Indian history should be rewritten: French scribe

Interacting with a senior journalist is always rewarding and exciting. More so when India-based French journalist Francois Gautier describes the ancient glory of India with conviction, writes Nava Thakuria

Francois Gautier, an India-based French journalist, while speaking to a group of scribes at  Guwahati Press Club through video-conferencing recently, had revealed that most of the Indian schools and universities still teach western concepts and thus produce some export worthy youths in western countries. So the greatest brain drain in the world can be seen among the Hindus, who leave their country to enrich research centers, academic faculties, medical & engineering groups all over the world, particularly in the US, Canada, and UK. Most Indians go abroad and eventually settle down there and finally, their successors are lost forever for their country of origin.

Otherwise, Hindus are descendants of an ancient civilization in human history and Hinduism is the only religion that accepts and respects all the other religious faiths, but there are many western journalists and correspondents who are still biased against India. The author of several books on India asserted that the western media should at least respect the country with a wiser past and still gives birth to humans with wonderful qualities.

“But most of the western correspondents posted in New Delhi take little notice about the uniqueness of India as they manage to see only the poverty and problems faced by the vast country. They hardly pay respect to the billion-plus nation even after 70 years of its independence. In a real sense, they are expected to report honestly about India so that their readers, many of whom are ignorant about the great nation, get enlightened,” said Gautier.

Himself a regular contributor to various international publications including few from France, Gautier argued that the foreign correspondents are normally assigned for four to five years in India and that is not enough for understanding a country which is so vast, diverse and also contradictory. More precisely, Delhi is very far from southern or eastern India.

Shockingly, the Indian journalists who regularly write for western media outlets normally follow the guidelines of their editors and very often they won’t hesitate to paint a negative image of their own country, exclaimed Gautier. However, he feels that the alternate media has provided space for many Indians, including qualified journalists, to speak on various issues they deem fit for exposures.

“India is never in the news in the West unless there is some major catastrophe or huge elections. Thus, if anyone wants to write for those publications, he or she has to find stories that might often border on the sensational, marginal and even misleading,” commented the outspoken journalist, who was born and brought up in Paris and now living in India for decades.

“As a Frenchman, I was brought up to be proud of Voltaire, Napoleon, Victor Hugo, or Charlemagne. India has many great heroes, poets, authors, warriors, etc. If France had one Jeanne d’Arc, this country gave birth to dozens like Rani of Jhansi, Ahiliabai, Chennama, Rani Abbakka, Rani Rudramma, Rani Velu Nachiyar, etc. The British have Shakespeare, but Kalidas is one of the greatest poets ever on par with Homer,” stated Gautier.

In warfare, the French have Napoleon and here in Maharashtra Shivaji Maharaj could be a hero for modern India. Not just because he was a great fighter with extraordinary courage, but Shivaji was also an able administrator maintaining respects to human rights. Dedicated to Mother India, Shivaji was secular in nature, in spite of being an ardent Hindu, and never harmed the wives or daughters of his enemies.

Fascinating with the life of Shivaji, Gautier has committed to a resourceful museum of Indian history in Pune, the birthplace of Maratha hero. The museum is expected to exhibit objects from the Vedas to tomorrow’s India. Visitors coming to the museum can learn many unexplained things about Indian history. The unique Hindu concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam should be explored as it can only save the human race, convinced Gautier explained.

Speaking about Hindu tolerance, Gautier opined that it has been one-way traffic for the Hindus as they experienced cruel genocides in the sad history of humanity. But Hindus have shown extreme tolerance and Hinduism is the only religion that never tried to convert others.

However many Indian intellectuals claim that Hindus are intolerant, fanatic or fundamentalists. Gautier took references from Kashmir pointing out that it was primarily the Muslims who wanted independence. But violence against the Hindus of Kashmir (called Kashmiri Pandits) was also propagated by them. They were chased out by violence and Gautier witnessed the massacre as he was there for media coverage in the early Nineties.

Nearly 4,00,000 Hindus fled the Kashmir valley because of relentless violence targeting them. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a great admirer of English socialism and he adopted British constitutional, judicial and even education systems without considering the exceptional Indian socio-cultural and traditional values. Nehru had to nurture the sentient of a sizable Muslim population that did not join Pakistan (west or east) and continued to live in India.

“For these reasons, Nehru asked historians to show esteem to Muslim rulers like Akbar or Aurangzeb and ignore the greatness of Hindu warriors like Chatrapati Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Rani Lakshmibai etc knowing that Hindus would not react not to speak of protesting,” commented the contributor to Journal de Geneve, Le Figaro, La Revue de l’Inde along with various Indian newspapers.

Hence Gautier believes that Indian history should be rewritten and he has reasons to explain. For over seven decades, the Indian establishment comprising people from Nehruvian-Marxist and pseudo-secular ideology used to influence everything from school curriculum to public policy to history writing. The Indian education system today produces a hundred thousand brilliant students, but they are not made to learn about their own history, works of literature, legends, etc. It has built up a false narrative that systematically condemned India’s civilizational journey. Since the overwhelming majority of the people here remain Hindus, the establishment tried its best to turn itself anti-Hindu. It encouraged people to negate anything associated with Hinduism. The tendency extended up to reproving the Vedas, Upanisad, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and also Sanskrit, the mother of all Indian languages.

Bringing the reference to Hebrew, the ancient language of Israel, Gautier pointed out that  Israeli people after getting a part of their holy land in 1948 started welcoming Jews from various parts of the world. As they came back to live in Israel a major problem was aroused because they spoke different languages. The Israeli authority asked their scholars to revive Hebrew, which had fallen in decrepitude so that everybody can speak Hebrew. “Today the Hebrew language has unified Israel like nothing else, which should inspire India to revive Sanskrit. The government should invite some dedicated linguists to sit down with Sanskrit scholars for devising a way of simplifying and modernizing the ancient language. I am sure, it would energize and revitalize the whole Indian culture”, stated the author of India’s Self Denial, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Guru of Joy, A New History of India, A History of India as it Happened etc.

Married to an Indian woman (Namrita Bindra), Gautier also argued that India and Israel share so much in common and both can learn a lot from each other.