Tag Archives: NDA

Promises BJP must keep

Source: Dialypioneer.com
OPED | Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Francois Gautier

Sending a clear message to divisive forces, the BJP must come out with a ‘nation first’ agenda of governance and fulfil the promises it has made to the masses

The curse of Hindus has always been disunity and betraying each other to the enemy. Today we see this trend again in the BJP where sometimes the highest party office-bearers can’t even say hello to each other. As far as one can remember, the BJP had three pillars: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr LK Advani and Mr Murli Manohar Joshi.

Mr Vajpayee is no longer able to lead an active life due to health concerns and thus Mr Advani and Mr Joshi, who was president of the BJP in the early-1990s and had hoisted the Indian Tricolour in Srinagar at a time when no other leader gave a damn about Jammu & Kashmir, are two pillars of the party today. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has risen to the stature of a national-level leader, not only because he is an ironman but also because he has made his State a model of economic efficiency.

The BJP should make it known that it will really build the Ram Mandir, protect temples, stop Christian conversions, honour India’s gurus and impose some guidelines on media, which have a pre-conceived notion about Pope and Islam but always see Hindu godmen and sadhvis through the eyes of ‘secularism’.

On the external affairs side, the BJP should reaffirm its commitment to keep Arunachal Pradesh, stand-up to China’s bullying, and support Tibet to counteract Beijing, which is propping up Maoist Nepal and covertly using Burma as a military base.

The party should also make it clear that it will keep Jammu & Kashmir with India, hang terrorists (and not translate 11,000 indictment pages into Urdu for terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab), punish Pakistan by launching surgical strikes next time it attacks India through a proxy war and keep the United States at bay as long as America supports and provides arms and ammunition to Pakistan.

But you would say: What about the NDA? The BJP should not bother about its allies who are anyway jumping the ship as they think the Congress will win the election. If Mr Advani stands true to the aspirations of Hindu voters, the BJP can come to power on its own at the Centre and thus be able to implement the changes which India so urgently needs: Adopt a Uniform Civil Code, repeal Article 370, reform the judiciary, and switch over to a Parliamentary system of governance.

The BJP should reiterate that it considers all Indians equal and that it is always attentive to the demands of the Muslim community.

Unfortunately, the media always feels closer to the Congress and flaunts this proximity blatantly. It is gleeful every time the BJP is in trouble. For instance, the media and the Congress have been much more severe with Mr Varun Gandhi than Kasab (the former didn’t say anything provocative while the latter went on a shooting spree).

As for the West’s opinion, French Ambassador Jérome Bonnafont, an otherwise courteous diplomat, summed it up very well when he said: “The RSS and the BJP are dangerous fascists and Muslims in India are persecuted, not having the same opportunities as Hindus.” He also genuinely feels that the burning of Hindus in the Sabarmati Express never happened, but that “the anti-Muslims riots in Gujarat were a crime against humanity”.

As Indians worship their country as the ‘mother’, the BJP should reintroduce the notion of ‘Mother India’ in its election manifesto. If US President Barack Obama can be sworn in on the Bible, then all future Indian Prime Ministers can take the oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita. Those who are Christians can use the Bible and the Muslims the Quran. That should satisfy everybody.

The writer is a senior French journalist who lives in India.

KASHMIR AND DEMOCRACY

Source: Kashmir Herald

 

François Gautier

[Editor’s Note: Kashmir Herald is honored to have Mr. Francois Gautier write this article exclusively for Kashmir Herald.]

No doubt Mr Vajpayee is a nice man, no doubt he is well-meaning, no doubt he also embodies some of the better virtues of tolerance and ahimsa of Hinduism, but lately, he has all but surrendered Kashmir to Islamic separatism, not only losing elections there, even amongst his own people, but also saying that “democracy has won in Kashmir”. Democracy has won in Kashmir? Does democracy mean that a state where Hindus and Muslims used to live in harmony, where Islam had a gentler more tolerant face, has now become a haven for violence, intolerance, bullets and treachery? Is this democracy? Does democracy mean that 400.000 Kashmiri Pandits have become refugees in their own land, an ethnic cleansing without parallel in the recent history of mankind, worse even that in Yugoslavia ? It is also an irony that Mr. Vajpayee, whom the Press likes to call a Hindu “nationalist”, may have all but handed to Pakistan on a platter what has belonged to India for millennia.

I am a white man and a Christian, but I feel ashamed for India when I see in Sundays’ newspaper the photo of a Christian, and a white woman, Sonia Gandhi, along with two Muslims, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, royally offering to the latter the governance of Kashmir. Have Indians forgotten how Mufti Mohammed Sayeed surrendered the might of the whole Government when his daughter was taken hostage and he was a Union Minister? Does a country of 860 millions Hindus, inheritors of one of the most ancient civilizations on earth and today comprising some of the most brilliant people on this planet, need a Christian white woman and a Muslim to run what was once the cradle of Shivaism?

