Tag Archives: negationism

CHAPTER 6 : NEGATIONISM AND THE MUSLIM CONQUESTS (Part II)

Continuing publication of excerpts my forthcoming book: “An History of India as it Happened (not as it was written)”:

It is not only Indian historians, who are negationists, but also western historians and India-specialists. We know that the first historians of Indian – the Britishers – twisted India’s history to suit their theory that they had come to civilize a race which was not only inferior to them, but also was supposed to have been heavily influenced in its philosophies or arts by European invaders – read the Aryans or Alexander the Great. But what is less known is that today many western historians not only still cling to these old outdated theories, but also actually more or less willfully mislead the general European public, who is generally totally ignorant and takes these “knowledgeable” comments about India as the absolute truth. One example is France, which has a long tradition of Indianists, who devote their time and life to the study of India. The main school of historic research in France is called the CNRS (National Center of Social Research), which has a very important South Asia section, of which India, of course, is the main component. Unfortunately, many of these India-specialists are not only Left-leaning, that is they are very close to the ideas of the JNU historians, with whom they are anyway in constant contact, but are also specialists of the Moghol period of India history, which is to say that they are sympathetic to Islam’s point of view on India, while they often consider Hindus as fanatics…

Take for instance one of the recent Indian History books published in France “Histoire de l’Inde moderne” (1994 Fayard / Paris), the authors (there are seven of, all famous Indianists), having subscribed to the usual Aryan invasion theory, accuse Shiva “to incarnate obscure forces” (Introduction III) and of course use the word “fanatics” to describe the Hindus who brought down the Ayodhya mosque. Basically, the book does an apology of he moghol period in India; while keeping quiet about all their crimes. In the chapter dealing for instance with Vijaynagar, the last great empire of free India, which symbolized a Hindu Renaissance after nine centuries of savage Muslim conquests, one cannot but perceive the enmity of the authors for Hinduism. The two young princes, founder of Vijaynagar who were converted by force to Islam when in captivity, are accused of “duplicity”, because they reverted back to Hinduism as soon as they were free; then the French historians highlight the “ambition of Brahmins, who used these two young princes to reconquer the power that at been lost at the hands of the conquering Muslims” (page 54); the book then mentions “the unquenchable exigencies of the (Hindu) central power in Vijaynagar”, forgetting to say that that for the first time in centuries, Hindus could practice freely their faith, that they were not killed, their women raped, their children taken as slaves and converted to Islam. And all this to finally sum up in seven words the terrible end of Vijaynagar, which has left a wound in the Hindu psyche even up to today: “looting and massacres lasted for three days”…

But the authors of “Histoire de l’Inde moderne” do not only run down Hindus, they also glorify Muslims, particularly the Moghols. Babur for instance, this monster who killed hundreds of thousands of Hindus and razed thousands of temples becomes at their hands a gentle hero: “ Babur did not like India and preferred to isolate himself in the exquisite gardens he had devised, with their geometrical design, their crossed canals, which evoked to him the rivers of paradise”. Oh, God what a sensitive poet! And to make it sound even more glorious, the author adds: “there he translated a manual of Koranic law and a Sufi treaty of morals”. Oh, what a saint and lover of humanity… Aurangzeb, the cruelest of the Moghul emperors, has also the full sympathies of the authors: “Aurangzeb seems to have concentrated on himself the hatred of militant Hindus, who attribute to him systematic destruction of temples and massive conversion drives. But this Manichean impression has to be seriously countered (page 126)”… Unfortunately for the authors, as we have seen earlier, Aurangzeb was not only proud of what he was doing to the Hindus, but he had his scribes note each deed down for posterity… In 2006 the same authors published “L’Inde contemporaine”, with the same prejudices and bias against Hindus and their political parties.

These French Indianists have also a tradition of speaking against the BJP, which they have always labeled as “fundamentalist” and dangerous for the “secular” fabric of India, although the BJP has been in power for quite a few years and nothing dramatic has happened to the secular fabric of India. The problem is that these Indianists not only write lengthy and pompous articles in France’s main newspapers, such as Left-leaning Le Monde, explaining to the ignorant reader why is India on the point of exploding because of fanatic Hindus, or how the Harijans in India are still the most downtrodden people on earth (this is why when President Narayanan visited France in April 2000, all the French newspapers chose to only highlight that he was an untouchable and that religious minorities in India were persecuted, nearly provoking a diplomatic incident between France and India), but unfortunately they also advise the French government, who like his citizens, is often shamefully ignorant and uninterested by India. This is why, although there has been a lot of sympathy for the French in India because of their tolerant response to the Indian nuclear tests of 1998 (whereas the whole western world reacted hysterically by imposing absurd sanctions), France has not yet bothered to capitalize on this sympathy and has not managed to realize that India is the ideal economic alternative to a very volatile China.

