Francois Gautier: traditional Indian knowledge is at risk.

“Many Indians think Rahul Gandhi is related to Mahatma Gandhi,” We need to face history to progress: Francois Gautier feels traditional Indian knowledge is at risk.

At a lecture here on Saturday, Gautier, a staunch defender of Hindutva, said, "Education in India is in a tragic state. Parents produce children in order to export them. India is being westernized. People here want to be more westernized than the westerners themselves. They know IT, Math and Shakespeare but don't know their own history and culture. Not many understand the value of knowledge."

Gautier, 54, feels Hinduism is not a religion but a knowledge stream. "Though I am a Frenchman, I feel I am a Hindu. Being a Hindu entails believing that God has many manifestations. I have lived in India for 44 years. I experienced the presence of Bharat Mata while working in Kashmir and now (I am experiencing it) in Pune," he pointed out.

He admitted that conversion is a reality and it's easy to convert Indians because of poverty. "Many are so innocent that they think Rahul Gandhi is related to Mahatma Gandhi," he said.

According to him, many bitter truths about India's history - such as genocide of Hindus by invaders - were swept under the carpet. He believes there are many cliches about India abroad. "Poverty and snake-charmers are part of them," he added. Stressing the importance of truth in history, however bitter it is, he said: "Unless people face their history, they can't move forward."

On Maratha king Shivaji, he said: "With a handful of men, he fought the most powerful army of his time and secured southern India. But he is not represented properly. Some Indian history books even depict him as a plunderer or a petty chieftain."

Referring to the Aryan invasion theory, he said: "It (the invasion) is the foundation of all historical information on India. But the invasion never happened."

Gautier has set up a museum on Indian history - Shivaji Maharaj Museum of History - in Pune with the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT). "If I write an article, it lasts a day. A book could last a few years. But a museum lasts for centuries. It's important to rewrite Indian history on stone. I found it important to narrate history as it happened, and not as it was written. Hence, the museum," he explained. The museum exhibits artefacts on India's traditional knowledge and accurate history.

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