In exalting Gandhi, we’ve elbowed Sri Aurobindo into the shadows
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Source: Kashmir Herald
[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
Francois Gautier This is an article meant for my friends, the "fringe Hindus"; those who have either espoused a Marxist outlook, or are, for their own good reasons, strongly anti-Hindutva, or are neutral; as well as for the Muslim and Christian minorities of India. When Jawaharlal Nehru came to power in 1947, he sincerely thought that some of Marx's ideas could be put to use in India and help level the terrible inequalities that existed within between the very rich and the poor, the high castes and the low castes, the mighty and the helpless. The motive was noble but, unfortunately, Indian socialism often made the rich richer and the poor poorer and created a massive, inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy, that any government today in power finds difficult to dismantle. Everywhere in the world, communism and Marxism are defunct - even China has more or less done away with it. However, in India, not only does communism remain alive in West Bengal and Kerala, it also remains firmly entrenched as a powerful idealism in the minds of much of India's intelligentsia. Most of India's English language mediapersons and journalists, many of the writers, historians and thinkers, are sympathetic towards communist thought. Once again, there is nothing wrong with that: Indians show, in a world racked with materialism and cynicism, that they remain idealists, loyal and dedicated to selflessness and seva, as the thousands of Indian NGO's still prove today. Nevertheless, the world is changing, Asia is changing, and even India is changing. We have to live with our times, especially after September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, which radically altered the outlook of most Western nations. What is going to happen in Gujarat on December 12 is equally of paramount importance to the 850 million Hindus in India, the nearly 1 billion Hindus worldwide, and the Christian and Muslim Indian communities, as it might redefine their own outlook. Indeed, if the BJP and Mr Narendra Modi win with a handsome margin, an intense intellectual debate will be triggered in the country. We will hear cries of alarm, disgust or worry on the part of the Western press, the Indian English language Media and the intelligentsia, about "Hindu fanaticism taking over India", or "the terrible direction that the results of this election seem to portend for India". But, once again my "fringe" Hindu brothers and sisters, as well as the Christian and Muslim communities of India, should remind themselves than in the entire Indian history, Hinduism has always shown that it is not fundamentalist, that it accepts the others with their religions and customs as long as they do not try to impose these beliefs on the majority community. Indeed, in a recent report, UNESCO pointed out that out of 128 countries where Jews lived before Israel was created, only one, India, did not persecute them and allowed them to prosper and practice Judaism in peace. Moreover, if under the intense and often bloody onslaught of Muslim invasions and later of European colonialism, such as the Portuguese - which committed untold atrocities in Goa - the Hindus did not lose their peace and tolerance, why should they do so now? Also, Hinduism is probably the only religion in the world which has never tried to convert others, or conquer other countries to propagate itself as a new religion. The same is not true of Islam and Christianity. Thus, it would be good if the "fringe" Hindus and Indian Christian and Muslims do some introspection and look into the real causes of the Gujarat riots which followed the burning of the 58 kar-sevaks on the Sabarmati Express. If Mr Modi wins, instead of accusing the BJP of fanaticism, or even "Nazism", a people which gave to India and to the world Mahatma Gandhi, unique textiles and a solid peaceful culture, it may indeed be time to call a spade a spade and to stop burying one's head in the sand like an ostrich. We see the Gujarat riots through the eyes of the Western press and the Indian Media: "Hindu fundamentalists who went on the rampage", etc. But what if Gujarat was the first sign that good, peaceful, non-violent, middle-class and even lower-class Hindus have had it and that they are tired of being made fun of, attacked, bombed, burnt, killed, their women raped, their temples destroyed? What if, rightly or wrongly, it is the portent of things to come, that the next time innocent Hindu women and children are targeted, Hindus might be tempted to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the way Israel does at the official level? You may argue that it is a hateful, mad and blind violence, but it is also true that Hindus have been at the receiving end of Christians and Muslims attacks for centuries, that even today 400,000 of them have been made to flee from their ancestral homes in the valley of Kashmir. Thus, our bother of sisters of Islam, most of whom are peaceful and good-willing, have also to do a little bit of introspection. Every time there is an attack on a Hindu temple, or a bombing, we accuse Pakistan or the Al Qaeda. But none of these attacks could happen without the active support of groups of Indian Muslims, as the Bombay blasts or Coimbatore bombings have shown. In the same way, our Christian brothers and sisters should think about this: The first community in the world, the Syrian Christians, established themselves in Kerala in the first century and prospered there in peace. At no time did the Hindus of Kerala try to impose their own religious beliefs upon them, either by force or by allurements. Is it right that the Indian Christian community today not only allows, but often actively collaborates with, the foreign missionaries who are bent upon making India a Christian kingdom, and are often using dubious economic incentives to do so? Do not our brothers and sisters think that it is bound to provoke sooner or later some kind of backlash and that the murder of Graham Staines, however reprehensible, may have been a warning to missionaries who convert by devious means, in the same way Gujarat riots were a warning to the Muslims? It may be true that the overwhelming majority of this country, which has often been in minority morally, is waking up and trying to assert itself, sometimes in an excessive and unforgivable manner. Yet, the fringe Hindus and the Indian Muslims and Christians should not worry: India is a composite society and it is a settled fact. Hindus, Christians, Muslims and other minorities have to learn how to live together peacefully. There is no other choice. And it will be done. <http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives1/secon3.asp?cat=\opd1&d=OPED&fdnam=dec 1102>
Courtesy: Daily Pioneer
In most of the cases, it is Indian Muslim terrorists
I have often been accused of being a ‘Right-winger’, a ’saffron journalist’, a ‘Hindu-lover’. Actually I am proud to be a lover of the Hindus — 850 million in India, a billion in the world, one in every six humanbeings on this planet. I am proud to defend people who have always accepted others, who have given refuge to all persecuted minorities in the world, and who still possess knowledge of karma, yoga, avatar and the hidden realities behind life. People who still produce gurus, ashrams, individuals for us to learn from.