It would be nice to say that Indian journalists are not blind to this influence of French Indianists and the adverse impact it has on Indo-French relations, but when Christophe Jaffrelot, for instance who wrote many a nasty books on Hindu fundamentalism and is most responsible for the bad image the BJP in France, comes to India to release the English translation of his book, he is feted by the Press corps and all kind of laudatory reviews are printed in the Indian Press. So much for secularism in India.

And, ultimately, it is a miracle that Hinduism survived the onslaught of Muslim savagery; it shows how deep was her faith, how profound her karma, how deeply ingrained her soul in the hearts of her faithfuls. We do not want to point a finger at Muslim atrocities, yet they should not be denied and their mistakes should not be repeated today. But the real question is: Can Islam ever accept Hinduism? We shall turn towards the Sage, the yogi, who fought for India’s independence, accepting the Gita’s message of karma of violence when necessary, yet who had a broad vision that softened his words: “You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is “I will not tolerate you? How are you going to have unity with these people?…The Hindu is ready to tolerate; he is open to new ideas and his culture and has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided India’s central truth is recognised.. (Sri Aurobindo India’s Rebirth 161,173)
Or behold this, written on September 1909: “Every action for instance which may be objectionable to a number of Mahomedans, is now liable to be forbidden because it is likely to lead to a breach of peace. And one is dimly beginning to wonder whether worship in Hindu temples may be forbidden on that valid ground (India’s Rebirth p. 55). How prophetic! Sri Aurobindo could not have foreseen that so many Muslim countries would ban Rushdie’s book and that Hindu processions would often be forbidden in cities, for fear of offending the Muslims. Sri Aurobindo felt that sooner or later Hindus would have to assert again the greatness of Hinduism.

And here we must say a word about monotheism, for it is the key to the understanding of Islam. Christians and Muslims (and Jews) have always harped on the fact that their religions sprang-up as a reaction against the pagan polytheist creeds, which adored many Gods. « There is only one real God they said (ours), all the rest are just worthless idols ». This « monotheism versus polytheism business » has fuelled since then the deep, fanatic, violent and murderous zeal of Islam against polytheist religions, particularly against Hinduism, which is the most comprehensive, most widely practiced of all them. It even cemented an alliance of sorts between the two great monotheist religions of the world, Christianity and Islam, witness the Britishers’ attitude in India, who favoured Indian Muslims and Sikhs against the Hindus; or the King of Morocco who, even though he is one of the most moderate Muslim leaders in the world, recently said in an interview: « we have no fight with Christianity, our battle is against the Infidel who adores many gods ».
But as we have seen earlier, Hinduism is without any doubt the most monotheist religion in the World, for it recognises divine unity in multiplicity. It does not say: « there is only one God, which is Mohammed. If you do not believe in Him I will kill you ». It says instead: « Yes Mohammed is a manifestation of God, but so is Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna, or Confucius ». This philosophy, this way of seeing, which the Christians and Muslims call « impious », is actually the foundation for a true monotheist understanding of the world. It is because of this « If you do not recognize Allah (or Christ), I will kill you », that tens of millions of Hindus were slaughtered by Arabs and other millions of South Americans annihilated by the Christians. And ultimately the question is: Are the Muslims of today ready to accept Hinduism ? Unfortunately no. For Muslims all over the world, Hinduism is still the Infidel religion « par excellence ». This what their religion tell them, at every moment, at every verse, at the beginning of each prayer : « Only Allah is great ». And their mollahs still enjoin them to go on fight « jihad » to deliver the world of the infidels. And if the armies of Babar are not there any longer; and if it is not done any more to kill a 100.000 Hindus in a day, there is still the possibility of planting a few bombs in Coimbatore, Mumbai or Varanasi, of fuelling separatisms in the hated land and eventually to drop a nuclear device, which will settle the problem once and for all. As to the Indian Muslim, he might relate to his Hindu brother, for whatever he says, he remains an Indian, nay a Indu; but his religion will make sure that he does not forget that his duty is to hate the Infidel. This is the crux of the problem today and the riddle if Islam has to solved, if it wants to survive in the long run.

