François Gautier. I am answering one of my friends on Facebook, who said in response to a picture that I reposted from Twitter, that “PM Modi is single handedly responsible for reviving civilizational issues. The people of India know this, hence he keeps winning elections.” And he added: “You are behaving exactly like Arun Shourie, Swami and Jethmalani: turning against Modi because you can’t stand the fact that he doesn’t give you importance. I say this again, he owes you nothing. He is busy serving the people of India. Get over it ».
Fair enough. Firstly, no doubt, the cartoon, which is not mine, is exaggerated: Narendra Modi is not Aurangzeb, and remains THE Prime Minister India needs. Yes, he has done wonderful things, and is still performing well when it is needed. Yes, there is NO alternative to Mr Modi at the moment ; and no doubt he is going to be reelected easily in 2024, as most people of India are grateful for the hard work he has done in 10 years.
Since he became PM, and particularly during his second mandate, Mr Modi has been reaching out to all those who have hated him: the Muslims, Bollywood, Dalits (who anyway mostly voted for him), Islamic States (such as Qatar or Turkey – to whom India has sent relief during the recent earthquake), Kashmiri Muslims, Christians… etc. This is good: Mr Modi, is the Prime Minister of All Indians, regardless of their castes, religions and ethnicities. But surprisingly, the PM seems to have turned his back to the Hindus who have mostly elected him (out of 450 millions voters, at least 97% were Hindus, and few Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists) ; he also seems to be shunning those individuals who 20, 30, 40 years ago, single handedly – and often against what was politically correct at that time – fought for the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Mr Modi, often at the cost of their reputation.
I am thinking for instance about Koenraad Elst, our guru to all, who started defending Hindus before anybody, wrote so many books that were published by Sitaram Goel, and was the first to talk about subjects that were considered then taboo, like Babri Masjid. When he nowdays comes to India for conferences, he is totally ignored by the BJP, and by Mr Modi himself. Yet, the man is broke and in bad health – does he need to die for the Prime Minister to give him some overdue recognition?
I am also thinking about Rajiv Malhotra, who has been defending Hindus, and warning the attempted breakup of India for 40 years, gave his wealth and health to it. Same thing, when he comes to India, though he has more leverage, contacts, and crowds than Koenraad Elst, For instance, recently to launch his book “Snakes in the Ganges”, his ignored by the PMO (India). Could not have Modi given him a little darshan, a little photo op for that wonderful book? Probably the Prime Minister holds some grudge against him, as Mr Malhotra can be sometimes a little militant and sharp. However, an avowed meditator and yoga practitioner like Narendra Modi, should forgive, and reach out.
We understand that the Prime Minister of India is an extremely busy person, sought out by too many, and that he needs to keep his private space and focus on the most important job : the welfare of India. But I do remember Mr LK Advani, when he was Home Minister as well as Deputy Prime Minister of India, a double job which kept him extremely busy: he had always some time, and for instance, inaugurated in Habitat Centre Delhi our Kashmiri Pandit exhibition, helped Visa problems of people of Auroville which we presented him, and received many times my wife Namrita and myself in his home or in his office.
I was probably the only western journalist who ardently defended Mr Modi at the time of #Godhra, when he was accused of having encouraged Hindu mobs to kill Muslims in Gujarat, which is totally untrue. I did this at the expense of my reputation, once being thrown out by the then French Ambassador, Jérôme Bonnafont, after we had an argument about Mr Modi. I have NEVER asked anything for myself nor for my wife, neither to Mr Advani or Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, who remains a friend up to today.
Since a year, I have been trying to bring to Mr Modi a delegation of people from Auroville, which has been suffering greatly, because the Indian Government has nominated a Secretary – Dr Jayanti Ravi – who is not only cutting the forests of Auroville – the only green haven in the plains of Tamil Nadu – but destroying also the very unique social, economic & political fabric of Auroville and its residents. She has as well been using visa blackmail against westerners who have opposed her. I have never received even an acknowledgement of Mr Modi or his private secretary, or from the PMO.
Let me finally add that, since I was a young journalist covering India and witnessed the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits in the valley of Kashmir, I had been an ARDENT and a militant defender of Hindus. Not only they are wonderful people, but also the holders of the last spiritual knowledge in this world : « who am I, what happens when I die, what is an avatar, what is dharma, what is karma »… etc. As such, I can maybe accept that Mr Modi confers the Padma Vibhushan to Mulayam Singh, a man who killed a hundred or so Hindus in Ayodhya (& boasted about it), but I cannot understand why Mr Modi appears sometimes to have turned his back on Hindus themselves, who had been killed in great numbers since he came to power : whether in Kerala, in West Bengal, or Sadhus in Madhya Pradesh, and wants to keep a distance with those who fought so hard for the advent in power of his party and ultimately himself. Gratitude is also a Divine quality.