Tag Archives: Obama

@NarendraModi supporters are puzzled today

I know quite a few hardcore supporters of Narendra Modi​, who are puzzled – and sometimes angry- that like Mr Vajpayee, before him, as soon as he became Prime Minister of India, he changed his tigers stripes for the fluffy white cotton of a lamb, who sheds tears over the death of a dalit (who was not even a real dalit), before his people told him that the guy insulted everybody, specially anything Hindu, and repeatedly challenged the authorities of the university.

Concentrating on the economy and foreign trips only, may make him friends amongst westerners and businessmen, but Mr Modi does not seem to understand, like Mr Vajpayee before him, that he will loose the next general elections, because the common Hindu, from the Dalit to the upper castes, who elected him in a united vote two years go, don’t give a hoot about Obama, Francois Hollande and free enterprise. Mr Modi also does not seem to grasp that Muslims, Christians, Intellectuals and most of the Media, will always hate him, however much he tries to please them.

I also hear that a lot of hardcore friends of the Prime Minister, who supported him in his darkest hours, when the entire Indian National Congress​, the Media and many western leaders were after his blood, to put him in jail, are being shunned by Mr Modi & the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)​ now, have no access to him and no way to tell hm what the real people of India feel about his Government. Delhi is a big bubble, totally cut off from the real India, where diplomats, journalists, bureaucrats and politicians pat each other’s back and forget totally about rural India, whom they are going to need at the next legislative elections. Some of these disgruntled erstwhile friends of Mr Modi are now whispering that the Prime Minister has lost his fiery, down to earth, no nonsense, pro-Hindu personality and has adopted the Delhi mode of thinking, forgetting why and by whom he was elected…

he has lost the last three regional elections, they say and instead of drawing a lesson of humility from it, of reviewing his public relations, he has reappointed Mr Amit Shah​ and still listens to himself, whereas even Sonia Gandhi had a national Advisory Council, which she consulted frequently.

As in this article below, they say that nothing has changed: education is still the Congress-type of education, Kashmir is as bad as ever and Pandits are a long way from returning; Article 370 and Ram temple will never happen and Hindus continue to shrink in West bengal, Assam and UP…..

I don’t know what to think, boys and girls, as I am a great supporter of Mr Modi and I have been thinking for a long time that he is the right type of India at a crucial moment, a vibhuti, maybe even. But after listening to al these friends, I have started to doubt even myself… please enlighten me. Fr
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-why-are-netaji-vivekananda-and-other-revolutionaries-disappearing-from-syllabuscic-to-ncert-2169830

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PM ABOUT THE DELHI DEFEAT & A UNITED HINDU ELECTORATE

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

Namaste

Francois Gautier

THE BJP SHOULD NOT BE ARROGANT

Dear friends, there is no doubt that a BJP Govt – and Mr Narendra Modi as PM – will be a huge improvement for India & Hindus, here and worldwide. The Congress has dragged down this country and still does, selfishly, without any concern for the people that have elected them. Growth will dip soon at 4,5%, while China, which is India’s bitter and most dangerous enemy, is soaring without any competition worth the name.

At the same time, we have seen that the BJP, once in power, quickly forgets about its true goals, what the people who have elected them want & falls in the Nehruvian fold of power and its Delhi trappings. Already there is an arrogance in the BJP that ‘ we are already there’, while Rahul Gandhi and his mother are  quietly gaining votes with the rural innocent people of India, by TV adds, for example, which are simple, but have an appeal to the heart (however  false there are). Already, Mr Narendra Modi, has become unreachable, even to his staunch supporters. One understands that campaigning is his priority and that it is a tiring business. But if you look at the US elections, Obama’s campaigns, for instance, it’s as exhausting, there are even more meetings, in small towns, which Mr Modi avoids, America is as big and Obama himself shakes a million hands, eats hamburgers, carries babies, sings with children, which Mr Modi also avoids because of ‘security’ concerns. But Obama is probably  targeted even more than Mr Modi by Islamist terrorists.

This is why, if you love India, you should be all after your BJP local representatives, by voice, letters, mails, push them, prod them to remain true to your aspirations, your needs, your hopes. As for me, I have always been a journalist who stands by his intuitions, from moment to moment, without bending to the line of my editors or of any party, even the BJP. MY first love is Mother India, Her Welfare, Her protection in the face of so many threats She is facing at the moment. I know that Kejriwal is a Marxist at heart and does not have much love for the Hindus. At the same time, he is the only one who has the guts to fight corruption & the VIP system, which is corroding India – and as a journalist I have to praise him of that, even if his tools of dharna are ridiculed (but were they not Gandhi’s favorite tools?) even if it’s a losing battle. And mind you, the common people may vote for his party again in greater numbers. He is even admired abroad.

So friends, do not be mad at me if sometimes I criticize the BJP and Mr Modi. While I have a lot of respect for Narendra Modi, whom I met several times, while I am probably the only foreign journalist who has defended him for ten years, much before he was the PM candidate of the BJP (as I have defended Murli Manohar Joshi, Advani and Vajpayee in the 90’s), I have seen that Mr Modi is also like many other Indian politicians of the Congress and the BJP: he takes and gives back little. The art of Living Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for instance, has worked tirelessly for Mr Modi, not only in Gujarat, but all over India. But Mr Modi in return, has never done anything for the Art of Living which does so much free sewa in India and needs support at all levels. As I said, I have written countless articles praising him in the French and even  US media, but my publisher Har Anand of Delhi, has been begging him for 6 months to release my latest book “a History of India as it Happened, not as it has been written”, a book that rewrites Indian History and is crucial to the thoughts of the Hindus, anywhere, anytime – but we never got an answer.