We will never be able to assess the immense physical harm done to India by the Muslim invasions. Even more difficult is to estimate the moral and the spiritual damage done to Hindu India. But once again, the question is not of vengeance, or of reawakening old ghosts, but of not repeating the same mistakes. Unfortunately, the harm done by the Muslims conquest is not over. The seeds planted by the Moghols, by Babar, Mahmud, or Aurangzeb, have matured: the 125 million Indian Muslims of today have forgotten that they were once peaceful, loving Hindus, forcibly converted to a religion they hated. And they sometimes take-up as theirs a cry of fanaticism which is totally alien to their culture. Indeed, as Sri Aurobindo once said: “More than 90% of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converted Hindus and belong as much to the Indian nation as the Hindu themselves”…(Rebirth of India, p.237) The embryo of secession planted by the Mahomedans, has also matured into a poisonous tree which has been called Pakistan and comes back to haunt India through three wars and the shadow of a nuclear conflict embracing South Asia. And in India, Kashmir and Kargil are reminders that the Moghol cry for the house of Islam in India is not yet over.

One of the main reasons I have decided to build in Pune a Museum of Indian History, dedicated to the great Shivaji Maharaj (who is depicted in Indian History books as a petty chieftain and a plunderer), is that it will not be enough to rewrite Indian History in books, it will also have to be done in STONE. Please see our website fact-india.com and contribute financially, if you can, to the making of that Museum (we have US, UK and Indian tax exemption). We are also looking for IT persons to donate time to do presentations, animations & GAMES based on the lives of India’s Hindu heroes: Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratapa, Ranu of Jhansi, Ahilyabhai, the Vijaynagar empire, etc. You can contact me at fgautier@rediffmail.com

A French journalist’s view on India and its media

27th March 2002

Source: PRdomain

India is a country of wonderful people — warm, hospitable, tolerant. Its intellectual elite — in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore — are good friends to have: fun-loving and always cordial with westerners.

gujararIntellectually, the journalists and writers of this country are often witty, brilliant, speak good English, and write even better. In fact, quite a few of them — Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Upamanyu Chatterjee and others — have become households names in the English literary world and have brought a good name to India. Roy has even shown us that one can be a successful writer and also work for a social cause — even going to the extent of going to jail for that.

Yet, there is something that I have never understood. Although most of India’s intellectual elite is Hindu, the great majority of them are Hindu haters — and it even seems sometimes that they are ashamed to be Hindus.

They always come out with the same clichés on Hindutva, the saffron brigade, the Hindu ‘fundamentalists,’ and if you listen to them you get the impression that India is in the hands of dangerous Hindu fundamentalists and that the Christian and Muslim minorities of India are being cruelly persecuted.

Recently, Courier International, a very prestigious French magazine, which is read by diplomats and politicians, published a special issue on ‘Hindu fundamentalism’ with a cover photo of RSS members doing their lathi drill. The ignorant westerner who read it must have had the impression that India indeed is in the grip of fascist, Nazi-like Hindu groups and that civil liberties are curtailed here. When the editor-in-chief of that magazine was contacted, he pointed out that all the pieces had been translated from articles written in the Indian press by Indian journalists.

If I did not know India, I would tend also to believe what I read about India in the western press: a nation torn by caste discrimination, poverty, corruption, Hindu extremism and natural calamities. But after living more than 30 years in this country, my experience is totally different: Hindus are probably the most tolerant people in the world — they accept that God manifests Himself under different forms, at different times, according to the needs and mentality of each epoch: Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha…

gujararThus they always allowed throughout the centuries religious minorities who were victimised in their own countries to settle in India and to prosper and practice their religion: the Syrian Christians, in fact the first Christian community in the world; the Jews, who have been persecuted all over the world (including in my own country, France), but were left in peace in India; the Armenians; the Parsis; and today the Tibetans…

As a westerner, living in India, apart from the obvious bureaucratic hassles, the slowness of everything and the dirt, being here has also been a dream: I have never been mugged in 33 years, no policeman has ever asked me my papers in the street (see what happens to you if you are dark-skinned and without a tie in the metro in Paris) and I have always been made welcome even in the remotest villages of India.

As a journalist, it is even better: I do not have to ask permission to go out of Delhi and submit the subject and route of the features I propose to do outside the capital; and I do not get kicked out of India, even if I criticise its government — all this contrary to China, which even then remains a more coveted post for a foreign correspondent than India.

