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

FACT update

21 08 2007

This is an update on FACT. After the successful Kashmiri Pandits’ exhibition, which at the moment has been translated in Mahratti and is being shown in villages of Maharashtra, another exhibition/symposium on the persecution of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists in Bangladesh was inaugurated in Mumbai on 18th November 2006 by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in the presence of many terrorist experts, such KPS Gill, B. Raman, Brahma Chellaney and delegates from Bangladesh invited by FACT.

A path-breaking painting exhibition on “Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol records“ was shown in Delhi’s Habitat Centre in February this year, in G gallery Bangalore in April and is now slated to be exhibited in Pune in August and then Mumbai. A film on the condition of Brahmans and Other Upper Castes has been made (it is posted on U Tube: and it will be followed by an exhibition and a book. We have also initiated a show Shivaji which will be completed at the end of the year. FACT has embarked as well on a project to do two exhibitions: one on the 1947 Holocaust of Hindus and Sikhs and the second on the rise of Sikhism as a defender of the Hindu Dharma. FACT plans to bring out audio CD’s on all these subjects to educate people. We have already brought one on the Kashmiri Pandits’ issue, another one on the victims of the Bombay train blasts and of course, a third one on Brahmins and OUC.

But overall FACT has an ultimate goal: To build an Indian Holocaust museum. India has terribly suffered in the last fifteen centuries at the hands of invaders, be they Muslims, Christians, or even Chinese recently. No nation can move forward, unless it faces squarely its past. As His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, pointed out recently, “ the courage to remember, helps us not to repeat the same mistakes and to build a better future for our children ”. Hence, FACT would like to build an Indian museum where all the atrocities committed against Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, will be depicted, but also where all the greatness of India, past, present and future will be projected. We have been donated a small piece of land in Pune near the airport and this is where we plan the museum. For all this noble endeavours, we solicit your help and support. FACT India is a registered Trust with tax exemption. If your donation is in Indian rupees, you can make a cheque in the name of FACT and mail it to

François Gautier,
Tamil Nadu,
(via Pondichery) 605101,

If it is in $, £, or €, you can make it in the name of François Gautier, specifying in an accompanying letter for which project it is meant. I will transfer the rupees in the FACT account which is Canara Bank, Pondichery a/c N° is 27147.

Thanks so much