India has been, for decades, suffering at the hands of western journalists who have painted it as a country of just poor people, suffering from diseases like leprosy, living in dilapidated houses eating whatever is given to them by missionaries! Naked fakirs, cows wandering around the streets eating out of trash bins, kids dancing around naked were some pictures old timers, like I, saw in a magazine called Span! Most journalists have played this song for so long that even Indians began to believe this crap! Now, don’t get me wrong, poverty exists in India; but it exists in EVERY single country spanning the globe!
The agenda that these journalists came with, was to show how eastern countries couldn’t exist without the benevolent west! The Christian missions set up their shops with the help of these so-called non-aligned journalist! Hindus were made to look like fools who believed in voodoo, and idol worship was called into question for authenticity!!
In the past decade or more, there has been a slow change in the perception that is “Indianness”! People that had given up on western journalism began to see “light at the end of the dark tunnel”. Journalists like Francois Gautier came in to try swing the image around! To an extent, these people have been successful but the perception that Indians, more so the Hindus, carry about India and Sanathana Dharma, hasn’t changed!
There is no particular method of identifying a Hindu! We don’t have a particular identification, like Muslims or Christians do. Even the names that we have, don’t mean much as there are many in the south with Hindu names that are Christian. A friend of mine, Senthil Kumar, is one such example! Given this lack of a particular identification, how does one term people like Francois Gautier, Maria Wirth, Dr David Frawley or any other such pro Hindu personalities as “foreigners” ?
Francois Gautier is worth thinking about; a French born who has lived in india with his wife(an Indian) for longer than I have and is a journalist. He has done more for Hindu awakening than many so called Hindus in india. His knowledge of Hinduism, Hindu warriors is immense! He has a museum dedicated to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. With this body of work behind him, when he called for Hindus to awaken recently, he faced abuse at the hands of Hindus. One particular “gentleman”(I use that term loosely) asked him what right he has to do this! So, let’s get this right: Hindus don’t have any unity and when one Hindu does call for this, he’s questioned about his national origins! We are a pathetic, small minded people and deserve to be in the gutters!! The RSS has awarded him with their Panchajanya award and we question him about his commitment and knowledge ?? Maria Wirth, a German by birth, is another such person. A warm and peaceful person, she knows more about Hinduism than most so called Hindus do.
Thousands, if not millions, of people are getting involved in the revival of Hinduism. There is a significant number, that are not Indian by birth. Here in the USA, the ISKCON movement is led by people who are not of Indian origin. Their knowledge of the Bhagwad Gita leaves most of us speechless! The only difference is they are not Indian by birth! There are many temples, not related to ISKCON, that are founded by “foreign Swamis.” The Arshabodha temple in New Jersey is one such!
How does their country of origin make them any different than those born in India? After all, birth into any nationality or lineage is just accidental. A person’s worth is defined by his values and character! The multitude of people that are “accidental” Hindus don’t seem to know Hinduism as well as they should and yet, when one is kind and large-hearted enough to guide us, we question the person.
My late father lived for a major part of his adult life, and died, here in the USA. His daily regimen included his Sandhya every morning and evening. He was born in a small town in Karnataka but went on to achieve significance in his area of specialty, aeronautics. This brought him laurels and ultimately moving to the USA. Does this make him, and his family, less indian? Who are we to certify people on their being Hindus or not? At a time when Hindu youth need guidance and structure in their life, we can use all the help we can get. To my friend, Francois, Continuez d’avancer, François! la majorité des hindous sont avec vous!