It is true that for a western journalist, coming to India can be a baffling experience. The diversity (going from one state to the next is like passing from one country to another); the language is different, so is the food, the habits, the political set-up; the complexity of India’s political life, its heavy subtleties; the incredible religious, social and ethnic diversity…

So what does the new correspondent do, when often he has at heart to do justice to the country he has been asked to report about? He turns to his Indian fellow journalists for enlightenment. Regrettably, the f

irst input he is given by his Indian colleagues is very negative: the black mark of Ayodhya on India’s secular fabric; the heavy hand of the army in Kashmir; the terrible caste abuses in Bihar; or the Taliban-like Bajrang Dal.

And this is why if you read the western reports on India, however good their style is, however well-meaning they are, they all say the same thing with infinite monotony and often nastiness). Again, it is absolutely factual that there are unforgivable things done in India in the name of caste; that the disparity between rich and poor is shocking; that affluent Hindus have very little concern about their less fortunate brethrens, or else have no respect for their environment.

But it is also true that there is so much positive things to be written about India: so many great people, so much tolerance, so much talent, so many fascinating subjects. Nevertheless, western journalists seem only to concentrate on the negative. His is the vicious circle of journalism and India: the negative goes from the Indian journalist to the western journalist… and comes back to India under the form of unfriendly reporting.

The recent Sabarmati burning followed by the rioting in Gujarat showed again the veracity of that phenomenon. Here you had 58 innocent Hindus, the majority of them being women and children, burnt in the most horrible manner, for no other crime but the fact that they want to build a temple dedicated to the most cherished of Hindu Gods, Ram, on a site which has been held sacred by Hindus for thousands of years.

When a Graham Staines is burnt alive, all of India’s English press goes overboard in condemning his killers. But when 58 Graham Staines are murdered, they report it without comment. No doubt, the revenge that followed is equally unpardonable. No doubt, Indian and foreign journalists who rushed to Gujarat, wrote sincerely: after all they saw innocent women, children and men being burnt, killed, raped.

Which decent journalist, who has at heart of reporting truth, would not cry out against such a shame? But then history has shown us that no event should be taken out of context, and that there is in India, among the Hindu majority, a simmering anger against Muslims, who have terribly persecuted the Hindus and yet manage to make it look as if they are the persecuted.

And once again, the western press coverage of the Gujarat rioting comes back to haunt India: Hindus targeting Muslims; fundamentalism against innocence; minority being persecuted by majority… But when will the true India be sincerely portrayed by its own journalists, so that the western press be positively influenced?

(Gautier is the correspondent in India and South Asia of Ouest-France, the biggest circulation French daily [1 million copies], and for LCI, a 24-hour TV news channel. He is also the author of Arise O India and A Western Journalist on India)

NEGATIONISM AND GUJARAT

In the wake of the recent events in Gujarat, we have to look again at what Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst, has called “negationism”, which means ” the denial of crimes against humanity”. In modern history, the massacre by the Turks of 1,5 millions Armenians, or that of the 6 million Jews by the Nazis, the several millions of Russians by Stalin, or the 1 million Tibetans by the Chinese communists, are historical facts which have all been denied by their perpetrators in a thousand ways: gross, clever, outrageous, subtle, so that in the end, the minds of people are so confused and muddled, that nobody knows anymore where the truth is.

We have seen recently how some of the Muslim intellectuals, part of the English media and many western correspondents have negated the Sabarmarti Express burning by a Muslim mob: a few of them said it happened because the kar-sevaks insulted the Muslim vendors in Godhra, or even molested a young Muslim girl; others implied that it was the RSS which engineered the burning of the train (!); others have said that the kar-sevaks had it coming to them because they were “fanatic Hindus” (were the 38 innocent women and children who died in the most horrible manner, also fanatic Hindu “fanatics”?). The same thing happened during the 1993 Bombay riots, engineered by Muslims: it was – still claim many Indian intellectuals – “because they were outraged by the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque” (but whatever the rightfulness or wrongfulness of the razing of Babri Masjid, nobody was killed there, whereas hundreds of innocent Hindus were killed by the bombs planted by Indian Muslims, with the help of Pakistan and the connivance of Saudi Arabia).