What surprises me the most is that there must be around 200 foreign media correspondents posted in India and that I do not know another one who defends Hindus, except maybe Mark Tully, in a roundabout manner.
I am appalled at what is happening at the moment. For, make no mistake, it is not a question of buying MPs to get through a dubious vote of confidence, it is not even a question of the Communists versus the Samajwadi Party, or even so-called secularist forces against the BJP, or the unleashing of terrorism on Indian democracy. It is, in fact, an all out attack on Hindus and their values.
Nobody wants to call a spade a spade, or else, apologists of Islam will say that Islamic fundamentalism happens because of Palestine or Ayodhya or the Gujarat riots. But make no mistake. All these attacks in Jaipur, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are only targeting Hindus; it is an accident if some Muslims also get killed. Why is it then that at the moment India seems to be paralysed into inaction in the face of an all-out war against Indian liberties and values by Islamic terrorists?
One is really shocked and suspicious as to why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appears hell-bent to impose upon the nation a nuclear deal with the US which will neutralise India’s nuclear weapons in the face of the aggressive nuclear weaponisation of China and Pakistan, and negate India’s independence in foreign policy, as well as to bring with it immense Westernisation, not to speak of a huge influx of Christian missionaries. Here again, Hindus will lose.
Most of today’s media, sadly, is anti-Hindu. Nothing symbolises this more than CNN-IBN. This channel has chosen to sit on sting operation tapes that clearly show someone close to a very senior Samajwadi Party leader handing over a crore of rupees to three BJP MPs as inducement for abstaining from the trust vote moved by the Prime Minister. If the tapes had been aired, it would have immediately led to the postponement of the trust vote and the UPA would have ultimately lost confidence motion.
Instead, CNN-IBN decided not to telecast the tapes. It sat on them for 24 hours before handing them over to the Speaker. Is this the role of the media? Can a mainstream television news channel, which is associated with a well-known international television organisation, be so partisan and unethical? And get away with it?
Whenever Hindus are hit, the Government looks the other way. It happened when four lakh Hindus were chased out of the Kashmir Valley and many were killed in terrorist attacks over a period of time — both the Centre and the State Government just kept watching. It happened over the recent Sri Amarnath Shrine Board land transfer issue. How dare Mr Omar Abdullah make a self-righteous yet untruthful speech in Parliament and then complain that he was booed?
And now look at the inertia of the Union Government and the media after the Bangalore blasts followed by the the horrible bombings in Ahmedabad, killing more than 50 innocent people.
Does the UPA think that the common citizen of India is a nitwit and does not understand that the Government of India, by pointing its finger at Pakistan’s ISI, or at some Bangladeshi outfit, is trying to deflect attention from the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or Al Qaeda) help?
It is not only a matter of vote-bank in times of election but also a fact that politicians in India want to keep their citizens blindfolded and pretend that nothing is happening. Does not the Government realise that we have all become cynical to its usual conduct on such occasions. It first condemns ‘in the strongest terms’ the ‘barbarous act’ and appeals for calm and ‘communal harmony’, and then gives a few lakhs each to the families of the dead or injured, so that they shut up, and finally never catches the culprits. And so it goes on till the next terrorist strike.
I am a born Christian, but I marvel at the greatness that is Hinduism and Hindus. Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Manmohan Singh are doing all they can to cut Hindus to size. Unless Hindus wake up now, unless they realise that they are under attack from all sides, one of the greatest civilisations of all times will slowly pass away. That will be a great loss to the world.
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) email@example.com