François Gautier

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Francois Gautier
Born 1950 (age 64–65)
Paris, France
Occupation Journalist, historian and columnist
Spouse Namrita Bindra Gautier
Website
www.francoisgautier.me

François Gautier (born 1950) is a French political writer and journalist based in India, since 1971. He has served as the South Asian correspondent of Le Figaro newspaper.[1]

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Francois Gautier was born in 1950 in Paris.[2][3] He was given an upper-class Catholic education. Gautier has said he had problems fitting in and he was expelled from several European boarding schools he was sent to.[1] He attended IDRAC business school in Paris before dropping out to become a writer. He worked in a small newspaper before it was shut down. He then wrote a film script for a friend, but the film was not released.[1]

Gautier came to India at the age of 19 in 1969. He was part of the first wave which came to establish the city of Auroville. He initially did not intend to stay in India for long and intended to travel the world. However, he met Mirra Alfassa and was influenced by her. He spent 7 years in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, after that.[1][4]

Personal life[edit]

François Gautier is married to Namrita Bindra Gautier, whose mother was a Hindu and father was a Sikh. Gautier primarily resides in Auroville in India, and visits his family in France annually.[1]

Career[edit]

Journalism[edit]

In India, he stopped writing for a while and focussed on other activities like meditation and gardening. In 1982, he found an article in a French newspaper, which he considered to be full of clichés. He wrote a letter to the editor suggesting corrections. The editor replied back asking him to write an article. He wrote several more articles for the newspaper. Later, he worked as a writer and photographer for various publications.[1]

He then worked for Journal de Geneve, a Geneva-based newspaper. Then he switched to Le Figaro in mid-90s and began to write for them exculsively.[1] Gautier used tp write a regular column for Rediff.com.[5] Gautiers has also written columns for The New Indian Express,[6] DNA India,[7] Outlook India,[8] and others. Gautier is also the editor of La Revue de l'Inde.[9]

Writing[edit]

Gautier become interested in Indology when he began to travel outside Auroville. Sita Ram Goel contacted Gautier after reading some of his articles in a magazine called Blitz. Goel asked for permission to reprint the articles in a book. Gautier instead wrote the book The Wonder That Is India. Later, the website Hinduism Today republished it online. Following this, Gautier wrote several other books. Gautier has worked on a book about the martial art Kalaripayattu with photographer Raghu Rai.[1]

In 2010, an anonymously authored novel titled Hindutva, Sex and Adventure featuring a foreign radio journalist who came to India and became a Hindutva sympathizer, was released. The book's protagonist was considered a thinly veiled parody of BBC reporter Mark Tully. Initially it was speculated that Gautier may have been the author, but Gautier denied the allegation.[10]

Photography and painting exhibitions[edit]

Gautier is also the founder of an organisation called "Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism" (FACT). The organisation organises photography and painting exhibitions highlighting various issues related to terrorism. The organisation's aim is to education people on terrorism and how it affects people living in the region.[11][12][13]

In 2003, Gautier started a photograph exhibition titled Terror Unleashed: An Exhibition on Kashmir. It contained photographs highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. The exhibition also contained statistics on terrorist attacks on Kashmiris.[12][14]

Gautier has produced a photo exhibition titled A Glimpse of a Tragedy Without an End, covering the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits since 1990. It has been displayed in various places around the world including Houston in 2005.[15]

In 2007, Gautier started a painting exhibition called Aurangzeb, as he was, according to Moghul Records. Using the organisation FACT, Gautier aims to display the exhibition at several places around the world.[13]

In 2012, the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History and a temple dedicated to Bhavani Bharat, both established by Gautier's FACT organisation, were inaugurated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ajit Pawar and Nitin Gadkari.[16]

In 2013, during the visit of the Dalai Lama, Gautier and his wife, organised an exhibition on the origin of Buddhism in India and its spread to Tibet at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, Lohegaon, with the help of materials from the Tibet Museum of Dharamshala. The aim of the exhibition was to educate the local people about Tibetan culture.[17]

Views and opinions[edit]

On Indian history[edit]

