|Born||1950 (age 68–69)|
|Occupation||Journalist, historian and columnist|
|Organization||Foundation for Advancement of Cultural Ties|
|Spouse(s)||Namrita Bindra Gautier|
|Genre||Politics, Hindu Rights, Hindutva|
|Subject||Politics, Hindutva, Indian History|
|Notable works||The Wonder that is India, Un Autre regard sur l'Inde|
|Notable awards||Panchjanya's Nachiketa Awards, Bipin Chandra Pal Award|
François Gautier (born 1950) is a journalist based in India since 1971. He has served as the "South Asian" correspondent for the French-language newspaper Le Figaro. He is also the founder of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History in Pune which is a private museum that houses exhibits on Indian history.
Francois Gautier was born in 1950 in Paris and received an upper-class Catholic education, which he did not like. He was subsequently sent to reputed boarding schools across Europe, from where he was expelled several times. He attended the IDRAC business school in Paris before dropping out to work in a small newspaper.
Gautier came to India at the age of 19 in 1969, as part of a trans-world journey, along with the first wave of Auroville-migrants. He was accompanied by the son of Charles François Marie Baron, Pondicherry's last French governor. Deeply impressed with Sri Aurobindo's writings, he chose to reside over Sri Aurobindo Ashram where his encounters with Mirra Alfassa influenced him to further prolong his stay. Gautier went on to stay over there for about seven years.
After arriving in India, Gautier stopped writing for many years and focused on other activities. In 1982, he found an article in a French newspaper, that supposedly contained clichés about the Indian socio-polity. He wrote a letter to the editor suggesting corrections, wherein he was offered to write an article. He wrote several more articles for the newspaper and went on to work as a writer and photographer for other publications.
He served as the South-Asia correspondent of Journal de Geneve, a Geneva-based newspaper before switching to the same post at Le Figaro in 1993. He stayed over there for about 8 years before shifting to Ouest-France and then, La Chaîne Info.
Gautier used to write a regular column for Rediff.com. Gautiers has also written columns for The New Indian Express, DNA India, Outlook India, and others. He is also the editor of La Revue de l'Inde.
Gautier became 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 and asked for permission to reprint the articles in his 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 of South India with photographer Raghu Rai.
In 2010, an anonymously authored novel titled Hindutva, Sex and Adventure was published that featured a foreign radio journalist who came to India and became a Hindutva sympathizer—it was considered to be a satire of BBC reporter Mark Tully. It was speculated that Gautier may have been the author, but he denied the allegation.
Photography and painting exhibitions
Gautier has established the Foundation for Advancement of Cultural Ties (FACT), a NGO dedicated to portraying Indian history in a correct manner.
It has organised multiple painting exhibitions across the country to highlight a range of events from how the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir has affected the life of local (esp. Hindus) inhabitants in an adverse manner and resulted in the mass-exodus of Kashmiri Pandits to depicting the cruelties of Mughal emperors. Gautier planned to take his museums to the U.N. headquarters in New York, the U.N. Human Rights Commission headquarters in Geneva et cetera and aware the foreign community about the systemic extermination of Hindus. He eventually planned for a diversification of the themes and then, establish a museum for the similar to those established for the Jew cause. The exhibitions have received mixed response and the underlying motives have been questioned.
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. In 2013, during the visit of the 14th 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 Dharamsala. The aim of the exhibition was to educate the local people about Tibetan culture.
Views and opinions
Gautier abides by a Hinducentric scholarship and has criticized the narrative of Indian historiography to be leftist which have glorified foreign invaders at the cost of the Hindu empires and urges for a revisionism. He rejects the western oriental scholarship of Max Müller, Arthur Llewellyn Basham as ill-portrayals of the history of the nation which birthed the theory of Hindu imperialism. A front-line Hindutva activist who deems Hinduism to be under threat from Islam, Christian missionaries, Marxism and westernisation, he had called for use-of-force by the Hindus and opines of the Buddhist-Jain philosophies of Ahimsa to have enabled exploitation of India by foreign invaders.
