gujarat Vigilance Commission
recommended his suspension twice (on 15-07-2002 and 19-10-2006) for
professional misconduct: with whose help did he manage to evade
prosecution each time?57
• Who gave instructions to the IB and Kerala police officers to frame ISRO
scientists, putting a brake on India’s space programmes?
• From 1994 to 2014, who shielded the IB officials and the Kerala police from
being prosecuted as per the CBI’s recommendations?
• In particular, who shielded Sreekumar in the ISRO spy case, extracting in
the process his cooperation in the demonization of Narendra Modi?
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 12
• Who in the previous UPA government decided not to prosecute Teesta
Setalvad for perjury, arranging false witnesses and fabricated affidavits,
and for misappropriating funds intended for riot victims?
Years ago, while campaigning in Gujarat, Sonia Gandhi had accused
Narendra Modi of being a “merchant of death”. Let the reader decide who best
deserves this designation.

Nicole Elfi has been living in India since 1975. She worked on the
publication of works related to Mother and Sri Aurobindo and researched
aspects of Indian culture. She wrote two books in French: Satprem, par un Fil
de Lumière (Éditions Robert Laffont, 1998) and Aux Sources de l’Inde,
l’initiation à la connaissance (Éditions Les Belles Lettres, 2008).
More recently, Nicole Elfi has authored the document The Godhra Riots:
Sifting Fact from Fiction and co-authored (with Michel Danino) a research
paper, A Timeline of Ayodhya.
Email: nicoleelfi[at]gmail[dot]com

