Tag Archives: Shivaji Maharaj

Islam and the Bhagavad-Gita

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

François Gautier

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A PLEA FOR THE SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF (TRUE) INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

I am a French journalist, correspondent for ten years of the largest French Daily, Le Figaro and the author of a dozen History books on India (latest: A History of India As It Happened, Har Anand, New Delhi). I was witness of the exodus of 3 lakhs Hindus from the valley of Kashmir & it so touched me that I mounted an exhibition on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, which was opened in 2005 in Delhi’s Habitat Center by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Followed a series of exhibitions on the Bangladesh minorities, Aurangzeb as he was according to his own records, Maharana Pratap, Ahiliyabai, etc.

At some point, we had so many exhibitions that the idea came to build a Museum of true Indian History. Sri Sri gave us five acres of land near the Pune airport and the project started in 2013. I have a great admiration for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as he is the Napoleon of India, an incredible man, who with a few hundred men and his wits only, stood his ground against the  then  most powerful army in the world, that of Aurangzeb. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was much more than a warrior: he made laws, built the first Indian navy, was a staunch Hindu, yet donated to Sufi shrines and never harmed the wives and children of his enemies and had a vision of a unified India. Yet, his place in Indian history books is minimal and underrated. Thus we have chosen to honor him in this Museum.

Today we have eight Pavilions, each with a unique permanent exhibition, a Bharat Mata temple dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and a video room. The Museum is open from 9 to 6PM and entrance is free. I am in the process of erecting three new buildings, one for a Portuguese Inquisition exhibition, another for one on Tippu Sultan and one which will have a room with flat TV screens only, each one playing on a loop films, PPT’s, etc.

This is a sewa project as both my wife Namrita and myself continue with our respective jobs, she as a textile designer and myself as a journalist and writer. Thus we depend entirely on donations to move forward. We have a registered trust, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism), which has FCRA, as well as Indian, US & UK tax exemption.

We would like to take the Museum to the next level and our architect, Sheetal Harpale of Pune, has designed a wonderful building in the shape of a swastika, which will cost about seven crores to make and would be on par with any Museum in the world. Thus we appeal to your generosity –  this is a unique project, but extremely diffcult, as History has remained a taboo subject in India, though it has been distorted first by the British and then by Marxist historians for their own purpose.
Corporates are wary of donating to a Museum of Indian History, as they are used to give to health and education, needed areas no doubt, but as Sri Sri said, “no nation can move forward, unless it faces its own history squarely”.

Thank you
Namrita & Francois Gautier

PLEASE VISIT FOR MORE INFO: https://milaap.org/campaigns/ShivajiMaharajMuseum

#BoycottDilwale

In the name of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he who fought the mightiest empire in the world, that of Aurangzeb, with only his wits, his extraordinary courage, his utter devotion to Mother India and a few hundreds courageous Hindus, Boycott Shah Rukh Khan & Aamir Khan.

Please tweet #BoycottDilwale to ten of your friends and ask them to retweet to ten of their friends, so that it starts trending.

Come on, O my Hindu sisters & brothers, wake-up! You have nothing to be ashamed! You belong to the most ancient spirituality, that which sees the World as One Family. You are the most tolerant people in this planet – you can enter a church, a mosque, and a buddhist temple – and still see God there. Yours is the last Knowledge left in the world, which tells you what happens after death, why we are born again and again, what is Consciousness, what is Mind, what is an Avatar, what is Karma, what is Dharma….

Wake-up o my brothers and sisters. You are not lambs anymore, that were slaughtered by the Moghols or General Dyer. You have the numbers – every sixth person on this planet is a Hindu! You have the brains – your children top in every university of the world! You have the power – Hindus now are heads of dome of the biggest multinationals! Yours is also a Consumer’s power that ignores itself. If you boycott Shah Rukh Khan’s and Aamir Khan’s films, they will feel the economic pinch and stop using the word “Intolerance” in the most tolerant country in the world. They will stop abusing a people that gave them hospitality, love, adoration even – to be kicked in the face in return.