As Sri Aurobindo said in his Hour of God, this is the hour of the unexpected. Long Live Mother India
francois gautier

Being an Indian abroad. Part II

 My article, « Being an Indian abroad », posted on Facebook & Twitter, triggered a few reactions.

 Obviously, America is not only fast food, artificial lights, cars and a superficial vitality. There is certain openness about America, a willingness of the American people to listen to other points of view, which is unique. Yes, America is also a land of freedom where in the last three hundred years, people from all nationalities, all social classes, have been given the chance to make it good. And immigrants have in turn responded to this unique trust by giving the United States their 100% allegiance and energies, which makes it today the leading industrial and military nation in the world. One finds too a sense of collectiveness, a caring for the others, which gives America some of the best road system in the world and first-class public amenities, such as the community centers found in many American cities.

 But is America really the benevolent, casteless society that some of facebook members are convinced it is ? Well, its true that hey have reelected Obama, a unique phenomenon, which shows America’s openness, but still, I am not sure. For one, what the White Americans did to the Blacks not that long ago, must be ranking amongst some of the saddest deeds perpetuated by one class of humanity on another; not to speak of the terrible and shameful treatment inflicted upon the hapless Red Indians, the original inhabitants of their land, a karma that the US will have to pay sooner or later. There are also a lot of inequalities in the States: extremely rich people and some incredibly poor folks, mostly Blacks, for such a country of tremendous wealth. American journalists and human rights activists like to highlight the “oppressed” condition of women in India. But as early as the late sixties, India elected democratically a woman Prime Minister, the highest post of the nation – and that for nearly twenty years. Can the country of triumphant feminism and gender equality boast of a woman President? Hillary Clinton did not make it. The problem is that most Indians suffer too much from an inferiority complex vis à vis the West, to point this out to the Americans who are constantly criticizing India for its human rights in Kashmir and Gujarat

 Yes, in America one enjoys the liberty to do whatever one wants without the red tape, bureaucracy and heavy taxation that one is subjected to in India, or even in industrialized countries such as France. But after 11th September 2001, freedoms have been heavily curtailed in the US, especially if you have a brown skin, as many Indians, Hindus or Sikhs, are finding out today, being mistaken by ignorant Americans for Pakistanis, Afghanis or Saudis. Today, each of your movements is watched in the US, as there are video cameras everywhere, not only at airports, but also at traffic lights, in stores, at cinemas. Everything is known about you, thanks to computerization – and we even once heard on the PA of Atlanta airport: “ you can go to jail for something you say, even as a joke” ! Compare this to India: I have lived here for 40 years, I have gone to the most remote places, traveled to sacred spots with my cameras, tape recorder and white face. And never once have I been aggressed, never once has my passport been asked in the streets (try traveling in the subway in Paris if you have a brown face and a leather jacket), never once have I been mugged at late nights in Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai, whereas in Washington, the capital of the ‘land of freedom’, we were told not to go out alone in certain parts after 8 PM.

 Some of the posts dealt with the extraordinary “religious freedom one can enjoy in the US, where nobody bothers whether you are a Jew, a Hindu, or a Christian”. Fair enough. But let’s put it that way: the American population is overwhelmingly Christian and nobody there finds anything to say that the President of the United States is sworn in on the Bible, or that in some states a Christian prayer is uttered before the start of the school. India has a thumping Hindu majority (80%), but imagine the uproar if Mr. Manmohan Singh had been sworn in on the Bhagavad-Gita  ! And remember what happened when Murli Manohar Joshi wanted to introduce the chanting of the Vandana Saraswati in schools. Yet, India had three Muslim Presidents since independence, a Sikh PM, when Sikhs constitute 3% of the total population and a Christian Supremo, who is just an elected MP, when Christians are only 2% in India. Would that be possible in the US?

 OK, some of you have a point: when I say that all Indians settled in the US should regroup themselves under a “Hindu American banner”, it does look as if I want to exclude Christians, Muslim and Sikh Indians. Indeed, most of the protesting posts, were from Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. But the question is: do these minorities really want to be part of India? Let’s answer the objections from Christians first. One Christian reader tells me “Christians have no freedom in India, look what’s happened in Orissa recently where churches were burnt”. True, but first it should be pointed out that most of these incidents are between converted tribals or low castes and non-converted one. Moreover, this is an isolated case and our friend disregards what the Christians have done to Hindus over the centuries. The first Christian community in the world, that of the Syrian Christians, settled in India in the first century. They were not only allowed to practice their religion in peace, but they prospered here, whereas at the same time they were persecuted in Rome and later in many Arabic countries. But when Vasco de Gama landed in India in the 16th century, the Portuguese, with the active collaboration of many of the Indian Christians, unleashed a reign of terror in Goa and some parts of Kerala, crucifying Brahmins, razing temples, forcibly marrying their soldiers to Goanese women. The British, even if they did not use such violent means, gave a free hand to missionaries to convert huge parts of India, particularly in the North-East. Today, American or Australian dollars are used to still convert unethically, by using the economic incentive amongst tribals and untouchables, teaching the new converts to hate their culture and customs and creating a spirit of separatism, as the Christian Bodo and Mizo militants have shown.