Gautier has criticised the book The Wonder That was India by Arthur Llewellyn Basham. He has said the book propagated clichés like the caste system, Aryans, and Dravidans. He has called Basham the "founding father of racism". He has said that the book led to later claims of Hindu imperialism.[1]

Gautier is a supporter of Koenraad Elst. He considers Elst one of the most knowledgeable scholars on India. Gautier has said that Elst as an outsider sees things about India, which Indians cannot see due to two centuries of colonialism.[1]

On Indian politics[edit]

Gautier has criticised Gandhi's policy toward Muslim separatists during the partition of India calling it appeasement. He has also criticised Nehru's policy of pacifism towards China.[4]

Gautier had criticised the United Progressive Alliance government in 2012. He had criticised the lack of government's response in view of terrorist attacks on India. He had claimed that the Muslim mullahs were allowed preach freely, whereas Hindu gurus were being targeted by the media and police. He had criticised the government's attempt to have a census of Muslims in the Indian military and attempt to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.[7]

In 2011, Gautier attributed Anna Hazare's success in drawing a large number of supporters in his anti-corruption campaign partly to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Gautier said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had supported the Jan Lokpal Bill and had promoted it through his Art of Living network.[18]

On Indian journalism[edit]

Gautier has said that Indian journalists have a negative view of India and are not proud of their culture. He has criticised the media's usage of the term "Godman" to describe Hindu gurus. Gautier has backed Sri Sri Center for Media Studies, a journalism school in Bangalore, to reticfy this situation. Gautier also teaches at the institution.[19][20]

On religion[edit]

Gautier is a strong supporter of Hinduism. He said that ancient wisdom regarding questions like meaning of life, afterlife, karma and dharma have been perserved in Hinduism. He believes Hinduism is under threat from Islam, Christian missionaries, Marxism and westernisation[21] Gautier has written that the Buddhist philosophy of ahimsa weakened India and made it vulnerable to the attacks of Alexander and other later invaders.[22]

Awards[edit]

  • 2003 Panchjanya's Nachiketa Awards: The Bipin Chandra Pal Award, named after the historical figure Bipin Chandra Pal, was given to Gautier.[23] He donated the money to FACT.[4]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Rediff Interview: Francois Gautier: "There is an unconscious militant dislike of the Christian world towards Hindu India"". Rediff. 12 February 1999. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Mohit Sharma (Trendster) (8 December 2014). The Aryanist Journal # 02. Freelance Talents. p. 28. GGKEY:8R5Q1QWNG60. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^ François Gautier (2001). A Western Journalist on India: The Ferengi's Columns. Har-Anand Publications. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-81-241-0795-9. 
  4. ^ a b c "Meet the author "Content-wise, Indian fiction writers have little to offer"". Tribune India. 10 August 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rediff Columns: Francois Gautier". Rediff. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Let all Hindus come together". The New Indian Express. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "This govt is taking the country down with it". DNA India. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Hindu Rate Of Wrath". Outlook India. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "‘Sethu Samudram canal will affect Kerala coast’". The Hindu. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "An Irritant Foreign Body". The Indian Express. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Grim portraits of damage in the Valley". The Hindu. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Nascent 'Holocaust' museum". The Hindu. 3 September 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Looking back at history". The Hindu. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Art for a cause! Whose?". The Hindu. 21 July 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Over 15,000 visit Kashmiri Pandits exhibit in Houston". The Indian Express. 29 August 2005. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Why a Frenchman built a Bhavani & Shivaji museum". DNA India. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Tracing Tibet". The Indian Express. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Francois Gautier: The other factor behind Anna Hazare’s success". DNA India. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "From Francois Gautier". Asian Correspondent. 21 August 2005. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "Why the cynicism about Indian gurus?". Rediff. 12 March 2001. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Why I Love To Hate Outlook". Outlook India. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "In defence of the ancient culture". The Hindu. 7 November 2000. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Adhere to the truth, PM tells media". The Hindu. 11 May 2003. 
  24. ^ a b c "History And Politics". Har Anand Publications. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  25. ^ "Also Published". Har Anand Publications. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 

External links[edit]