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My name is François Gautier. I’m a Frenchman, catholic born and raised. I’m a supporter of Hindutva.
~ François Gautier
What is Hindutva? It could be said it is the political idealism of the Hindus, one of the most tolerant and persecuted people in the world. I defend Hindus as a writer and a journalist, because behind Hinduism there is an eternal spirituality that is universal in nature: vasudhaiva kutumbhakam, “the world is one family”. Today, when the planet’s two largest monotheist religions still believe that their God is the only true one, and that it is their duty to convert humanity to this true God, either by coercion or financial bait, Hinduism, has from time immemorial, believed that the Divine, He or She, manifests at different times, with different names, and different scriptures. Thus, a Hindu is capable of entering a mosque, a church, or a Gurudwara, without thinking that he or she is committing a sin. The reverse is not true.
This is why every persecuted religious minority in the world found refuge in India: from the Christian Syrians, the first Christian community that fled Arabia, to the Armenians running away from the Turkish genocide, the Parsis butted out from Iran, the Jews who found in India the only country in the world where they were not persecuted, to the Tibetans today, who have recreated a mini Tibet in India around their leader, the Dalai Lama, after fleeing the persecution of the Chinese.
I, as a white man, a journalist, a foreigner, have always experienced total freedom in India: I have never been mugged, as it can happen to you in the suburbs of Washington, my papers have never been asked in the street by policemen, as it can occur to the non-Caucasian in the metro in Paris, and I have been able to write freely, even criticising the government.
Thus, it breaks my heart and makes me angry when I see conferences such as the one that just happened in the United States, comparing Hindutva to Nazism, Narendra Modi, the democratically elected Prime Minister of India, to Hitler, or Hindu organisations to the Taliban. There is absolutely no comparison: anybody who lives in India can vouch for it. The fact that this conference was timed to happen on the anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks of 2001 is also absolutely scandalous.
The problem rests with Indology. The British, led by Mortimer Wheeler, created an Indology system whereby they took some interest in the ancient civilisation of India: Sanskrit, archaeological ruins in Harappa, temples, etc., but always keeping in mind that their Christian civilisation was superior. Indeed, Max Muller, one of the most famous Indologists, after whom countless streets are named in India, wrote a letter to his wife saying more or less that “Jesus Christ is the only true divinity, and Hindus remain heathens”. Today’s modern Indologists follow the same precept, and consciously or unconsciously still believe that Indians are an inferior race.
I have lived in this country for 40 years, and travelled extensively from the extreme South of India to the Chinese border in Arunachal Pradesh, and I have NEVER found a people who are so friendly, open, and tolerant. It is my belief that not only India will become the spiritual leader of the world, as Swami Vivekananda or Sri Aurobindo predicted, but that it will also become an economic, political, military, and geopolitical superpower, a friend and ally of the West and the democratic world, because contrary to China, it kept its spirituality alive, thanks to the people that are called the Hindus.
As it was revealed to the great Sage Sri Aurobindo : “And it is the truth of the Hindu religion. It is this religion that I am raising up before the world, it is this that I have perfected and developed through the rishis, saints and avatars, and now it is going forth to do my work among the nations. I am raising up this nation to send forth my word. This is the Sanatana Dharma, this is the eternal religion which you did not really know before, but which I have now revealed to you.”
Thus, you can call me a soldier of Hindutva – if you wish.
Author François Gautier is a Journalist, Writer of History Books, Founder of FACT (Foundation for Advancement of Cultural Ties) and Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, Pune.