My Indian Odyssey
by David Duke
WHO CAN FORGET the day on which he first sees one of the Seven Wonders of the World? I vividly remember the details of the August day when I first saw the Taj Mahal. (ILLUSTRATION: Leprous Indian beggar)
Armed with a camera and a frayed notepad, I trotted out of the YMCA at about 5:30 in the morning. After a humid, sweaty night, the cool air enlivened me as I walked briskly toward the center of New Delhi. Thousands of chirping birds serenaded me as I strolled along the main boulevards. A fat, bushy-tailed squirrel crossed my path a few inches from my shoes, exhibiting no fear. Such an abundance of small birds and animals was in stark contrast to what I had seen in Laos and Thailand. Indo-Chinese cities have a scarcity of small game because people eat almost any non-poisonous, four-legged creatures available. In India, however, small game has the rigorous protection of religious taboo — a power far greater than hunger.
Small animals were not the only beings in great abundance. So were people. Along one long sidewalk, I saw hundreds of wooden shelves about the size of a refrigerator lying on their sides. Each served as home for at least one person. Even less fortunate souls lay on the grass or in the brown dirt with a tattered blanket serving as their only shelter. Some had only rags to protect themselves from the elements. About a block from the YMCA, an old man grunted as he squatted and defecated in the gutter. A little further on, a bony couple engaged in mechanical sexual intercourse while two children sat beside them, taking little notice of their parents as they played in the dust. Millions in India live out their lives on the public streets awash in the dried mud. There they are born, and there they bathe, eat, sleep, excrete and copulate. As attested by the teeming population, the one thing they seem to do best is breed.
As I penetrated deeper into the center of New Delhi, I saw many modern structures. Most of the structures housed branches of European firms doing business in India. Many Indian government buildings had been constructed in the Colonial style of the twenties and thirties under the auspices of English imperial rule. The contrast between abject human debasement only a few steps away from such esthetic architectural achievements was disconcerting; but my eyes slowly got used to the stark disparity as I headed for one of the main commercial squares.
At about 8:30 a.m. I reached a main square where I planned to inquire about bus service to Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, one of the Wonders of the World. The streets buzzed with activity. A large white bull pulled a cylindrical lawnmower over the grass on the boulevard’s center ground. Dressed in white of a shade that matched the animal’s hide, a turbaned Indian guided it patiently. At the cabstand I learned that I could ride to Agra and back in a taxi cab (a round trip of about two hundred miles) for only $12. I met a young English student from Cambridge traveling during his summer vacation, and we decided to share a cab after getting some breakfast at the main coffeehouse on the square.
Six Indians behind the counter worked at a furious pace, serving hundreds of patrons. Each worker had a separate job. Only one of them washed dishes, and cleanliness was not one of his finer points, for he looked as though he moonlighted as a gravedigger. Crusty black dirt trimmed the tips of his long fingernails; the lighter spots on his face and neck, on closer inspection, turned out to be streaks where sweat had washed off some layers of muck. After hundreds of swabbings from the same filthy water, his dishrag resembled what I imagined were mummy wrappings. The man wiped the filthy plates and utensils according to their immediate necessity right before the eyes of the customer.
Upon deeper consideration, I discovered that I no longer had any hunger. But Rodney Johnson, my new English friend, wolfed down the coffee and fried eggs without the slightest suggestion of discomfort. He seemed oblivious to the unsanitary conditions. I told him that I had never imagined British Colonial grit was the foreign matter found in their food.
We hired a rundown taxi of a make I could not identify. Some sort of strange religious symbols hung from the rearview mirror, and the clear plastic seats immediately stuck to our bare legs as the three-hour trip to Agra began. The dozen books I had read on India had not prepared me for the panorama of horrors unfolding as we sped from the business district of New Delhi. By the roadsides I saw hundreds of rickety, bug-eyed children, and even a couple of emaciated corpses lying on the street, treated by passersby like so much refuse to be hauled away. The bargaining and squabbling of the marketplace were strange and annoying to my ears, and I could not get accustomed to the stenches. Sometimes the odors came from the fires made from briquettes of bovine and human dung. Amid the ruins and rubble lay intermittent piles of ancient garbage through which the starving picked in search of even the tiniest of rotting morsels.
Once in a while an old temple or structure would heave into view out of this sea of desolation and offer a brief glimpse into a high culture that had once flourished here. Visiting India for the first time, I decided not to be depressed by the ugliness and the decay, and gradually, in the midst of the ruins and putrefaction, I resurrected in my imagination the once beautiful, magnificent empire of India. I could feel the vitality and creativity that had ruled this land thousands of years ago. In my mind’s eye, I could see the farmers and tradesmen, the artisans and musicians, the road builders and architects, the noblemen and the warriors.