In the same way, after the Akshardam temple massacre, quite a few editorialists, such as Shekhar Gupta, in his September 28th piece in the Indian Express, or Saeed Naqvi in the same paper, implied (as did Musharraf, by the way) that the massacre of innocent Hindus would not have taken place if there had not been pogroms by the Hindus against Muslims earlier in Gujarat. One could answer to Mss. Gupta and Naqvi that if it is new for Hindus to kill Muslims, there is nothing novel about Muslims killing Hindus, although this particular aspect has been constantly negated by most historians. On, thinks of course of Indians, such as Romila Thapar, but also foreign India-specialists such as Gaboriau or Christophe Jaffrelot, who have persistently written in official books and in prestigious newspapers that Muslim invasions in India were not as bloody as “nationalist” Hindus say, that Babar was a fine poet, that India was attacked because the “cunning” Brahmins had hoarded gold and jewels in their temples, or that Aurangzeb was not the butcher made out by “fundamentalists” Hindus.

It is thus good from to time to be reminded of the truth: in India, because of the staunch resistance of the 4000 year old Hindu faith, the Muslim conquests triggered one the worst genocides ever witnessed by humanity. Entire cities were burnt down and their populations massacred. Each successive campaign brought hundreds of thousands of victims and similar numbers were deported as slaves. Every new invader made often literally his hill of Hindu skulls. Thus the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000, was followed by the annihilation of the entire Hindu population there; indeed, the region is still called Hindu Kush, ‘Hindu slaughter’. The Bahmani sultans in central India, made it a rule to kill 100.000 Hindus a year. In 1399, Teimur did better: he killed 100.000 Hindus IN A SINGLE DAY. Professor K.S. Lal’s, in his “Growth of Muslim population in India”, has estimated that the Hindu population decreased by 80 MILLION between the year 1000 and 1525.

Negationism means then that this whole aspect of Indian history has been totally erased, not only from history books, but also from the consciousness of Indian people. Hasn’t M.N. Roy written “that Islam has fulfilled a historic mission of equality and abolition of discrimination in India, and that for this, Islam has been welcomed in India by the lower castes”. “If at all any violence occurred, he goes on to say, it was a matter of justified class struggle by the progressive forces against the feudal Hindu upper classes..” Jawaharlal Nehru himself said of Mahmud Ghaznavi, the destroyer of thousands of Hindu temples, who according to his chronicler Utbi, sang the praise of the Mathura temple complex, sacred above all to all Hindus… and promptly proceeded to raze it to the ground: “Building interested Mahmud and he was much impressed by the city of Mathura, where there are today a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful. Mahmud was not a religious man. He was a Mahomedan, but that was just by the way. He was in the first place a soldier and a brilliant soldier”…

Whereas the Jews have constantly tried, since the Nazi genocide, to keep alive the remembrance of their six million martyrs, the Indian leadership, political and intellectual, has made a willful and conscious attempt to deny the genocide perpetrated by the Muslims. No one is crying for vengeance. Do the Jews of today want to retaliate upon contemporary Germany? NO. It is only a matter of making sure that history does not repeat its mistakes, as alas it is able to do today: witness the persecution of Hindus in Kashmir, whose 250.000 Pandits have fled their homeland, or the present genocide of Hindus in Bangladesh. No collective memory should be erased for appeasing a particular community.

But at the same time, their historical crimes should not be denied by conveniently using the Gujarat riots, the one time in recent history where Hindus did actually retaliate against Muslim for atrocities committed.

And ultimately the real question is: Can Islam ever accept Hinduism? Can the Indian Muslim minority ever agree to be governed by the Hindu majority, even though they have more rights and freedom than in most Islamic countries ? Can Pakistan ever accept India ? Listen to what Sri Aurobindo had to say sixty years ago: “You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is “I will not tolerate you? How are you going to have unity with these people?.The Hindu is ready to tolerate; he is open to new ideas and his culture and has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided India’s central truth is recognized”..

We will never be able to assess the immense physical harm done to India by the Muslim invasions. Even more difficult is to estimate the moral and the spiritual damage done to Hindu India. But once again, the question is not of vengeance, or of reawakening old ghosts, but of not repeating the same mistakes. Unfortunately, the harm done by the Muslims conquest is not over. The seeds planted by the Moghols, by Babar, Mahmud, or Aurangzeb, have matured: the burning of the Sabamarti express, the continuing destruction of temples in Kashmir, Pakistan or Bangladesh (see Prafull Goradia’s remarkable book “Hindu Masjids”), or the Akshardham massacre are the proof that many of the India’s and Pakistan’s (and Bangladeshi) Muslims have forgotten that they were once peaceful Hindus, forcibly converted to a religion they hated.

FRANCOIS GAUTIER