Show on Shivaji to bare little-known facts

21 11 2008

Laxmi Birajdar | TNN

Pune: Lesser-known facts about Chhatrapati Shivaji will be highlighted in a painting exhibition early next month. French Indophile Francois Gautier will organise the exhibition, to be held from December 2 to 20 at the Pune Municipal Corporation’s newly-developed Art Centre on Ghole road .
Titled ‘Shivaji: a hero of modern India’, it will be organised by Gautier’s Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) and comprises over 60 miniatures in tempera, oil and acrylic on the life and times of the legendary Maratha warrior.
This is Gautier’s most ambitious historical project yet. It took him three years to get the paintings done from artists based in Rajasthan. The exhibition was inaugurated in Delhi last November, and later travelled to Mumbai and Bangalore.
“We hope to see the maximum number of visitors in
Pune because of the strong connection between Chhatrapati Shivaji and the city,” says Gautier. As for the reason behind organising the exhibition, he states, “When I first came to Pune a few years back, I was quite disappointed by the lack of information available in the city on Chhatrapati Shivaji.”
That’s when he decided to put up an exhibition that would highlight not only the Maratha warrior’s extraordinary achievements, but also lesser-known facts related to his style of governance and personality.

From Shivajis historic meeting with Bijapur army general Afzal Khan in 1659 to Baji Prabhu’s sacrifice to save his leader’s life in 1660 and Shivajis nocturnal attack on Shaista Khan, the Mughal governor of the Deccan, in Pune in 1663, the exhibition covers it all.
There are several intriguing facts about Shivaji that many are unaware of. For instance, he was the first Indian king to have a full-fledged naval fleet. He even introduced a modern system of administration through his council of ministers.

The exhibition also includes maps depicting Shivajis kingdom that spread all the way to south India. The paintings will be supported by explanatory charts in Hindi and English.
The exhibition has been backed by a three-year research by VS Bhatnagar, a former professor of history at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. Valuable information was collected from historical archives in Delhi, Bikaner and Indore.
It’s Chhatrapati Shivajis relevance in today’s times that Gautier wants to focus on. “He was a secular ruler who respected every religion. His administrative style was very modern and remains evergreen. He was more than a warrior. According to me, he was the son of the soil. We are trying to show his vision of India,” explains Gautier.
Gautier will soon start writing a coffee table book on the Maratha hero. A Delhi-based publishing house has already bought the rights to this book.

Wandhama massacre case: FACT India Protests

20 06 2008

Upcomming events: World Refugee day and Naxalite exhibition

18 06 2008

1) FACT EXHIBITION IN PUNE (Kashmiri Pandits: World Refugee day)

2) FACT EXHIBITION IN DELHI (Naxalism: A threat to the Unified nation of India)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 – Monday, July 14, 2008
Venue : India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
(Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)

This World Refugee Day 2008 Would be a special occassion to remember, voice and address the concerns of the refugees in India especially the ones that are neglected. June 20th would be a special eve for the Kashmiri pandits this year as FACT INDIA in association with Hindu Janjagruti Samithi would organise an event complete with candle light procession an exhibition on the pandits and media awareness.

About the event
The events would be held in Pune and Delhi. The World Refugees day Programme would include ‘to raise voice against’ the closure of Wandhama massacre case.

The break-up of the event for the day is like-

Wandhama massacre refers to the murder of Kashmiri Hindus in the town of Wandhama on the intervening night of 25th January 1998. It was one of the worst incidences of violence against Kashmiri Pandits being carried out by militants in Kashmir. It was an illustration of the Kashmir militant’s policy of ethnic cleansing . The victims, all of them Kashmiri Pandits, included four children, nine women and 10 men. The case is in a way a microcosm of the apathy of the Government towards the Pandits. Ideally the government should have asked a better investigating agency like a SIT/CID or even a CBI to pursue the case so that the killers could be identified and nabbed, had its own Police proved incompetent to do the job. But that was not to be. As always the Police simply closed the case and thought its responsibility is over.

1. FACT exhibition

Mrs Gayatri Chauhan, FACT representative in Maharashtra is holding an exhibition on 20th of June, Pune.

2. Press conference

Panelists will be invited from different fields, Police commissioner Pune, Editors of leading newspapers, NHRC representatives, Lawyers etc.