© Nicole Elfi, 2014
Notes & References
1 From Commission of Inquiry Report of Justice G.T. Nanavati & Justice A.H. Mehta (henceforth
“Nanavati Report”), p. 175: 229. The report is available on the website of the Gujarat
government: http://home.gujarat.gov.in/homedepartment/downloads/godharaincident.pdf
(accessed May 2014).
2 From Justice Tewatia Committee Report, short for Gujarat Riots: The True Story; Facts Speak for
Themselves – Godhra and After, A Field Study by Justice D. S. Tewatia, Dr. J.C. Batra, Dr. Krishan
Singh Arya, Shri Jawahar Lal Kaul, Prof. B.K. Kuthiala. Council for International Affairs and
Human Rights, Governing Body for the Term 2001-03. See “Staff of the Fire Brigade”. Online at:
http://www.gujaratriots.com/index.php/2010/04/justice-tewatia-committee-report/ (retrieved June
2014). Also Nanavati Report, p. 86, 88, 89: 128, 130-131.
3 Dasgupta, M. 2011. “11 get death in Godhra train burning case”, online at:
article1500325.ece (retrieved July 2014).
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 13
4 Among them, President of the District Congress Committee, Farooq Malla and Congress
activist of Godhra Municipality, Abdul Rehman Dhatia. Tewatia Report, “Fifty-Eight Pilgrims
Roasted Alive”.
5 Nanavati Report, p. 159-160: 214; p. 175.
6 Gujarat’s minister of state for home Amit Shah’s interview by Sheela Bhatt, 27.02.2003, online
at: http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/feb/27inter.htm (retrieved June 2014).
7 Nanavati Report, p. 175: 229.
8 Nanavati Report, pp 40-41: 51-52, p. 49: 68; pp. 158-159: 213.
9 Special Investigation Team (SIT) Report, p. 241. The Supreme Court handed over all records
pertaining to 2002 riots to SIT on 20.01.2010; SIT submitted its final report on Modi’s role in 2002
Gujarat riots, on 25.04.2011.
10 SIT p. 21.
11 Kishwar, M.P. 2013. “Modinama 7, When Congress State Governments Snubbed Modi’s
Request for Additional Police Force”, online at: http://www.manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1704
(retrieved May 2014).
12 Wikipedia, Communalism Combat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communalism_Combat . “In a 1999
interview, Javed Anand said that before the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, his monthly magazine
Communalism Combat (published by Sabrang Communications since August 1993) requested
and received funds from the Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the
Communist Party of India and ten individuals to run advertisements attacking the Sangh
Parivar and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.
13 See Elst, K. & Rao, R.N. 2002. Gujarat after Godhra: Real Violence, Selective Outrage, Har-Anand,
14 See Balakrishna, S. 2014. “Narendra Modi’s visa denial still an unhealed wound” online at:
%28India+Facts%29#sthash.uTktS3o8.IyfIObzy.dpbs (retrieved May 2014).
15 Kishwar, M.P. 2013. “Modinama” 13, “RB Shreekumar: Hero No. 2 of Secular Brigade” – Part
I, online at: http://www.manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1730 (retrieved May 2014).
16 The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF):
(retrieved May 2014).
17 Teesta Setalvad’s testimony to the USCIRF, online at:
6102002_setalvaTestimony.html (retrieved June 2014)
18 SIT pp. 92-93.
19 See “Gujarat Riots: the true story”, online at:
(retrieved July 2014).
Narendra Modi’s interview for Seedhi Baat/Aaj Tak, in India Today, 04.11.2002, online at:
http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20021104/conf.shtml#co (retrieved July 2014).
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 14
20 About Ehsan Jafri see Elfi, N. 2013. “The Godhra Riots: Sifting Facts from Fiction”, online at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/174541552/The-Godhra-Riots-Sifting-Fact-from-Fiction-Nicole-Elfi .
21 SIT pp. 16, 18-19.
22 SIT p. 16.
23 SIT pp. 22-25.
24 SIT pp. 25-27, 34, 522.
25 SIT pp. 523-530.
26 SIT p. 41.
27 SIT p. 241.
28 SIT pp. 540-41. Also Dasgupta, M. 2012. “SIT rejects amicus curiae’s observations against
Modi”, online at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3401728.ece (retrieved June 2014).
29 SIT pp. 48-51. Kishwar, M.P. 2013. “Modinama 6, Heroes of the Secular Brigade: A Glimpse
into the Doings and Misdoings of Sanjiv Bhatt”, online at:
http://manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1703&ptype=campaigns (retrieved July 2014).
30 Jethmalani, R. 2011. “UPA, media have a brazen mission to demonize Modi”, online at:
(retrieved July 2014). Also Kishwar 2013: 6, op. cit.
31 The National Advisory Council (2004-2014) was a body set up by the first UPA government to
advise the Prime Minister of India. Sonia Gandhi served as its Chairperson from its inception to
its end.
32 Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, online at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_International_Human_Rights_Award .
33 Teesta Setalvad “Nani A Palkhivala Award 2006 Acceptance Speech”, online at:
http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-setalvad100207.htm (retrieved June 2014).
34 Harvey, B. 2001. Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier, p. 259, Springer & Praxis Publications, UK,
in Kishwar 2013: 13 – I, op. cit. & Kishwar 2013: 13 – II, “How India’s Space Program was
Sabotaged”, online at: http://www.manushi.in/articles.php?articleId=1731; also Simha, R.K.
2013. “How India’s cryogenic programme was wrecked”, online at:
65.html (retrieved July 2014).
35 Joshi, R., et al. 1998. “IB Imagined Spy-Ring: CBI” online at:
http://www.outlookindia.com/article/IB-Imagined-SpyRing-CBI/205531 (retrieved July 2014). Also
Kishwar 2013: 13 – II, op. cit.
36 Joshi, R., et al. 1998, op. cit.
37 Rajasekharan Nair, ibid.
38 “Plot behind arrest of ISRO scientists, says Nambi Narayanan”, The New Indian Express,
27.8.2013, online at: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/Plot-behind-arrest-of-ISROscientists-
says-Nambi-Narayanan/2013/08/27/article1754032.ece (retrieved August 2014);
Rajasekharan Nair 2013, op. cit.; Rajappa, S., “A scandal that ISRO would like to forget”, 24
The Godhra Riots — Postscript: The Masterminds / p. 15
October 2014, online at http://www.theweekendleader.com/Columns/153/looking-back.html
(retrieved October 2014).
39 Rajappa, S., op. cit.
40 “Rogue cop RB Srikumar framed ISRO’s best”, Niticentral, 7.11.2013. Online at:
41 Rajasekharan Nair, ibid.
42 Rajasekharan Nair, J. 2013. “Why My Book Didn’t Sell?”, online at:
http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/why-my-book-didn-t-sell (retrieved October 2014).
43 Warrier, S. 2014. “Wronged ISRO scientist: India will be safe in Modi’s hands”, online at:
20140226.htm (retrieved August 2014); Ananthakrishnan, G. 2012. “Memories of a ‘spy’
who won – Framed scientist vindicated on milestone-eve”, The Telegraph, online at
44 In Kishwar 2013: 13-I, op. cit. Also CBI recommendations in Joshi, R., et al. 1998, op. cit.
45 Kishwar, ibid.
46 Indian Muslim Council – USA Organizes US Lecture Tour of Teesta Setalvad & R.B.
Sreekumar July 7, 2008, online at: http://iamc.com/press-release/imcusa_
47 Venugopal 2012, “ISRO case: police officers freed of charges”, online at:
article3960101.ece (retrieved August 2014).
48 “Kerala High Court quashes government order in ISRO spy case” online at:
in-isro-spy-case/article6521226.ece .
49 Kishwar 2013: 13-I, op.cit.
50 SIT pp. 18 ff and 176-177.
51 SIT pp. 85, 170-173.
52 SIT pp. 65-71.
53 SIT p. 16-19, 64, 227-233.
54 “Teesta Setalvad received US $ 250,000 from the Ford Foundation”; “Evidence against Teesta
Setalvad”, Dharma next, 6.8.2012, online at: http://dharmanext.blogspot.in/2012/08/teestasetalvad-
received-us-250000-from.html (retrieved July 2014).
55 News Bharati, 7.1.2013, “Rags to riches after 2000 Gujarat riots: Teesta swallowed riot victims’
money?” Online at: http://en.newsbharati.com/Encyc/2013/7/1/Rags-to-riches-after-2000-
Gujarat-riots-Teesta-swallowed-riot-victims-money-.aspx# (accessed August 2014).
56 SIT p. 540-41. Also Dasgupta, M. 2012. “SIT rejects amicus curiae’s observations against
Modi”: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3401728.ece (retrieved June 2014)
57 SIT pp. 48-50.


