New Delhi: French writer, journalist and noted Indophile, Francois Gautier, believes in "reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh". "Whether it will happen violently or naturally, I don't know", he adds.
Sixtysix-year-old Gautier, who has made India his home since 1971, seconded the views of BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh by pointing out that even Sri Aurobindo and The Mother of Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo Ashram had wanted the same.
Gautier says, "Indians have become clones because they do not take pride in their rich ancient culture and traditions".
In an exclusive conversation with indiatvnews.com, Gautier opened up on his journey from France to India, on his image as a ‘defender of Hindus', on Islam and the theory of clash of civilisations and India-Pakistan relations.
Interestingly, Gautier holds Mark Tully of BBC responsible for creating a bias in Western media against India in general, and Kashmiri Pandits in particular. He blames Tully of deliberately using the word ‘gunmen' and not ‘terrorists' for those who perpetrated violence in Kashmir, which the Western media is still following.
Here goes the full text of the interview:
Journey from a Catholic Family in France to India
I had a normal upper class education in Paris, France. My family was catholic. I also went to a school in London for some time. But I was searching for something and I was unsatisfied with my education. It just happened that in 1969, my best friend's father was Governor of Pondicherry.
There was a caravan of 5 cars driving from Paris to Pondicherry and I thought it would be a good way to experience life and know the world. From India, I planned to go to South East Asia, Japan, America and come back after a year. This is why I drove from Paris to Delhi.
When I came to Delhi, I stayed in Sri Aurobindo Ashram on Aurobindo Marg. There I had a very strong experience that India was my country and destiny had taken me to a place that was a ‘country of my heart'. So, I stayed in India and did not proceed further. I stayed in Pondicherry for 7 years.
The Mother of Pondicherry (Sri Aurobindo's companion who was French by birth) was still alive then and I met her twice. It was a turning point in my life actually.
I also read Sri Aurobindo who was not only a Yogi but a great poet, a great philosopher and also a nationalist. Not many people remember today that Sri Aurobindo was an intense nationalist in the spirit of Srimad Bhagwad Gita. He wanted the British to leave India and contrary to Gandhi, he believed that it should be achieved by force, if necessary. Sri Aurobindo was imprisoned twice by the British who thought he was the most dangerous man in nationalist India. So, that part of Sri Aurobindo influenced me a lot.
He was also a great defender of Hindus. He thought that the word ‘Hindu' was a misnomer and that it is actually the spirituality that stands behind and props up Hinduism, that ancient knowledge which is universal in nature.
When The Mother died in 1973, I did not know what to do as I was totally lost. Since I had done a little bit of local journalism in France before I came to India, I started freelancing. I did some photo feature in the South as I was based in Pondicherry. Slowly, I became the political correspondent for the then most important Swiss newspaper and subsequently for Le Figaro, the French political newspaper. That's how I became a journalist.
Defender of Hindu culture
Of course, I'm known as a defender of Hindus. There are not many foreign journalists who defend Hindus, at least I don't know anybody.
I defend Hindus not because of Hinduism but because I believe, as Sri Aurobindo said very clearly, that this ancient knowledge that some people call dharma, some people call Hinduism is very precious because it's the only one left in the world where people can understand who they are, where they come from, what happens when you die, what happens when you are reborn, what is karma, what is dharma etc. This knowledge is lost in the world. It's there only in India.
This knowledge is under attack from all sides, not only from Marxists, Islamic state and Christian conversions but also from westernisation.
Islam and Clash of civilisations
I remember even Murali Manohar Joshi, who I used to defend in those days, kept saying that there was nothing like clash of civilisations. But there is one between Islam and the civilised, democratic or free world of which India is a part. It's very much there. People don't want to see it. They keep blinking and say there is no clash of civilisations and it's only a minority, but there is a war going on.
It's true that it's a minority that is violent in Islam. But the problem is not with the people of Islam. Muslims are as good as anybody else in the world. If you meet Muslims in India, so many of them are wonderful people, they offer wonderful hospitality, many of them are very refined.
The problem is not with the Muslim people but it is with their scriptures which were written 1500 years ago and never adapted to modern times. Even the Christians, somehow, have adapted to modern times. The Pope accepts that Buddhism is more politically correct than Christianity or Hinduism. More and more Christians are opening to the world. There is a need to adapt to 21st century but Islam has not.
When the scriptures of Islam, including the Holy Quran, were written, it was OK in those times because the mentality was different, humanity was different. It was OK in those times to behead people, to wage war against infidels but it's totally inappropriate today. That battle is happening now. People don't want to see it. They are crazy. The conflict is not with the armed terrorists only, it is also with those Muslims who believe that the Holy Quran is the ultimate truth and that Islam is the only true religion. That is the problem. Islam does not want to change.