As the cab began to wind out of the stifling city and escaped into the countryside, I wrestled with what I knew about the once great Indian civilization. Green rice fields sped by the window of my cab as I weighed what I had learned from books on ancient Indian history and from conversations I had with some New Delhi college professors I had met during the previous few days. The historical facts mingled in my mind with the impressions harvested by my own eyes.
Aryans, or Indo-Europeans (Caucasians) created the great Indian, or Hindu civilization. Aryans swept over the Himalayas to the Indian sub-continent and conquered the aboriginal people. The original term “India” was coined by the Aryan invaders from their Sanskrit word Sindu, for the river now called the Indus. Sanskrit is perhaps the oldest of the Indo-European languages, having a common origin to all the modern languages of Europe. The word “Aryan” has an etymological origin in the word Arya from Sanskrit, meaning noble. The word also has been associated with gold, the noble metal, and denoted the golden skinned invaders (as compared to the brown skinned aboriginals) from the West.
Composed in about 1500 B.C., the Hindu religious texts of the Rig Vedatell the story of the long struggles between the Aryans and the aboriginal people of the Indian subcontinent. Sixteen Aryan states were partitioned by the sixth century A.D., and Brahmanism became the chief religion of India. The conquering race initiated a caste system to preserve their status and their racial identity. The Hindu word for caste is Varna, which directly translated into English, means “color.” Today the word is usually associated with occupation or trade; but that is because occupations evolved on the basis of skin color and ethnicity. The most pale skinned were called the Brahmin. These were the warrior-priest class, the top of the social ladder. The Untouchables (or Pariahs) were the racially mixed in the bottom caste.
Over the past few centuries the clear racial differences have faded, but one can still notice the lighter hues and taller statures of the higher castes. Many scholars consider Sanskrit the oldest and purest of the Indo-European languages. In modern India, the greatest insult one could pay a fellow Indian is to call him “black.” [Image: Brahmin actress Madhuri Dixit, India’s most popular contemporary film star.]
In spite of all the organized government and media efforts to root out racial feeling, there is still ample evidence that race does matter in modern India. Rodney Johnson showed me the personal ad columns that catered to the English-speaking Indians. The skin color of the advertiser is always described very precisely. I found that many of the ads emphasized the degree of lightness of the prospective husband or wife.
The average Christian conservative of the Western world would be aghast at the exuberant interest displayed by the ancient Indians in sex and in the ways they publicly displayed sexual experience through art. Hindu history, though, seems to indicate that it was not preoccupation with sex that brought down the high culture as much as it was the racial impact of that obsession. In spite of strict religious and civil taboos, the ancient Aryans crossed the color line. Slavery, or a similar system, had made servant women easily obtainable and proved a dangerous temptation for some of the basest of the slaveholders. Only a small percentage of each generation had sexual liaisons with the lower castes, but over dozens of generations a gradual change in the racial composition occurred. Such changes are almost imperceptible in a single generation. But they are dramatic after a millennium.
One of the problems of the Indian civilization is that the most creative, most intelligent, and most successful people have many avenues of fulfillment, while the lower classes consider sex a form of recreation. Sex is the one highly enjoyable pastime the poor can always afford. Every civilization has a lower average birthrate among its most talented elements, while its less intelligent and unproductive tend to proliferate. Ancient India was no exception.
Even traveling 45 miles per hour with all the taxi’s windows down, it was still so hot and dusty that my British friend and I felt as though we could not get enough air. However, India was not the dry, desert-like expanse that I had pictured. Certainly India has its arid areas, but great portions of the country are humid and wet. During my stay I saw beautiful seaports, green fertile valleys, thick forests and jungles, mountains that glittered with the reflection of their vast mineral wealth. The countryside we traveled through was far from dry. Rice field followed rice field, and there were many watering holes — usually filled with cows cooling their sacred hides.
At midmorning we decided to stop for a little refreshment, and the cab driver pulled off the highway by a little shanty cafe. By this time my hunger had overcome my lack of enthusiasm for Indian dishwashing. Rodney, undaunted as ever, ordered some fried eggs. I optimistically thought that eggs fried in a hot skillet — albeit dirty — would not do much harm, so I put my order in. Since the coffee was boiling hot, I consented to have some of it as well.