Western correspondents (and unfortunately sometimes Indian journalists) keep lionizing the Kashmiri “freedom fighters” and demonizing the “bad” Indian army. But they should do well to remember Sri Aurobindo, who wrote in 1940: “in Kashmir, the Hindus had all the monopoly. Now if the Muslim demands are acceded to, the Hindus will be wiped out again.” (India’s Rebirth, p. 220) How prophetic! Because nobody cares to remember today that Kashmiris were almost entirely Hindus or Buddhists, before they were  converted by invading Muslims six centuries ago. True, today these Muslims in Kashmir have not only accepted as their own a religion which their ancestors had rejected, but they have also often taken-up the strident cry of Islam. Does any one remember too, that at the beginning of the century, there still were 25% Hindus in the Kashmir valley and that today the last 350.000 Kashmiri Pandits are living in miserable conditions in camps near Jammu and Delhi, refugees in their own land, they who originally inhabited the valley, at least 5000 years ago, a much bigger ethnic cleansing than the one of the Bosnian Muslims or the Albanians in Yugoslavia?

It’s a common refrain today in most newspapers to say that since Independence  India alienated Kashmiris through years of wrong policies. But those who have been in close contact with Kashmir, even in its heydays of  tourism, know for a fact that as a general rule, Kashmiri Muslims never liked India. There was only one thing that attached them to India, it was the marvellous financial gains and state bounties that they made out of tourism.  Even those Kashmiri Muslims who are now settled in India make no bones about where their loyalty lies. Talk to them, specially if you are a Westerner, and after some time, they’ll open their hearts to you; whether it is the owner of this Kashmir emporium in a five star hotel in Madras, or the proprietor of a famous travel agency in Delhi: suddenly, after all the polite talk, they burst out with their loathing of India and their attachment to an independent Kashmir.

Nowadays Mufti Mohammed Sayeed wants us to believe that with a certain degree of autonomy, Kashmiri Muslims will be appeased. This may be true in most Indian states, who are often rightly fed-up with the Centre’s constant interference in their internal affairs, but basically, there is only one thing which Kashmiri Muslims are craving for and that is a plebiscite on whether they want to stay with India or secede. The answer in the Kashmir valley, would be a massive “no” to India (98%?). And as for Mufti, he would be quickly eliminated by the militants, who would immediately seize control of Kashmir and attach it to Pakistan.

The Indian security forces in Kashmir are accused of all kind of atrocities. But this is war, not a tea party! If India decides to keep Kashmir, it has to do so according to the rules set by the militants: violence, death and treachery are the order of the day. And men are men: after having been ambushed repeatedly, after having seen their comrades die, after weeks and weeks of waiting in fear, one day, they just explode in a burst of outrage and excesses. Amnesty International chooses to highlight “the Indian atrocities” in Kashmir. But Amnesty which does otherwise wonderful work to keep track of political atrocities world-wide, can sometimes become a moralistic, somewhat pompous organisation, which in its comfortable offices in London, judges on governments and people, the majority of whom happen to be belonging to the Third World. Its insistence on being granted unlimited access to Kashmir is a one-sided affair. Did Amnesty bother at all about the support given by the CIA to the most fundamentalist Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, support which led to the bleeding of Afghanistan today and the Pakistani sponsoring of terrorism in India? (Without mentioning the fact that most of the Western countries which today sit in judgement of India, raped and colonised the Third World in the most shameless manner; and after all it happened not so long ago).

And this leads to the next question: should then India surrender to international pressure and let Kashmiris decide their own fate? Well it all depends on the Indian people’s determination. Each nation has, or has had in the past, a separatist problem. Today, the Spanish have the Basques, the French the Corsicans, and the Turkish,  the Kurds. Amnesty International will continue to lambaste India in its reports about human rights violations. But has Amnesty the right to decide what is right or wrong for each nation?  Sometimes double standards are adapted by the West. Yesterday it colonised the entire Third World. Today; the United States, under the guise of human rights, is constantly interfering in other’s people’s affairs, often by force. It uses the United Nations, as it does in Iraq, in Somalia and Yugoslavia and is getting away with it. Can Amnesty International, the United States and the United Nations decide today what is democratic and what they deem anti-democratic and use their military might to enforce their views? But this is the trend today and it is a very dangerous and fascist trend. Will tomorrow the United Nations send troops to Kashmir to enforce Pakistan’s dreams?