Wake up of Hindus, stop being passive, selfish, and fearful. You have had some of the greatest heroes and heroines, from Shivaji Maharaj, to King Deva of Vijatnagar, to the Rani of Jhansi, or Ahilyabai Holkar. Look up to your avatars, Lord Krishna, who fought the battle of Kurukshetra, to Sri Aurobindo, whose basement was used to make bombs to fight the British, to Swami Vivekananda, who showed too that Hinduism is not only about being yogis in Himalayan caves, but also about action in the world, battle against Asuras for the triumph of Truth.

Wake-up of my Hindu sisters and brothers, your time has come. Only your spirituality can save the world from the clash of civilizations, which is going on at the moment. But for that, India needs to come-up, as an industrialized nation, on par with the West and China – but without losing this great Knowledge that some call Hinduism.

Wake-up O Hindus, you are the Light of the World

 Francois Gautier

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

SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

Dear friends, as I mentioned earlier, I am building in Pune a Museum of true Indian History, dedicated to the great Shivaji Maharaj, who was a Vibhuti, and who does not even have a proper status in India’s History books (forget about the West, where he is totally unknown). The Museum whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 41, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. There are now five buildings, each housing a unique exhibitions, such as the one on Aurangzeb, based on his own firmans, or on Maharana Pratap, the only Rajput who actually fought the Moghols and won in Haldighati. Please tell your friends about it. We also have a beautiful temple, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj and Mata Bhavani, where daily aarti happens every morning at 9.30am

This is a noble, but VERY difficult project, for many reasons. One, there is no tradition of private museums in India, as there is in the West. Two, as soon as you touch at Indian history, it becomes very sensitive and tricky; and three, most philanthropists in India donate to education and health care, but recoil as soon as you mention the subject of Indian History.
But this is a Museum for ALL Indians, particularly dedicated to the Knowledge that stands behind Hinduism & which is the foundation of Indian culture and spirituality.

Thus, I need YOUR help. I am building this Museum on a shoestring budget and bills keep pouring in, while donations are very scant.
FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.
Please pass this plea on to your friends

François Gautier

UPDATE SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM, PUNE

Dear friends, As some of you may know, we have completed and inaugurated the 2d phase of the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of India History, Pune, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 28th July. see the film at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dc5x6oDj1g
You can see some of the Media coverage at: http://factindiablog.blogspot.in/
and also Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message: http://factmuseum.blogspot.in/

We have already 5 buildings and have recently installed our latest exhibition: http://dara-shikoh.blogspot.in/

I am about to start a series of exhibitions on the Vedas in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Vedas, under the direction of Dr Kireet Joshi, who was Chairman Council of Philosophical research, Secretary Education Gujarat and is now retired in Pondichery. Would you be able to help? I need appr 5 lakhs per exhibition. Attached is the first page of the brief. We have tax exemption and can honor our big donors by naming one of the buildings after them.. Here are our trust bank account for electronic transfer: Name of account: Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT)
Account No: 04071450000237. IFCS code: HDFC0000407
Bank Address: HDFC Bank Ltd., T S No.6, 100 Feet Road
Ellaipillaichavadi, Pondicherry-605 005. Telephone: 0413 2206044

If you do so, send me a mail at fgautier@rediffmail.com
Best wishes
François Gautier/ Trustee FACT
Trustee FACT

SHIVAJI, A HERO FOR MODERN INDIA

Not for myself I fought and ruled, but for God and the dharma, the religion of Hindu nationality which Ramdas enunciated (Conversations of the Dead, Shivaji & Jaysingh, by Sri Aurobindo)