3. Candle light

A candle light procession with People gathered from all walks of life would be held at the exhibition as well as press conference will be taken to the saras bagh, where in candle light is to done.

The blogsite depicts the whole of story.
rinkoo thusoo: 09250006232

The making of a tyrant (The Indian Express)

11 10 2007

The making of a tyrant

Aurangzeb dictated himself through his edicts. French journalist Francois Gautier depicts the shrewd Mughal emperor pictorially with an exhibition that started in Pune on Tuesday


W HEN Francois Gautier began writing books on India over a decade ago, he realised that a lot of rethinking would be required before extolling about one prominent historical figure – Aurangzeb. So, the French journalist embarked on a threeyear research on the Mughal emperor that resulted in an elaborate, 65-painting exhibition highlighting Aurangzeb’s dark side. The exhibition was inaugu rated on October 9 at the Balgandharva Kala Dalan.
“Aurangzeb was a pious Muslim, no doubt but he also poisoned his own father, emperor Shah Jahan and ordered the beheading of his elder brother, Dara Shikoh,” points out Gautier.
Presented by Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT), an organisation he started in 2003, the acrylic paintings show Aurangzeb according to his own documents and firmans (edicts) written in Persian. He copied the Quran himself, stitched Muslim skullcaps and enforced strict laws against the Hindus. His insistence on forced conversion to Islam, ruthlessness towards Hindus, the cruel execution of of Dara Shikoh and Raja Sambhaji, Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son, the reinforcement of the humiliating jizyah tax and ordering the destruction of temples–all make for more than impactful depictions. “Aurangzeb had his own ideology of life. His strong beliefs, fundamentalist and tyrannical in nature, made him enact Draconian laws,” says Gautier.
The shrewd Mughal emperor al lowed only Muslims to enter his court and the musicians who performed for him had to convert themselves to Islam. Apparently, Aurangzeb even ended up banning music from his court. A painting in the exhibition shows the musicians disposing of their musical instruments through a burial procession. Bury it so deep that no sound or echo of it may rise again, wrote Aurangzeb.
V S Bhatnagar, professor of history at Jaipur University conducted the research that involved referencing Aurangzeb’s original documents still preserved in Indian museums, such as the Bikaner archives, and paintings done by six Jaipur-based artists. Organised with a budget of Rs seven lakhs, the exhibition debuted in Delhi a few months ago.
Gautier is inspired by the need to put history in the right perspective and feels that Aurangzeb is very much relevent even today. In fact Gautier, likens him to the modern day terroroist Osama Bin Laden. “Westerners think Aurangzeb was a patron of art and culture. This isn’t true. He misled the Indian Muslims and this has manifested in the religious upheavels in India, today,” adds Gautier.
He remembers witnessing the burning of the last Sufi shrine, Chrar-e- Sharif in J & K in 1995. Reference of the same with Aurangzeb’s ideology become strikingly familiar. “At one point of time, Hindus and Muslims used to pray here together. But now the religious harmony is almost non-extinct,” says Gautier.
Next on FACT’s agenda is an exhibition on Dara Shikoh and Chhatrapati Shivaji. “Dara Shikoh embraced non-Mus lims, translated the Upan ishads. He also wrote sev eral books on Sufism. We would have had a more tolerant Islam today if Dara Shikoh had succeeded Shah Jahan, instead of Aurangzeb,” concludes Gautier.
(The exhibition on Aurangzeb continues at Balgandharva Kala Dalan till October 17 and then from October 18 to 26 at Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium, Kothrud)

Parallel drawn between Aurangzeb and terrorism (The Times Of India)