 A few Sikh friends also resented my not having mentioned Sikkism. Let me quote straightaway from Sri Aurobindo: “ The Sikh Khalsa was an astonishingly original and novel creation and its face was turned not to the past but to the future. Apart and singular in its theocratic head and democratic soul and structure, it was the first attempt to combine the deepest elements of Islam and Vedanta. But it could not create between the spirit and the external life the transmitting medium of a rich creative thought and culture. And thus hampered and deficient it began and ended with narrow local limits, achieved intensity but no power of expansion…”

Unfortunately, the Sikhs, because they had to defend themselves against the terrible persecutions by the Muslims, became a militant religion, adopting hawkish habits, which they kept, even in time of peace. And they also retained some of the more negative sides of Islam: intolerance, or feeling of persecution, thus cutting themselves from the mainstream spirit of Hindu tolerance from which they anyway came, and where they might ultimately go back.  But do they not come from the great Hindu family? Has not till lately every good Hindu family donated one of their sons to Sikhism? Do not Hindus, still today go to Gurdwaras? Yet today, many expatriate Sikhs want to have nothing to do with Hinduism, and sometimes even with India. Badrinath, a holy place to Hindus and Hemkunt Saheb, the most important place of pilgrimage for Sikhs after the Golden Temple, are only separated by a few kilometers. You will find Hindus taking the very arduous trek up to Hemkunt Saheb, but today hardly any Sikhs bother to take the bus to Badrinath. By cutting itself from its roots, Sikkism might be running adrift and lose its relevance.

 What about Indian Muslims? Today we see, even though they benefit in India from a freedom they would not have in Saudi Arabia, or even in Pakistan, that Indian Muslims often feel their first allegiance goes to Islam and not to India. The irony of it all is that Muslims invaded India, raped it repeatedly, ran it with an iron and bloody hand, attempted to make of India a totally Islamic country by forcibly converting millions of Hindus – and today they manage to portray themselves in the eyes of the world as the persecuted ! When fed-up by centuries of Muslim oppression, persecutions, ostracism and separatism, upper caste, as well as lower caste Hindus in Gujarat burst out in a frenzy of unforgivable violence after the burning of 57 innocent Hindus in a train by a Muslim mob, Indian Muslims cry for revenge:  “I invite people to commit crimes against Hindus in Gujarat”, said one of the emails from a Muslim gentleman. Another Muslim lady, Shabnam Hashmi, has been going around all the United  States, saying that it was the RSS who killed the hapless kar sevaks in the Sabamarti Express – and she got the ear of all US mainstream newspapers, such as the NYT, as well as many Government-backed human right agencies. Are American that stupid to believe such a terrible lie ? Isn’t it time that the Indian Muslim community, both abroad and in India, most of whom are Hindus who had to convert by force, make a choice between Babar, a man who destroyed everything which was good, beautiful and holy and lived by the power of violence and Ram, who believed in the equality of all and gave-up all riches and honors of the world because he thought his bother deserved the throne more than him ?

 Another strong objection from some readers: religion divides. First let me say that Hinduism, as Sri Aurobindo or Vivekananda, or Shri Ramakrishna, envisioned it, is not a religion but a living spirituality which has given to the world – and still gives it today – wonderful tools: hata-yoga copied all over this planet, meditation, or pranayama, which, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, which teaches pranayama in 150 countries, “can be practiced by anybody, whatever their nationality and religion”. Secondly, at a time when the two largest monotheistic religions of the world, Islam and Christianity still claim that their God is the only true one and it is still their right in the 21st century to convert, or even kill in the name of Jesus Christ, or Mohamed, Hindus, through the extraordinary concept of the avatar, recognize that God manifests himself at different times, in different countries, under different names and thus grant to everybody the right to worship God under any form. This is a very precious  spiritual (and not religious) knowledge which has been lost to the world and which, even the most humble Hindu peasant spontaneously practices.

 It is also true that things in India are not as they should be. Hindus there are not united, India is divided along caste and religious lines by unscrupulous politicians. Yes, Hindus can also be racists, as one reader remarked; they do suffer at the same time, as another one commented, from a big inferiority complex, as well as one of superiority, quite an achievement! Yes, it is as well correct that expatriate Indians do often tend to become more conscious of their roots than India Indians: they will send their children to learn Bharata Natyam and will remember all the festivals. Good: there is a whole generation of upper middle class kids in India who are so desperately aping the worst of the West, that they are lost for India. Yes, Hindus can on top pf that be selfish, passive, cowardly, miserly, whereas many of them are extremely rich. But nevertheless, they remain a wonderful people, alive with an inbred joy and spirituality.