Furthermore, there is today another very dangerous habit, which is to fragment the world into small bits and parts, thus reverting to a kind of Middle Age status, whereas small nations were always warring each other on ethnic grounds. It is the West and particularly the United States’ insistence to dismantle Communism at all costs, thus encouraging covertly and overtly the breaking up of Russia and Eastern Europe, which started this fashion. But this is a dangerous game and tomorrow Europe and indirectly the USA will pay the price for it: wars will bring instability and refugees to Europe and the United States might have to get involved militarily.

Can India get herself dragged into this mire? Why should India which took so long to unite herself and saw at the departure of the British one third of its land given away to Pakistan, surrender Kashmir? The evolution of our earth tends towards UNITY, oneness, towards the breaking up of our terrible borders, the abolishing of passports, bureaucracies, no man’s lands; not towards the building up of new borders, new customs barriers, new smaller nations. India cannot let herself be broken up in bits and parts just to satisfy the West’s moralistic concerns, although it does have to improve upon its Human Rights record, particularly the police atrocities. To preserve her Dharma, India has to remain united, ONE, and even conquer again whether by force or by peaceful means, what once was part of her South Asian body . For this she should not surrender Kashmir, it could be the beginning of the breaking up of India.

[Francois Gautier, who has lived in India for 30 years and is married to an Indian, is a French journalist, was the correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France’s largest circulated newspaper. He has published Rewriting Indian History (Vikas) and Arise O India (Har Anand).]

NOTE : He is about to release his latest book The New istory of India this october 2008

A convenient forgetfulness

Thursday July 31 2008 07:58

Source: The NewIndPress

I HAVE a friend, who happens to be the editor of a large circulation Indian newspaper, who advised me that the best way to write an article was to start with something positive, so as to make people feel happy.

It is good advice, and I have tried to stick to it, because not only are there so many negative events happening in the world, but also the media, both in India and abroad, thrives on sensationalism, on negativity, on falsehood even.

This week, however, it is going to be difficult to start this article on a positive note, as my heart — and the heart of so many ordinary Indians, who are not politicians, who are not journalists, who are not part of the Intelligentsia — is heavy and sad.

Let us say then, that I did start positively by mentioning my friend’s advice, which I still deem as the right one — and that I will speak of silence, rather than of noises and fury. There was a deafening silence, after the UPA won the vote of confidence in Parliament, on the part of the Press and Indian politicians, on the ways and means used to secure that vote. In the flush of victory, everything was forgotten on how MPs were bought right and left through a certain party, with money from a certain business house that needs favours; everything was forgotten on the extremely sad and debasing spectacle of the Parliament which is worse than a fish market.

There was a deafening silence on the role of Rajdeep Sardesai and his channel CNN-IBN’s role in helping the Congress win the vote. Sardesai sat on a sting tape which clearly showed someone who was close to Amar Singh handing over a crore to BJP MPs. If the tape had been aired it would have immediately led to the postponement of the trust vote and the UPA would have ultimately lost it. Instead, he handed it over to the Speaker only at 5 pm, knowing that it would be too late and that most likely Somnath Chatterjee would avoid taking immediate action.

There was deafening silence on the role of the Speaker as well. Should he not have satisfied himself on the veracity of the allegations before allowing further proceedings in Parliament? Should he not have deferred the trust vote?

Posterity will also judge him on the ‘History’ museum he built in the Parliament annexe which shows Indian history starting with Asoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great political and spiritual leaders, from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from Sri Krishnadevaraya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the communists’ view of Indian history.

There was a deafening silence on the part of the business community on the ethics of what has happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani, who stands to directly benefit from the deals made by Amar Singh with the UPA. But what about others who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going for last minute liberalisations, after it got rid of the communists’ hurdle.

There has been a deafening silence on the part of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the 17 horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think that the common citizen of India does not understand that on the one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing the finger at Pakistan’s ISI, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or al-Qaida) help?

It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also the fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening.

Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical about its usual conduct on these occasions :

a) condemn ‘in the strongest terms’ this ‘barbarous act’;

b) appeal for calm and ‘communal harmony’;

c) give a few lakh each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shutup; and

d) never catch the culprits and go on as before till the next terrorist act.

But look at America. It has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician wil have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with determination?

The scriptures tell us that we are in Kali Yuga, the ‘Dark Age’, the time where people are the furthest possible from God. Can India even go lower than what we have just witnessed in the past two weeks? Yes it can! Yet we need all to hope and pray, for if the Light in India dies, if this country sinks deepest in debasement, corruption, cynicism, if India becomes totally Americanised at the hands of the so-called nuclear deal,then many of us love will be doomed in the long run.

( Francois Gautier is Editor in Chief, La Revue de l’Inde) fgautier26@gmail.com