11 10 2007

French writer Francois Gautier at the exhibition
Parallel drawn between Aurangzeb and terrorism
Display Based On Mughal Emperor’s Records And Orders
PUNE 10th Oct 2007
Pune: Relating the ruthless regime of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb to religious extremism in today’s world may seem non-realistic. But French writer-journalist Francois Gautier’s initiative to convene an exhibition titled “Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol records” does manage to draw a parallel between then and now. “Aurangzeb is still alive in some people, which has resulted in incidents like 9/11 (World Trade Centre air crash), Akshardham and the recent Hyderabad bombings. People with fundamentalist faith like the Mughal emperor are planning such incidents,” he added. Gautier said that Aurangzeb was a pious Muslim, copied the Quran himself and stitched Muslim skullcaps. “He was a pious Muslim but this does not cover-up his terror acts. Many temples were brought down during his rule and mosques were built on those spots,” he said. Gautier told TOI that Aurangzeb was a great Mughal emperor and the artistic exhibition is based on Aurangzeb’s own records and orders, which are preserved in Indian museums at Bikaner and New Delhi. Organised under the aegis of the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) of which Gautier is the founder trustee, the exhibition is on at Balgandharva Kaladalan till October 17 and will continue in the city at the Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium, Kothrud from October 18 to November 30. “The exhibition attempts to exhibit the positive as well as negative aspects of the emperor. Scriptures are accompanied by paintings and sketches,” he added. For instance, a scripture dated 1689 says that Maratha warrior king Shambhaji and Kavi Kalas were captured by Mughal forces at Sangameshwar and derogatory treatment was given to them. A painting placed next to this scripture depicts the scene. Another painting shows the death scene of Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan and his body being taken to the Taj Mahal. Shajahan was kept captive by Aurangzeb for eight years. Another painting shows the martyrdom of Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur. The scriptures have been collected from Rajasthan, New Delhi and other parts of India and also include authentic history notes of French doctor Berniers who witnessed Aurangazeb’s reign. Letters of the kings of Rajasthan are also among the scriptures. Expressing a need to unwrap all aspects of Indian history, Gautier said, “The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not disclosed many chapters of Indian history to avoid communal tension in the country but history can be used as an effective tool to avoid communal tension and terror acts.”

French writer to curate exhibition on Shivaji

11 10 2007

French writer to curate exhibition on Shivaji
Will Highlight Unknown Facts About Warrior King
Anuradha Mane TNN

10th Oct 2007 PUNE

Pune: Much has been said and written about Maratha warrior-king Chattrapati Shivaji, but considering the far-reaching reign of Shivaji and his life as a warrior, much is yet to meet the public eye. That’s what Delhi-based French writerjournalist Francois Gautier hopes to bring to Indians. In a yet-to-be titled exhibition on the warrior king, Gautier is getting together rare sketches, paintings and scriptures that depict the vision of Shivaji. “As a journalist, I have been covering India for 25 years now. Shivaji, of all historical icons, impresses me because of his nationmaking vision. He was an idealist and India really needs that spirit today,” said Gautier, who is currently the editor of French newspaper ‘La Revue L’Inde’. Explaining why the exhibition will start in Pune, Gautier states that Pune is where Shivaji grew up and where his legacy runs strongest. The exhibition will begin in Pune in February 2008 and return to Pune after travelling to other places in the country. Speaking about the aspects that will be highlighted, Gautier says, “On numerous occasions, he set before others examples of courage and resourcefulness, such as in his night attack on Shaista Khan in Pune (1663) and in manoeuvring his escape from Agra (1666). He also personified self-respect with his proud and dignified conduct at Agra- the proudest court of that time.” Shivaji’s vision in building a chain of mountain and sea forts and his humility when in the company of saints like Tukaram and Samarth Swami Ram Das will also be depicted in the exhibition. But the main reason why Gautier feels he can undertake such an exhibition, in spite of being a foreigner is because he has a fresh view of Shivaji. “Not having political alliances would help me in this case. And there have been controversies about Shivaji, but I really do not want to get into it. That apart, I have the courage and forthrightness to do justice to this topic,” he said. In Pune, Gautier is taking help from historians Ninad Bedekar, Babasaheb Purandare and Gajanan Mehendale. While Gautier himself has been reading extensively on the topic, he also has a team of researchers in the University of Rajasthan and painters who will help document the life of Shivaji. Gautier is already involved in setting up a Rs 200 crore project on Indian history in Pune named the India Memory Foundation (IMF).

A sketch depicting Shivaji leading his troops that will be exhibited


9 10 2007



9th Oct -17th Oct- Kaal Dallan – Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir
18th Oct -26th Oct-Yeshwantrao Chavan Auditorium Kothrud
16th Nov-30th Nov- Yeshwantrao Chavan Auditorium, Kothrud