 Contrary to what one of the readers assert, there is a definite atmosphere in India, something special, something unique, which is there nowhere else in the world. Those of you who spent a lot of time abroad, will notice a certain quality in the atmosphere as soon as you enter India, if you are a little sensitive. There is nothing miraculous about it, it juts springs from millions of sages, yogis, thinkers, sadhus, avatars having incarnated themselves on this sacred land of India and meditated there and preached love and compassion. This can be felt even more strongly at certain locations: on the banks of Benares, in Rishikesh or Haridwar, in Madurai, or even of all the places, in Srinagar, where there is still today a strong spiritual atmosphere, maybe because it was once the cradle of Shivaism.

 So: Indian Americans or Hindu Americans ? To start with, there are already Indian Americans, those that Columbus mistook for real Indians and you can’t usurp their names. Secondly it ultimately depends on the Christians, the Sikhs and the Muslims, who in the last few decades, have drifted more and more from the Indian psyche, striving to strike a fundamental identity of their own. India and Hinduism always gave them space to express themselves and left them the full freedom of religious expression. But in return, Muslims and Christians persecuted the Hindus; and Sikhs, let themselves be used by Pakistan to harm India’s collective unity. We have also seen that the numerous Indian Americans associations in the US, where there are indeed Muslim, Christians and Sikh Indians, are frequently paralyzed by these three groups, who although they are very small in numbers, often work against India and the Hindu majority by creating such forums as the South Asian journalist Association, which is sometimes used as an anti-Hindu/India forum by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indian Muslims.

 Thus, if Hindus in the United States regroup themselves under a “Hindu American” label it might prompt the three minorities to wake-up to the reality of a stronger, overwhelmingly Hindu majority. On top of that, as I have already said, it will give a clear-cut identity to Indians in the States, dissociating them from the Pakistanis, the Bangladeshis, the Saudis, or the Afghans, who have a much less friendly attitude towards the West than Hindus. It will also help make known to the average American the extraordinary achievements of the Hindu community in the US, which must be the most upwardly mobile – and perhaps the richest – community in America. Lastly, it will help the Indian Government, by creating a powerful and effective lobby in the US, free from the shackles imposed by the Christian, Sikh and Muslim Indians. Ultimately, it will up to these three minorities to decide whether they want to re-join this great family that is “Induism”. For we should then give back to ‘Hindus’ it proper meaning: Indus from the civilization of the valley of Indus, probably the most ancient civilization of the world still active today. Once upon a time, Indian Christians, Parsis, Muslims and Hindus were called ‘Indus’ by the invaders without differentiation of caste and religion. Is it not time to put back this habit into practice?

 Finally, is America going to be perpetually the Eldorado that still make Indians dream ? Not sure. There are certain signs which show that the US economy is not fully recovering: the slump in the stock market, the packing up of half of Silicon Valley, the near bankruptcy of many American airlines and banks, and more than that, the eroding of the cocksure confidence of Americans. There are bound to be more terrorist attacks on the US in the next few years, as Samuel Huntington’s prophecy of a “clash of civilization” between Islam and the West, with China siding with Islam (lets us not forget that Beijing already gave Pakistan the technology to build its nuclear weapons) and Hindu India allied with the West, will prove more and more true. This in turn will trigger more panic, more loss of confidence amongst Americans and eventually a stock market crash on the lines of the one which happened in 1929.

 On the other hand, India, this “Third World country”, has learnt to live with Islamic terrorism, its people do not panic as Americans do, it has a relatively stable stock market, its software business is still expanding and is beginning to offer salaries which will compete with the West. Could it be that this great brain drain towards America could be reversed and that NRI’s start coming back to their country of origin in search of greener pastures? One could even dream: today one still sees this huge humiliating queues in front of the US embassy in Delhi, where visa applicants are treated like cattle. Will we one day witness Americans waiting in line in front of the Indian embassy in Washington to obtain working visas in

India ? It will happen my friends. One day.

 FRANCOIS GAUTIER

 

WHAT IS IT TO BE AN INDIAN ABROAD TODAY ?

Obama has won again and most Indians in the US rejoice. What is it to be an Indian today in the United States? What is meant by Indian-ness ? What is it to be an Indian abroad ? How much of yourself do you give to your American identity – and how much space do you preserve for your Indian-ness ? These are the questions that Indian expatriates should ask themselves today. For we see many of the children of Indians who settled in the US twenty or thirty years ago, merge themselves totally in the American way of life, speak with an American accent, eat Mac Donald, think American… and in the process forget all about their wonderful Indian culture…

 What is it in the American way of life, which fascinates so much Indians ? The fast life ? Right: fast is exciting; but Americans live so fast, eating their breakfast in their cars on the way to work, gulping down these huge amounts of meat and French fries at lunch or dinner, always on the move, that not only they often grow immensely fat, but also catch ulcers and get heart attacks by the time they reach sixty five. What else dazzles Indians in the American way of life ? The lights? True, New York is a fascinating city, with its illuminated skyscrapers, its million of pulsating lights, its giant electronic billboards, its fancy bars, that one feels a kind of throbbing vitality entering oneself as one walks the streets by night. But what a waste of energy, when the world is fast losing its sources of energies; and is isn’t this a kind of artificial vitality, that fades away when one wakes-up in the morning, with a hangover and one has to face the reality of life ? What else ? America’s Nature ? No doubt, the United States boasts some wonderful pieces of nature and Americans have shown us what it means to plant trees and live in a green environment: even Washington is densely wooded. But Nature can also be an illusion here: a highway is never very far from the forest, with its thousands of cars pouring out millions of cubic feet of carbon dioxide, which annihilates natures’ bounty, as the Los Angeles smog amply demonstrates. Besides, America is an unending suburban concrete jungle, with its boring repetition of mega stores, parking lots, and KFC’s. And when you have seen a city, you have seen them all. What else ? The “quality” of American life: barbecue parties, beaches, tattoos, fun and frolic? Yes, except that one out of three American couples divorce within three years, one out of four Americans consults a psychiatrist for depression, bulimia, schizophrenia or plain boredom, and American children regularly indulge in shooting other children, just because they are exposed to so much violence…