After letting them cool a bit, I ravenously consumed a yellow spoonful of eggs. A feeling like liquid fire spread from my tongue to the roof of my mouth and clear back to my larynx. It spread from my throat into my esophagus and stomach. My eyes watered. My nose ran. I tried to swallow, but I could not. I looked at the swarthy, beady-eyed driver, then at the proprietor of the shanty, and for a fleeting moment I imagined a criminal conspiracy between them. I pictured the authorities finding my poisoned, pain-contorted body in a rice paddy a few days later, stripped of identification, passport, camera, and cash.
Then, through a blurry film, I saw Rodney wolfing down his eggs like they were milk chocolate. Maybe what I had taken for British bravado was only his true affection for this land and its traits. I believed that I had stumbled onto the reason why almost all the food in India is intolerably hot, for as famished as I was, that one bite was more than enough for me that morning. Suddenly I had no more hunger. But it was no longer fear of dirty utensils that killed my desire to eat, for I figured that few germs could have survived the heat of the little red infernos the Indians call peppers. Growing up in south Louisiana, I had often eaten spicy and hot food, but those Indian peppers are indistinguishable from glowing embers of lava. Only the English could have colonized this place, I thought, for only they, like Rodney, had the stomach for it.
Near the shanty where we ate were hordes of small children. A number of them had deformities such as full or partial blindness and amputated limbs. The cab driver told me that many parents purposely mutilate their own children to increase their intake from begging.
As we drove on, I found the poverty of New Delhi duplicated in the countryside. We passed many settlements teeming with rag-swathed, skeleton people. Children were starving everywhere. Cruel, open sores spotted their bodies, and the unrelenting flies swarmed the children to feast on their festering wounds. The probable first impulse of any Westerner who learns of India’s plight is to send money and food. But by sending such assistance, he actually only compounds the agony. The reason that so many Indians are starving is their chronically high birth rate combined with their low ability rate. The resulting overpopulation outstrips the ability of the people to feed themselves. Unless the givers tie aid to absolute guarantees of population control, the increased food simply feeds another reproducing generation that in turn only multiples the problem. Despite this self-evident fact, Western nations have poured seemingly unending food and medical supplies into India. The purpose of the relief at its start early in this century was to help the thousands who were starving. Paradoxically, because of our generosity we can now report that tens of millions starve in India. The sunken faces of the malnourished, sick, and mutilated children around the nation are the results of misplaced humanitarianism that has only increased human suffering and death.
At our next stop on this trip to the Taj Mahal, was a small roadside bazaar. The cab driver apparently had an arrangement with some of the ceramic and leather shops to bring in tourists. In addition to the shops, also present were fakirs, snake charmers, and animal trainers. One turban-crowned Indian had what he called a “dancing bear.” A worn, leather leash was tightened around the bear’s neck, causing him to choke and gag. It was stifling hot, and this poor creature’s heavy coat contributed to his severe skin infections that scarred his body and had removed large patches of fur.
This bear was so emaciated that he had an eerie appearance, for as he would stand and perform his tortured dance, he resembled a man. When the trainer whipped the bear with his stiff cane pole, the animal placed its paws over its head to protect itself from the blows. Streaks of red blood colored his digits. I moved through the crowd with my fists clenched. It would have been so easy to wrench that pole from that puny little torturer and give him a dose of the pain he was inflicting on the pitiful bear. One more strike at that bear and I will have at him, I thought. Then I felt a tug on my arm and heard the calm, evenly modulated voice of the Englishman whispering that he felt exactly the same way I did, but then looked directly into my eyes and said, “What are you going to do, David — go to war against the whole Indian nation?”
I stumbled back to the cab, wondering how many times in a man’s life he must turn his head when justice demands he act. Regardless of how much pity I have for the people of India, it is true that every people ultimately have responsibility for its own condition, for its general health and well-being. After gazing on the poor, mistreated animal that had no control over its destiny, a profound sadness came over me.
On both sides of the highway to Agra were cattle — thousands of them. The driver explained that they were sacred. As he told us about their religious sanctification and protection, I thought about the great cattle industry the nation could have. Later, in the shops of Agra, I saw rats and birds scampering around the food in the bins and not receiving a second glance from the proprietors or their skinny customers. In some areas of India, not only the cattle but even the rats are sacred.
Agra and New Delhi are far cleaner cities (by Indian standards) than the other large cities, such as Calcutta and Bombay. In northern India the people are taller, lighter skinned, and more sturdily built than are those of the hot coastal areas. Occasionally I encountered a native Indian who could easily pass for a southern European — or perhaps a Louisiana Creole. Anticipation welled up in me and tingled like a cool breeze across my sweaty body as we neared the Taj Mahal. My father had described the structure to me a number of times, and for years I had been eager to see it. As we passed through the shaded arches of the outlying buildings, the whitish-blue sky became bright with glare. Then the great temple itself came into view, gleaming, white and magnificent in the sun. I had stepped out of the filth, rot, and decay of modern India into an earlier era of beauty, order, and high art.
