Francois Gautier (for Info only, not official)

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Francois Gautier

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    ...On top of that, the contentious visa issue for Indian expatriates, particularly the celebrated software engineers, has not been solved. Yet, I do think that this H-1B visa problem is a blessing in disguise for India. Why? Because the greatest brain drain in the world is – and has been – that of Indians. What started as a migration of coolies or indented labour from India towards Mauritius, Fiji or Madagascar, turned into the Great Brain Drain from the 60s onwards. Scientist, engineers, doctors, all looking for better salaries or opportunities, started immigrating to the US, UK, Canada and others countries, when it was still easy to obtain visas and eventually citizenships. ...

    TOI on June 28, 2017, 12:10 p.m.

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    ...Finally, after many enquiries, I locate it, a small dingy room with a printout that says ‘Aadhaar Card registration, 10 to 4PM’. Inside, there is no light and applicants have to fill their forms using the torches of their mobiles. It’s dirty, dusty (Hello Swachh Bharat!) and about 20 people are already queuing at 9.50am. Once my turn comes (no favours because of my ‘ fair’ skin), I find a young guy sitting on a desk, pleasant enough. He reads my form, makes me sit, takes a photo of my face by holding an old cam in his hand, scans my fingers prints, right and left hand, then both thumbs and finally scans an image of my eyes with a visor. Wonder of Wonder, all his machines are working –miracle of modernity in a dilapidated office. Finally, everything loads up seamlessly on his rather ancient laptop, he asks me to verify all the details, and gives me a print out of the finalized form. Done, in 20mnts flat! ...

    TOI on June 16, 2017, 2:42 p.m.

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    ...I have known these two men for more than 30 years. Mr Advani is an upright, honest, dedicated and non-corrupt politician who has been labelled all kinds of names by the media. Yet, I have never seen him ask anything for himself or his family and he always lived a simple life. Indeed, his spartan habits have carried him to an advanced age, where he still has all his physical and mental abilities intact. Politics is something of a Russian Roulette: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. There is no doubt that Mr Advani would have made a good Prime Minister. But Mr Vajpayee always kept him in check, and when Mr Modi came on the scene, Mr Advani was already in his 80s. ...

    TOI on April 29, 2017, 2:19 p.m.

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    ...Very few people know that Nostradamus, the famous French astrologer & doctor of the 16th century, who foresaw Hitler’s rise, the Iraq war, or the Wall Street collapse, made quite a few predictions about India, both in old French and Latin, the language of the learned of these days. For instance, in his Quatrain N° III.3, he predicts the Tsunami of 2000: Mars & Mercure, & l’argent ioint ensemble, Vers le Midy extreme ficcité: Au fond d’Asie et des Indes, on dira terre tremble, Et la mer se levera. It’s the line Au fond d’Asie et des Indes on dira terre tremble which tells it all: “in the depth of Asia, and India, the earth will shake and the sea will rise. ...

    TOI on March 30, 2017, 9:35 a.m.

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    ...It’s the line Au fond d’Asie et des Indes on dira terre tremble which tells it all: “in the depth of Asia, and India, the earth will shake and the sea will rise. He also prophesied the rise of the ISIS & Al Qaeda, as well as India’s suffering: En Arabie naîtra un roi puissant de la loi de Mahomet, qui dominera l’Europe et par la discorde, la négligence française S’ouvrira un passage à Mahomet (aux arabes) et l’Inde souffrira moult “In Arabia, a powerful Lord of Mahomet’s law will be born, who will dominate Europe France’s negligence will open the door to the Arabs And India will suffer much”. ...

    TOI on March 28, 2017, 1 p.m.

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    ...This election may also have signalled the beginning of the end of caste politics, another cancer that gnaws at India’s entrails – and Mrs Mayawati had become a champion at it, taking a leaf from the Indian National Congress, who for 70 years, mostly got elected on the Dalit & Muslim vote. Many newspapers and television channels blazed across the headline: “Saffron wave in Uttar Pradesh”. This is another ill-advised coin word, that wants to sensationalize and demean, but which falls flat. What does ‘saffron’ mean? First saffron is mainly cultivated in Kashmir – and that by Muslims – so it’s a wrong comparison. ...

    TOI on March 21, 2017, 10:24 a.m.

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    ...And as a journalist I had the same prejudices and ideas about India as any other Western correspondent. In fact I embraced the same ideas: ‘secularism, the Congress is the only party that can unify India, Hindus too can be fundamentalists’, et cetera… But then, I started covering Kashmir during the 90s, when separatism bloomed and violence set fire to the Valley. It is there that I saw the first Hindu leaders whom I had interviewed previously, assassinated in the most savage manner, such as doctors, lawyers, or All India radio broadcasters. And then, when Benazir Bhutto gave her famous speech of ‘Azad Kashmir’, every mosque in Srinagar and the Valley repeated that cry, telling Hindus: “Convert or die”. ...

    TOI on March 6, 2017, 4:14 p.m.

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    ...Well, from a western correspondent himself, the answer is…YES. There are four reasons for that sad fact: 1) India is never in the news in the West unless there is some major catastrophe or huge elections. Thus, if you want to write and be published, you have to find alternate stories, that often border on the sensational, the marginal, or even the untruthful. 2) Your editor in New York, Paris or London, has often set ideas on India, even though most of the time he or she has never set foot here. You need to toe the line otherwise you may not be published, which is tough if you are a freelance, that is paid per piece. Most western correspondents thus rein in. ...

    TOI on Feb. 20, 2017, 4:22 p.m.