 Is this the legacy you want to bequeath to your children, O Indian brothers and sisters, who are longing so much for the American way of life ? For this great brain drain, this bleeding of India’s heart and lungs, which has been going for so long, does not affect only the ordinary middle and upper class “secular” Indian, but also many good Hindus, who put their children in the best US universities and accept the fact that these children will settle in the American way of life and will probably never go back to India. True, their kids get heftier pay checks in the US , better facilities, they escape the Indian bureaucracy, red tape, corruption, slowness… But what are they going to bequeath to their own children in the long run: insecurity, violence, divorce, depression and above all their offspring, unknowingly, will be afflicted by a loss of identity : they will not know, nor feel anymore in themselves, as their grandparents did, this natural space of Indian-ness, which automatically confers certain qualities. What is that Indian-ness ?

 Firstly and foremost: “I accept you; I accept that you may be White or Black, Red or Yellow, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim”. Not only that, “but I am even ready to go and worship in a church or a mosque, besides my temple.” “I accept that my Gods are avatars, incarnations of the Divine, but so is Jesus Christ, and also Buddha and even Mohamed”. This an extraordinary statement and a marvellous instrument towards world peace, at a time when the two great monotheist religions of the world, Islam and Christianity  still say: “there is only one true God in the world – mine- and if you worship any other god, you are an Infidel and a Pagan and it is my right to convert you by any means, or even to kill you”. The 11th September 2001 attacks are nothing but a result of that  dangerous theorem. As a result, Indians adapt easily wherever they go, particularly in the West, as they are very open to western culture. Of course, Indians also go to the other extreme: “not only I accept you, but I am going to become exactly like you – no even Whiter than the White: I am going to denigrate my own culture, spit on my religion, belittle my countrymen”. This is why you come across so often in the US in negative articles on India written by Indians – nay by Hindus. The Gujurat massacres were actually a great opportunity for these Hindu haters, such as Pankaj Mishra, to come out full blast and prove to the world that India is a land of Hindu fundamentalists where nobody is safe, particularly the Muslims “who are regularly victims of pogroms”. P.Mishra conveniently forgot to mention that India is an extraordinary country of freedom, where all persecuted religious minorities in the world have found refuge over the centuries, whether the Jews, the Parsis, the Syrian Christians, or today the Tibetans.

 What else ? “I have inherited from my ancestors the tools to become a better man, whatever my religion, ethnicity and profession: a better Christian, a better Hindu, a better Muslim, carpenter, or CEO, IT engineer, or sailor”. What are these tools ? Hata-yoga, India’s gift to the world, which has been copied and imitated everywhere (although Time magazine did a story on yoga without mentioning the name “India” once). What else ? Meditation, this extraordinary technique of coming back to one’s Self, of settling the mind and the body, which is today practiced by millions around the world – another bequest of India to humanity. Pranayama, the science of respiration, perfected by Indians for three millenniums. “Does the breath have any religion”, asks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living movement, which has spread today in 150 countries ?

 What first generations Indians in the States should ask themselves today is “How can I repay my debt to India” ? After all not only they got a nearly free education in India which was good enough for them to obtain well paid jobs in the US, but did they not also inherit that certain Indian-ness, which has been a great help to adapt to the American way of life? As for second, or third, or even fourth generations Indian Americans, what they should tell themselves is “”what can I do for my country” ? “In what way can I contribute to this great nation which is India, which is so maligned and sidelined in the United States” ? And the first thing they can do is to counteract the highly unfair and biased press coverage which India gets in America by writing to editors, or challenging the shameful coverage of CNN (which depicts  Mr Vajpayee as an old feeble man, but gives hours of live retransmission of the recent Pope’s visit to Canada, when the man, whatever his extraordinary will power,  is a walking mummy compared to Mr Vajpayee), or canvassing their elected representatives.

 Finally, Because of the probable continuing confrontation between Islam and the United States (Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan etc), even though Mr Obama thinks that the problem is nearly over after he killed the elusive Bin Laden, and once he withdraws American troops from Afghanistan, Hindus in the US should evolve a friendly and separate identity. It will not matter that they speak with a perfect Yankee accent and think of themselves as one hundred percent Americans – they will be seen in the streets as “coloured” Asians and could be mistaken as Afghanis or Saudis and targeted like the unfortunate Sikhs recently in New Jersey. For too long, Indian Muslims, Christians and a small minority of ‘secular’ Hindus, have used the bogus South Asian label to isolate genuine Hindus in the US. The only solution for them would be that they start regrouping themselves under an “Hindu American” banner. Not only it will rekindle in them an ancient beautiful and powerful identity, but also grant them a protection, as it will quickly become known that Hindus in the US are upwardly mobile, western friendly and themselves a target of Muslim fundamentalism. How  will it be done? By the force of circumstances, probably, because left to themselves Hindus are too passive and selfish to do anything.