Rodney and I sat on the edge of the reflecting pool to cool off and rest. We rested quietly, our eyes drawn to the water. We looked at the reflection of the great structure, overwhelmed by its beauty, and then at the building itself. Although Rodney and I were both usually quite glib, we sat motionless and mute. When Rodney finally spoke, the words came out in whispers of reverence for the splendor of the Taj Mahal. And then reality slowly began to crowd in on me. I knew that most of the modern-day Indian visitors I saw around me were poor reflections of the men and women who had walked these grounds centuries before. The temple — actually a memorial built by a man for his dead wife — had been constructed as a Muslim temple long after the great flowering of the Aryan civilization but contains many of the architectural and artistic qualities of the earlier era. I thought, as I approached the temple, how it might be taken as a metaphor, a funerary monument to the memory of a people who had given the world such great beauty. As I viewed the structure in the sharp sunlight of afternoon, it occurred to me that the rounded dome, with its features like sun-bleached bone, resembled a great skull. The temple might represent the spiritual cranium of the Aryan people, I thought — one that had once held talented and disciplined minds but which now served only as a magnificent gravestone of a deceased culture and genetic treasure now degraded beyond redemption.
On the long road back to New Delhi, Rodney slept, while I rested my head on the window frame and peered into the dusty countryside, taking in the sights and sounds as nonchalantly as if I had traveled the road a thousand times before. Half asleep, I dropped Rodney off after we had exchanged addresses, but somehow in my travels it became lost, and I never saw or heard from him again after that day. When I got back to the YMCA, I took off my shoes, curled up on my musty cot, and fell asleep with my camera still around my neck.
The next day, I decided to explore some of the other temples that dotted the countryside. I hired a cab, and it wasn’t very long before I spotted a suitable target. I began walking across a dry grassy area toward the huge structure in the distance. A few hundred feet from the paved highway, I literally stumbled across another road. It was extremely old, and only a part of road was visible through the overgrowth and sediment. It was a magnificent road of stone carved into perfect blocks and laid over a base of gravel. The surface of the road was as level as a billiard table and would still have been usable if the weeds that had grown up in the cleavages of the stone had been cut.
As I walked over the ancient road and through the patches of dry weeds toward the temple, I reviewed all that I had read about India and all that I had seen firsthand. I recalled the fact that the highest classes were the lightest-skinned, that nothing was more insulting to an Indian than calling him “black,” that “Varna” (caste) is the Indian word for color. The original language of the ancient Aryan invaders, Sanskrit, is an ancient Indo-European language with direct links to every other European language. Ancient Sanskrit literature even has descriptions of Aryan leaders as having light eyes and hair. As I neared the temple, I thought about the splendor that once was and about the dreadful squalor I had witnessed since my arrival in the India of today.
I noticed that the temple’s dome had partially caved-in. Only two walls remained standing. Still closer, I saw thousands of pockmarks eroding the structure. Each of them had once housed a precious stone, but these had long ago been pried loose and picked clean. I wondered if all the monuments of Europe and America would eventually endure the same fate as this one.
Around the corner of the temple, on the partially shaded side, I saw something that will forever remain in my memory. In the shade sat a little, brown, half-caste Indian girl. She was thoroughly emaciated and resembled some sort of hideous doll except that she moved slightly, and her animated bones and skin had a terrifying effect. She was so malnourished that her face had not developed properly, but her eyes were very large, and in their own way they were hauntingly beautiful. On one cheek was an open sore the size of a quarter. More sores covered her arms, chest, and legs. Dozens of flies covered each sore, jockeying with each other to feast on her flesh. Occasionally the little girl would brush her frail hand over one of the sores, causing the flies to retreat. Inevitably, though, once her hand had passed, the flies returned like iron filings to a magnet. The child held her hand out to me, begging for a few rupees. I dug my hand deep into my pocket, pulled out all the Indian coins I had, and carefully tipped them into her dark, skeletal hand. I turned and stumbled back out into the hot Indian sun, my eyes blinded by tears.
On the way back to my room I wondered if, in a few hundred years, some half-black descendant of mine would be sitting among the ruins of our civilization, brushing away the flies, waiting to die. Every day our nation grows a little darker from the torrential immigration of non-Whites, high non-White birthrates, and increasing racial miscegenation — and with each passing day, we see the quality of our lives decline. Crime is ever on the increase, drug activity proliferates, educational quality declines, and the American standard of living suffers. There are those who ridicule the healthy racial values of our forefathers and replace them with the pseudo-science of egalitarianism. Treason to our heritage thrives, and corruption feeds in the highest places.