As the Congress and the Media float all kind of accusations against Narendra Modi, to utilize the ‘caste card”, I thought it would be appropriate to republish an article of mine on castes:

Even more than the Aryans-Dravidians divide and the Vedas, the caste system has been the most misunderstood, the most vilified subject of Hindu society at the hands of Western scholars and even today by “secular” Indians that is the Congress, the leftists intellectuals and its instruments, the Media, particularly NDTV and TOI.

But ultimately if one wants to understand the truth, the original purpose behind the caste system, one must go back to the Vedas. “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. The Kshatryia was Kshatryia not merely because he was the son of warriors and princes, but because he discharged the duty of protecting the country and preserving the high courage and manhood of action, and he had to cultivate the princely temperament and acquire the strong and lofty Samurai training which alone fitted him for his duties. 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”. (Sri Aurobindo)

Many Indian sages have even gone even further than Sri Aurobindo, arguing that in the occult relation India had with the Universal Force, each one was born in the caste CORRESPONDING to his or her spiritual evolution. There are accidents, misfits, errors, they say, but the system seems to have worked pretty well untill modern times when it got perverted by the vagaries of materialism and western influence. Can one accept such a theory? Sri Aurobindo, while praising the original caste system, does not spare it in its later stages: “it is the nature of human institutions to degenerate; there is no doubt that the institution of caste degenerated. It ceased to be determined by spiritual qualifications which, once essential, have now come to be subordinate and even immaterial and is determined by the purely material tests of occupation and birth…
By this change it has set itself against the fundamental tendency of Hinduism which is to insist on the spiritual and subordinate the material 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…(India’s Rebirth, p 27). And the Barbarians came !

But finally, have the people who dismiss caste as an Aryan imposition on the Dravidians, or as an inhuman and nazi system, ever attempted to understand its original purpose and genius? Is it really worse than the huge class differences you can see nowadays in Europe or the US? And can you really exclude it today off-hand, when it still survives so much in the villages – and even in more educated circles, where one still marries in matching castes, with the help of an astrologer? Does the caste system need to be transformed, to recapture its old meaning and once more incarnate a spiritual hierarchy of beings? Or has it to be recast in a different mould, taking into account the parameters of modern Indian society? Or else, will it finally disappear altogether from India, because it has become totally irrelevant today ?

At any rate, Hindus should not allow it to be exploited shamelessly against them, as it has been in the last two centuries, by missionnaries, “secular” historians, Muslims, and by pre and post-independance Indian politicians -each for their own purpose.