François Gautier

 

THE Hindutva, Sex and Adventures (continuing) CONTROVERSY

The controversy over who wrote Hindutva, Sex and Adventures(Roly Books, New Delhi): Mark Tully, or myself, continues unabated. Critics keep on implying I wrote the book – and Mark Tully did not. Yet, as I have already said, I am a much more ardent – and militant – defender of Hindus than Mark Tully ever was and will ever be. The brand of Hindutva proposed in Hindutva, Sex and Adventures reads rather mild to me. In reality, I think that not only Dharma, the Truth that is behind Hinduism, is the very foundation of Indian civilization, but that if it dies, as it is attacked today from all sides: by Christian conversions, islamization, marxism, westernization & minorytism, it would be a catastrophe for the whole world.

If you read between the lines of most of Mark Tully’s books, you will see that he says – albeit in a diluted manner – that: a) secularism is a colonial left over; b) Hinduism constitutes the genius and the base of Indian civilisation. There is no doubt that Sir Tully is a well liked personality. But Mark was never too bold in his moral stands: see how he is now saying that Hindutva, Sex and Adventures is affecting his reputation. Why should he be ashamed of being a defender of the Hindus? I am not. In fact, I find his establishing a dialogue in the book between Imla, the Indian journalist, who is a diehard secularist (as most Indian journalists are) and Andrew, who gradually realizes that Hindus are a very wonderful – but persecuted people, is a brilliant ploy. It is a pity that every single critic has demolished the Hindutva part of the book, without even bothering to analyse the very important points Tully raises on Kashmir, Ayodhya, Sonia Gandhi, or Islamic terrorism.

Mark Tully may also have wanted to atone for his coverage of South Asia. I remember when we were both reporting on the Valley of Kashmir in the early nineties, that he would always highlight human right abuses on Muslims by the army, but hardly ever spoke about the 400.000 Kashmiri Hindus who were chased out of their ancestral homeland by threats, violence, rapes, torture and murder – and today have become refugees in their own countries. Mark Tully is known for his ‘fair’ reporting, but actually, he and the BBC coined phrases and set standards in reporting on South Asia, which still stand today and harm India’s image. Many of us know that since the mid-eighties Pakistan encouraged, financed, trained and armed Kashmiri separatism. But Mark always made it a point to say: “India accuses Pakistan to foster separatism in Kashmir”; or :”elections are being held in Indian- held Kashmir”; or “Kashmir militants ” have attacked an army post, instead of “terrorists”. All the other foreign journalists, yesterday and today, (except myself and maybe Tiziano Terzani) have followed the BBC’s benchmarks.

 This near colonial attitude towards India has even influenced today’s politicians in the West. For instance, Obama’s present foreign policy of thinking he can fight terror by making a frontline state of the very country which fosters 3/4th of the terror attacks in the world, and of putting the screws on India so that it negotiates with Pakistan, even at the cost of compromising on its sovereignty in Kashmir, is a direct offshoot of the BBC’s reporting in South Asia for 25 years. We also can read between the lines and know that Mr Obama is pressuring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give-up India’s military nuclear programme, leaving her at the mercy of not only Pakistan’s , but also China’s formidable nuclear arsenal.

The irony is that the Indian Government seems to be enamoured of Mark Tully. But if you observe carefully, he was a strong detractor of Indira Gandhi, particularly on Blue Star and during the anti-Sikh riots. Though he praised Rajiv Gandhi in his beginnings, he became a critic of his style of functioning in the later years, specially after the IPKF fiasco. And he has been saying “that the moribund and leaderless Congress party has lashed onto Sonia Gandhi, who is Italian by birth and Roman Catholic by baptism”. (‘Nehru Dynasty’ for the BBC).

The below extract of Hindutva, Sex and Adventures seems to reinforce that statement.

EXTRACT “HINDUTVA SEX AND ADVENTURES”: SONIA GANDHI

 – I am coming to Delhi to cover Sonia Gandhi’s election as President of the Congress party, Imla said. They met at the Taj Mansingh for a cup of tea before walking to 1 Akbar Road, the Congress headquarters. Andrew could see that she was getting more and more snappy and she was actually looking for subjects about which she could disagree with him, sometimes violently, for she definitely possessed a very bad temper.

 They had such a fight about Sonia Gandhi. Andrew had found Sonia Gandhi quite likable when she was just Rajiv Gandhi’s (the pilot) spouse, a loving wife, who had adopted the Indian way of life; a good daughter in law: Indira Gandhi died on her lap on the way to the hospital, after being shot by her Sikh bodyguards; and more than everything, a good mother, who doted on her children and tried all her life to protect them. Andrew suspected she had kept her Italian passport, even after taking the Indian nationality (India does not allow you to hold two passports), but he had met quite a few foreigners in Delhi who also retained their origin passports after having obtained the Indian one. He had toyed himself for some time with the idea of taking the Indian nationality, now that he spoke Hindi quite fluently, but it was too difficult to travel with an Indian passport. He did not mind also her remaining a Christian: after all, he was still one himself. Indeed, one of his Italian journalists friends had prayed with her, along with Rajiv Gandhi, at a mass in Calicut with the bishop officiating – that was her private business. But after her husband was blown to pieces by the LTTE, he observed a drastic change in her: she did not seem to trust anybody anymore, became aloof and suspicious. He watched with dismay how the Congress leaders, some of them men and women of substance, whom he knew personally, applied pressure on her to enter politics for years. He had learnt also, through some well placed friends, that gradually, via the Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi foundations, she started controlling huge amounts of money. He knew also that in India money means political power, as a party needs hundreds of crores of rupees to win a general election. Thus, he thought that in her fortress of Janpath, surrounded twenty-four hours by security, she gradually lost touch with the reality of India.