All that keeps our society afloat are the small number of scientists and technicians (predominately Caucasian) who continue to create technological wizardry that cushions the impact of the economic slide caused by lower individual productivity and the dependency of the growing Welfare underclass. Somehow, the increasingly hard-pressed, White middle class keeps the wheels turning (and taxes flowing into the social structure) — but with decreasing efficiency.
To the plaudits of the media, the Pariahs — the Untouchables — are slowly replacing the Brahmin of America and the entire Western world. The hideous skeletal girl in that prophetic setting of that Indian temple was my glimpse of the future of the Western world. If that bleak future is to be avoided, it will require each person who understands the racial truth to act with resolve and a sense of urgency.
The nation of India, like most of the Third World, has already passed the point of no return. She cannot feed or otherwise adequately take care of herself, not even with repeated injections of Western capital, aid, and technology. The huge populace of modern-day India cannot sustain the level of culture and economic well-being that its high-caste forebears created.
It is not, however, too late for America and the West. No matter how dark our destiny may appear, there is enough genetic treasure among our people to fashion a road to the stars. Those who know the racial truth often excuse their inaction by expressing pessimism. Suggesting that “the battle is already lost” is often simply an excuse for cowardice. Our race’s struggle for survival and evolutionary advancement became the meaning of my life when I looked into that little Indian girl’s forlorn face, for I then knew exactly what I must do. Prospects of victory or defeat became irrelevant to my responsibility and my honor. I resolved to live my life in the original meaning of the term Aryan, a noble life of dedication to my people. My life from that moment onward has been in the service of my people and the Promethean task ahead. I became determined that my life would be about awakening the Aryan inside of every European.
When I grow weary in this battle and I find my character smeared or my personal life attacked, that girl’s gaunt face is there to haunt me, to drive me onward. When my personal safety — or that of my loved ones — is threatened, that girl’s pleading countenance is there to remind me, in the most graphic terms what failure would mean for our progeny. I learned that it was my responsibility to do all that I could for the survival of my heritage. In the crisis our race now faces, all of us who know the truth must carry that same personal responsibility, and with it the understanding that any individual danger or suffering must be endured when the fate of our whole people is at stake. Such was the altruism that brought our forebears through the crucible of the ice ages of prehistoric Europe, and now we must draw from that genetically imprinted trait as we stand on the brink of being inundated by the masses of the Third World.
Before my journey to India, the racial ideals that I believed in were abstract concepts and principles. In the moment I saw that emaciated child in the ruins, all my ideas were dramatically transformed into the reality of flesh and blood. I finally realized that my cause is different than that of an athletic contest, business competition, winning of an election, or even struggling for an important new scientific discovery. It is not about being right or wrong about ideas, but about the very essence of life itself — the natural laws that provide its beauty, character, and meaning. Seeing the child in the temple changed an intellectual commitment into a holy obligation.
A passage from the Bhagavad Gita comes to mind:
Likewise having regard for duty to your caste
You should not tremble;
For in a warrior, there exists no better thing than
A fight required of duty (Chapter 2, Verse 30)
I realized that day, in the scorching Indian sun outside that ruined temple, that I had to adopt the spirit of an Aryan warrior who understood the current struggle of our race transcends the centuries. Selfish pursuits seemed trivial, and my life became interwoven with the Cause, a Cause that I knew I could not abandon.
Through years of heartbreak and hardship, physical weariness and character assassination — but also in the exhilarating moments of success and acclaim — my heart has remained true. The flame that ignited in me on that hot August day in India in 1971 is still white hot and imperishable.
It was at that point that I realized who I am. I am an Aryan — a word that has evolved through the centuries to denote those of our race who are racially aware and racially committed. Before I saw that half-breed little girl in the ruins, I was a racially conscious White person. Afterward I was a White person who had become completely committed to the preservation and evolutionary advancement of his people. Not only was I awakened to the truths of race, I was awakened to the sacred purpose of all those who came before us, and those who will follow us in the unbroken spiral toward the heavens. I had become an Aryan.
* * *
“My Indian Odyssey” is an excerpt from David Duke’s political autobiography, My Awakening; the photographs, as well as the captions that accompany them, do not appear in the original. The essay recounts Duke’s visit to India in 1971. He was returning from Vientianne, Laos, where he had instructed anti-Communist Laotian Army and Air Force officers near the end of the Vietnam War.