I had heard about Shivaji for a long time without really knowing him well. There are cities in India where I feel ‘at home’, as if I already knew these places The first time I visited Pune, quite a few years back, I felt good, connected, spiritually alive. Was it my imagination? Nevertheless, I attributed this to Shivaji’s presence in His realm. When I finished the Art of Living course which I had come to conduct outside the city, I had a few hours before catching my plane and I set upon finding a museum about Shivaji, which I was sure was bound to exist in the city where he was born. I asked the driver and he took me to the main museum of Pune, the Raja Kelkar museum. It did look nice from the outside and it had indeed a marvelous collection of Mughal antiques which included paintings, instruments, lamps & different types of nut crackers. But I was astonished to see that there was not a single artifact on Shivaji. It did not make sense, because I had already noticed that Shivaji is a hero to most Maharashtrians whatever their political affiliation. I then explored other Pune museums: there is a Tilak museum, a tribal one, a war museum, but nothing on the great son of the soil who was born 60 kms from Pune.
As I finished my disappointing visit of the KeIkar museum, I felt right here and there that I should do something about honouring Shivaji in His city. But first I had to know him. I then set upon buying all the books that had been published about Shivaji. There came my second surprise: I quickly realized that all the biographies of Shivaji were terribly out dated: the most famous and quoted of all “Shivaji and his Times”, by (Sir) Jadunath Sarkar, was written in 1938! My favourite one, Chhatrapati Shivaji, by Setumadhavrao Pagadi, was published in 1973. It is the most recent of mainstream biographies of Shivaji. Now as Frenchman, I grew up hearing about the greatness of Napoleon who lived 300 years ago. And I do know that there is not a year that passes by, without two or three books on his life, his military victories, his mistresses, or his administration, being published.
How does Shivaji compare with Napoleon? Well, admirably. More than that even, as Shivaji surpasses him in many ways. Napoleon was a unique war strategist; and so was Shivaji. In fact, Chaatrapati fought in even more difficult conditions than Napoleon, as he did not have the might of a national army behind him and had to face the powerful and ruthless Mughal Empire of Aurangzeb. Napoleon was a remarkable administrator who made laws, some of them still in use in France; and so was Shivaji: once he conquered a territory, he made sure that it was well and fairly administered, as we will see later. What Shivaji did better than Napoleon then? Shivaji was secular, he believed in the oneness of all religions, though Hinduism was supreme to him. But furthermore, Shivaji was a Vibhuti, a direct incarnation from God who came to succour and help India at a time of great need, when the cruel and a-dharmic hand of Aurangzeb was poised to devastate the whole of the land and eventually make of the Indian subcontinent Dar al-Islam, the house of Islam.
It is necessary to dispel the impressions created by Indian and western historians who have made of the struggle of Shivaji a fight between Hindus & Muslims and an inter-religious struggle. It was not so: Moghuls in the times of Shivaji were still considered as ‘foreigners’. Thus it was a battle between Indians and invaders. Shivaji used his own integrity during this epic fight and mastered all the arts of wars of his time, so as to be that perfect leader. His courage to challenge the Mughals was unparalleled. He was truly a bhakti: SHIVAJI WORKED FOR THE DIVINE, AS GUIDED BY THE DIVINE
Great men and women who walk this earth and are instruments of God, do most of their work while in their physical body. But when they die, I believe they leave something behind, a presence, a will. This day, when I could not find a house in honor of Shivaji, the idea of a Museum of true Indian History, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj started taking shape in my mind, as our Foundation FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) had already made many exhibitions (see fact-india.com). Pune is the ideal place for this Museum: it’s Shivaji Maharaj’s realm, it is central to India and more than anything, Marathas have a stronger national fiber than in other states and I felt the Museum will be better protected here.
This is a difficult project. Whoever has never attempted to raise money for a Museum should give it a try… I have met hundreds of potential donors, but when I say that I want to build a Museum of true Indian History, it wipes off the smile of their faces and they say they have to consult their board, ha, ha… This is why we are most grateful to those who believed in this project and gave the bulk of the funds and also to the dozens of NRI’s who know me through my writings and trusted me with their donations.
Trying to portray Indian History as it happened, not as it has been written, is also a very sensitive task and at nearly every step, we have encountered obstacles sometimes even from our own people. Yet, Shivaji was an instrument of God and whoever binds him to a particular caste, or even a particular guru, demeans him and hampers his work, for he was a supra-national figure and his qualities of dedication to Mother India, of respect of human rights and honest administration, are needed today. His extraordinary courage in front of adversity, should also be an example to many Hindus, who today, at the slightest threat, go underground.
Please see the photos of what has already been done in the Museum on this link. This is just a humble beginning: we are planning to start the foundations of the main Museum which will house exhibitions from the Vedas to the India of tomorrow. If God, in spite of my shortcomings, gives me the strength, the enthusiasm and the health to do this work, it will be a wonderful and noble project, that will be talked about for generations. But for that we need funds a lot of funds and. I hope all of you will pass along the message to your friends.
The Museum, whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 4, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. Please tell your friends about it. we have daily aarti in the temple in the morning at 9.30am
FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.
Namaste
Namrita & François Gautier/ Trustees FACT