Andrew, who had met her a few times after Rajiv’s death, thus took discreetly his distances with her, though in typical British fair play, he never made any comments publicly.

 When they reached the Congress headquarters amidst unprecedented security, which Andrew thought was unwarranted, considering there had never been any threats on Sonia Gandhi’s life, there must have been at least a hundred other foreign correspondents awaiting the crowning of Mrs Gandhi. As usual, Sonia made them wait (once when Andrew was covering Sonia’s campaigning in Hospet, Karnataka, she was late by eight hours). She lived literally next door in Janpath, but she finally arrived in a caravan of vehicles, with dozens of security guards running around her car, as if she was the American president. When she got out, most Congressmen bowed down in front of her, while some even touched her feet. Andrew was shocked: he felt that it was debasing for Indians, people of talent and culture to scrape down in front of someone who in the West would be an average person. But most of his colleagues did not seem to find anything wrong in it. As for Imla, she was smiling. Sonia’s election as Congress President was a foregone conclusion, nobody really opposing her. It’s like the crowning of an empress, thought Andrew.

When they were walking back, he had an argument with Imla:

– It would be impossible for a non-Christian, non-English, non-White Hindu woman, to become the supreme ruler behind the scenes in England, he said. Don’t you find this a little humiliating?

– Not at all. It’s because you don’t understand us, she retorted, we accept the others, not like you Britishers.

He tried to remain cool:

 – But this goes to extremes, Imla: there are a billion Indians, many talented; can’t you find one of your own to lead this country ?

 This time she was getting angry:

 – She is one of our own, ok? She has an Indian passport, she wears a sari, she speaks Hindi and she has India at heart. Not like some of your Hindutva fanatics, she threw at him.

 – You know I am not Hindutva, he replied, hurt

 – Oh yes, you are… Your sympathy goes to them now. That’s why you hate Sonia Gandhi.

– But I don’t hate her my dear, I just think that she wields too much power, being just an elected MP like hundreds of others…

But Imla had already stormed away and hailed a rickshaw to go back to her aunt….

LA NOUVELLE STRATEGIE D’OBAMA POUR LE PAKISTAN ET L’AFGANISTAN

LA NOUVELLE STRATEGIE D’OBAMA POUR LE PAKISTAN ET L’AFGANISTAN
Par François Gautier, ancien correspondant du Figaro en Asie du sud, rédacteur en chef de la Nouvelle Revue de l’Inde (Editions l’Harmattan)
Comme le président Obama vient de l’affirmer, la nouvelle stratégie des États-Unis pour l’Afghanistan et le Pakistan « ciblera le démantèlement des réseaux terroristes et emploiera à cette fin un vaste éventail de moyens, allant de l’amélioration des capacités des forces de sécurité régionales à une nouvelle attention portée à la diplomatie, au développement et à la coopération internationale ».
Mais est-ce vraiment une nouvelle stratégie ? Ses prédécesseurs, de Reagan à Bush, en passant par Clinton, se sont tous appuyés sur le Pakistan et l’Afghanistan pour combattre les Soviétiques dans un premier temps, puis pour neutraliser les Talibans et Al Qaida aujourd’hui. « Nous devons nous assurer que ni l’Afghanistan ni le Pakistan ne servent d’abris sûrs à Al-Qaïda », a justement dit M. Obama le 29 mars. Le président a qualifié le nouveau plan de « stratégie d’ensemble qui compte non seulement sur des fusils et des bombes, mais aussi sur des agronomes, des médecins et des ingénieurs pour aider à créer un climat dans lequel les gens reconnaissent qu’ils ont plus à gagner en devenant nos partenaires et ceux de la communauté internationale qu’en adhérant à certaines de ces idéologies extrémistes ». Pour ce faire, M. Obama souhaite une présence civile plus vaste en Afghanistan et a demandé au congrès américain d’adopter une proposition de loi autorisant une aide directe au Pakistan de 7,5 milliards de dollars sur 5 ans. Ces fonds serviraient à construire des écoles, des routes et des hôpitaux de même qu’à renforcer la démocratie pakistanaise. Rappelons qu’entre 1952 and 2008, Islamabad a reçu plus de 73 milliards de $ en aide étrangère, selon le Pakistan’s Economic Survey. Mais depuis les attentats de Mumbai de novembre dernier la somme totale reçue par le Pakistan est de 23.3 milliards de $ ! Ceci n’inclue pas l’aide chinoise dont one ne connaît pas le montant exact.