He accepts the Indigenous Aryan hypothesis in favor of the Indo-Aryan migration theory and hypothesizes that Jesus Christ had come to India, to be inspired by Hindu and Buddhist esoterism. One of his most prominent views is about the existence of a Hindu Holocaust, perpetrated by Islamic invaders which (supposedly) exceeded the extents of the Jew Holocaust and all other genocides. He also considers Koenraad Elst as one of the most knowledgeable scholars on India and regretted of his' being unable to publish except from Hindu-oriented publishing houses.
Gautier has criticized the United Progressive Alliance government (2009-2014) and claimed that terrorism continued unabated whilst Muslim mullahs were allowed to preach freely and Hindu gurus were being targeted by the media and police. He has earlier criticized the usage of the term "Godman" by Indian media to describe self-proclaimed Hindu gurus proposing that Indian journalists often were not proud of their culture and had called for imparting a more fairer treatment.
He was subject to severe criticism after having objected to the proposed induction of Aamir Khan, a Muslim Bollywood actor over a planned dramatization of Mahabharata, a Hindu epic. He had earlier asked for the boycott of PK, a Bollywood film starring the same actor, due to its depiction of a Hindu-Muslim love affair and accused Ashoka University of teaching an anti-Hindu anti-Brahmin book.
In 2017, Gautier claimed over a blog at The Times of India to have come across a hitherto-hidden manuscript of Nostradamus in a trunk, that (successfully) prophesied the statesmanship of Narendra Modi. The claims were reported across multiple news-outlets. Earlier he had asserted of Nostradamus to have established the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an Indian Hindu nationalist organisation. Other claims included that Nostradamus had successfully prophesied the chances of a possible nuclear war between India and Pakistan, the construction of Ram Mandir and the Hindu domination of world affairs after 2014. Subsequent investigations determined Gautier to have tampered with the original passages for fulfilling his political agenda. At one case, he used the same passage over his blogs across the course of a few years but changed the name of the subjects to keep up with the political currents. Gautier has been documented to have propagated fake news over other occasions.
- 2003 Panchjanya's Nachiketa Awards: The Bipin Chandra Pal Award, named after the historical figure Bipin Chandra Pal, was given to Gautier. He donated the money to FACT.
- The Wonder that is India. Voice of India. 1994. ISBN 978-81-85990-17-0.
- Rewriting Indian History. Vikas Publishing House. 1996. ISBN 978-0-7069-9976-1.
- Un Autre regard sur l'Inde (in French). TRICORNE. 2000. ISBN 978-2-8293-0215-2.
- Arise Again, O India!. Har-Anand Publications. 2000. ISBN 978-81-241-0518-4.
- A Western Journalist on India: The Ferengi's Columns. Har-Anand Publications. 2001. ISBN 978-81-241-0795-9.
- India's Self-denial. Auroville Press International. 2001. ISBN 978-81-87373-12-4.
- A New History of India. Har-Anand Publications. 2008. ISBN 978-81-241-1430-8.
- The Guru of Joy. Hay House, Inc. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4019-2140-8.
- A History of India as it Happened: Not as it Has Been Written. Har-Anand Publications. 2013. ISBN 978-81-241-1762-0.
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- "Tracing Tibet". The Indian Express. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
- Kurien, Prema A., 1963- author. (2007). A Place at the Multicultural Table : the Development of an American Hinduism. Rutgers University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780813541617. OCLC 476118265.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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- "Javed Akhtar blasts columnist who questioned makers' choice to cast Aamir Khan in Mahabharata". Zee News. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
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- Chhabra, Aseem; Chhabra, Aseem. "Actually, Hindutva was much more successful in getting films boycotted in the pre-Twitter era". Quartz India. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- "Ashoka University slammed for teaching 'anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin' book". ThePrint. 15 December 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
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- "Nostradamus: Did he really predict Modi's victories, Hindutva's rise and Sonia Gandhi's fall?". Firstpost. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
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- "Subramanian Swamy Shares Fake Email About Church in Lingayat Issue". The Quint. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- Slayer, Hoax (8 May 2017). "Is Francois Gautier a Journalist ? Using fake website to defame genuine one". Swachh Social Media Abhiyaan. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
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- "Also Published". Har Anand Publications. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
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