Les intentions sont louables. Mais le gouvernement indien n’est pas convaincu : « Depuis Ronald Reagan, une grande partie des armes données par les Américains aux Pakistanais se sont retournées contre nous au Cachemire, puis plus tard ont servi à commettre des attentats en Inde, dont ceux de Mumbai de novembre dernier », commente un officiel indien qui préfère garder l’anonymat. Pourtant le gouvernement indien sait que ce nouveau plan en Asie du sud résulte de consultations étroites pendant plusieurs mois du gouvernement américain avec des responsables afghans et pakistanais ainsi qu’avec les alliés des États-Unis au sein de la Force internationale d’assistance à la sécurité à laquelle participent 41 pays en Afghanistan sous le commandement de l’OTAN.
New Delhi a également noté que M. Obama avait déjà ordonné le déploiement en renfort de 17.000 soldats et marines pour appuyer la mission de maintien de la paix sous mandat onusien à l’approche des élections afghanes prévues pour août. Le nouveau plan des États-Unis préconise l’envoi de 4.000 soldats supplémentaires, dont la tâche sera de renforcer les progrès accomplis dans la formation des forces de sécurité afghanes afin qu’elles puissent protéger leur pays. Ceci ne gêne en aucune manière New Delhi, qui souhaite également « renforcer la démocratie en Afghanistan », mais le gouvernement indien s’inquiète de l’aide financière et des armes qui vont être fournies à Islamabad par M. Obama.
« Un élément central de notre stratégie est de fournir de l’entraînement à l’armée nationale afghane pour qu’elle puisse jouer un rôle capital et c’est l’une des quelques réussites dont nous avons été témoins au cours des dernières années. En effet, l’armée nationale afghane a beaucoup de crédibilité. Ses soldats sont des combattants efficaces. Nous devons renforcer cela», a précisé M. Obama. «. » Ceci laisse crédule de nombreux observateurs indiens : « Dès que les Américains s’en iront, l’Afghanistan, pour qui se battre est un passe-temps national, retombera dans l’anarchie – et c’est nous voisins indiens qui en souffriront, s’exclame Sabeer Narendra un journaliste de Delhi.
Le plan d’Obama met également en lumière la nécessité d’appuyer le Pakistan dans sa lutte contre les extrémistes, un point ponctué par l’attentat suicide contre une mosquée qui a fait plus de 50 morts, le 27 mars, dans le nord-ouest du pays, et par une attaque terroriste contre une école de police de Lahore, le 30 mars. Mais les Indiens font valoir que non seulement les Pakistanais s’entretuent, mais que depuis vingt ans ils exportent le terrorisme : « tous les grands attentats islamiques, que ce soient ceux de Bombay ou de New York, ont chacun une connexion pakistanaise », souligne Narendra.
« L’un des points de plus en plus préoccupants de ces dernières années est la notion, je pense, chez le Pakistanais ordinaire qu’il s’agit d’une façon ou d’une autre d’une guerre qui concerne les États-Unis mais ne le concerne pas », a indiqué M. Obama. « Cette attitude, je pense, a entraîné au Pakistan une recrudescence graduelle de l’extrémisme qui constitue la menace la plus importante contre la stabilité de son gouvernement, et en fin de compte, la menace la plus importante contre le peuple pakistanais. » Les Indiens ont une opinion bien différente : « l’attitude des gouvernements pakistanais successifs depuis le général Zia, a toujours été ambivalente, car d’une main ils prétendent soutenir la lutte contre le terrorisme et de l’autre ils accordent licence aux services secrets de l’armée pakistanaise (ISI) d’armer de financer et d’entraîner certains groupes islamistes tels le Lashkar-e-Taiba ».
« Ce que nous voulons faire, c’est dire au peuple pakistanais : vous êtes nos amis. Vous êtes nos alliés. Nous allons vous donner les outils nécessaires pour vaincre Al-Qaïda et éliminer les zones de refuge des extrémistes. Mais nous nous attendons aussi à une certaine responsabilité de votre part, et à ce que vous deveniez conscients de la gravité et de la nature de cette menace », a plaidé Obama.
« Bush a tenu le même discours au Pakistan après les attentats du World Trade Center, sourit Narendra. Mais on ne combat pas le terrorisme en soutenant une des fontaines principales du terrorisme . M. Obama est un homme éclairé, mais il succombe, comme de nombreux leaders occidentaux, au chantage nucléaire du Pakistan, qui menace toujours d’utiliser ses armes atomiques contre l’Inde. C’est pourquoi même le président français Nicolas Sarkozy pousse l’Inde et le Pakistan à la négociation et éventuellement à un accord sur le Cachemire, qui verrait l’Inde faire de nombreuses concessions. Mais comment, conclue-t-il, ces deux présidents ne peuvent-ils pas voir que contrairement au Pakistan, petit pays islamiste toujours au bord de l’implosion, l’Inde, une nation démocratique, libérale, pro-occidentale, est leur meilleur allié dans la guerre contre le terrorisme ? »

fgautier26@gmail.com
francoisgautier.com

A Lire : Un Autre Regard sur l’Inde (Editions du Tricorne, 1999), François Gautier.
La Caravane intérieure, par François Gautier (Les Belles Lettres, 2005)
Les Français en Inde (France Loisirs, 2008), par le même auteur.