“IDRF announced a donation of $25,000 towards relief efforts following the World Trade Center collapse. .. the people responsible for perpetrating the disaster were Muslims, and the victims largely non-Muslim”
Thus did Girish Agrawal, Angana Chatterji, Shalini Gera, Biju Mathew, Ali Mir, S. Ravi Rajan and Elahe Heptullah, brilliantly “prove”, in a report after “five years of meticulous research” (M5R), their “simple and single conclusion – the IDRF does fund hate”. The donation mentioned was to the families of New York firefighters after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA. This exemplified the heavily-funded, choreographed hate campaign by Ms. Teesta Setalwad’s Sabrang Communications and the US-based Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL) in 2002-2003 to deprive Indian orphans, tribal kids, earthquake and leprosy-patients of their only source of hope. This was enough “evidence” to impress the Indian English-media experts (see box) who participated in their hyena-pack attack on the India Development and Relief Fund.
Their assault collapsed in utter humiliation. FOIL’s spokesman Dr. Vinay Lal Associate Professor of History at University of California at Los Angeles, removed all doubt about their standards, stubbornly maintaining that the Meeraj Medical Center, an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church of North America, was an “RSS” institution set up for the sole purpose of “Hinduization”.
For a while, there was relative quiet. Then they found new contracts as “Kashmir Researchers”. But, like the wild onions in my lawn, they’re back again and flowering this year, hoping you’ve forgotten. If I don’t tell you what I know, who will speak for the orphans at the Vatsalya Trust, the tsunami survivors in Nagapattinam and the Andamans, the patients at the Kushta Nivaran Sangh, and the tribal kids at the Ekal Vidyalayas? So “its yesterday once more”.
As a shocked world rushed aid (I mean help, not the organization aligned with the DYFI, ‘mass organ of the Marxist Communist Party of India’) to the tsunami-devastated areas, the FOIL were equally busy. They were spewing hate, exhorting the gullible to not support the rescuers, again using the same bogus M5R “Report”. They were doing this from email servers run by the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and using Pakistani propaganda websites, through their new spokesman and so-called “Watchdog Academic”, “Ra” Ravishankar. Obstructing help to the needy is, after all, what the FOIL does best. But it is by no means the only thing they do well.
Dr. Angana Chatterji of the Progressive South Asians (PROXSA) which is the mother-ship of the FOIL, and of their lately formed “Coalition Against Genocide”  is in the ‘news’ again. Their Network has now expanded to such impressive names as “Promise of India”, and with the Marxist Communists actively in government in New Delhi, they can smell their stated goal:
“Lal kile par lal nishaan
Maang raha hai Hindustan”
(The Red Banner over the Red Fort – begs India – a mandatory essay topic for candidates taking the State Education Board exams in Marxist-ruled West Bengal. Probably a required question on all job applications when the Lal Nishaan files over the Lal Kila).
My congratulations to the Comrades. I feel that the desi community deserves to learn much more about the toils of the FOIL – by far the most powerful “South Asian” organization in America after General Musharraf’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)  – then again, per Pakistani newspapers,10, they may not be that different.
The Comrades have worked tirelessly – and, quite contrary to what they say, they did not start in February 2005, shocked by the Gujarat Chief Minister’s impending visit, or in March 2002, shocked by the Gujarat riots. Their “Coalition Against Genocide” is just the latest in a vast array of organizations, all run, and perhaps funded, by basically the same entities5. They started many years ago. Some of what follows is repeated from what was posted on the internet- my thanks to that user. Please be patient.
The FOIL Primer
In May 1997, Indians all over the world were preparing for the 50th anniversary of Independence. So were the FOIL in the US – not to celebrate, but to focus on India’s failure to come up to their standards of perfection. In their own words:
“Ghadar – a bimonthly publication of the forum of indian leftists Volume 1: Number 1, May 1, 1997 Editorial: Ghadar arrives!. … a journal slash newsletter slash rag that is born out of a need for the left to have a print medium for organizing and discussion. We, the “left,” are diasporic Indians (and South Asians) in the US, and some in Europe, who have banded together under FOIL (Forum of Indian Leftists). FOIL’s goals are to put forth into the mainstream the ideas of secularism, social justice, and equality. .. Names such as “Red Brownie”, “Samvaad”, and “Counterfoil” poured in. “Ghadar” won by a reasonable margin in a vote. … this issue was put together by Sanjay Anand, Rahul De’, Shubra Gururani, Bikku Kuruvilia, Biju Mathew, Niraj Pant, Gautam Premnath, Mir Ali Raza, Sharmila Rudrappa, Anitha, S. and Gautam Sethi. Address all correspondence to: Ghadar, c/o Mir Ali Raza, School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. Or by email to email@example.com. This publication is partially funded by readers like you.”
The patriotism brought tears to my eyes. I wondered who funded the rest. But why May Day 1997? Just to celebrate the Bolshevik Bloodbath of 1917? The answer was readily explained: “Speakers Bureau: Going along pretty well too. The brochure is ready and beginning to get circulated. Some offers to speak have also come along. Especially in the context of the 50th year of independence this may be a very important project. There are many places/organizations who are desperately looking for people who can come and deliver 30 minute talks. Why not ensure a good lefty talk? Also, most places offer modest honorariums and these monies could be the best way to fund various FOIL activities. What we lack currently are volunteers who are willing to spend those 2 or 3 days in the next nine months doing this. Vijay Prashad is coordinating this project.”
The origins of FOIL are described by Sidhartha in an article in 2000 : “In 1991, Biju Mathew, Sangeeta Kamat and Madhav Prasad started … Sanskriti. It dealt with issues ranging from the Narmada movement to communalism to Hinduja investments in Columbia University’s `Indic Studies’ programme. .. FOIL grew out of Sanskriti. It now connects hundreds of South Asians through the Net. Biju Mathew was the spirit behind it, although in the early days Vijay Prasad, the rambunctious Marxist scholar from Hartford .. was an ardent collaborator. FOIL became both a clearing-house and a networking tool. It put talks onto the Net (for example: `Diwali and de-colonisation’).”
Dr. Vijay Prasad of Trinity College, Connecticut is the author of “Red Salute to Chairman Ho” (Ho chi Minh, Communist dictator of North Vietnam who caused the deaths of several million innocent Vietnamese, and over 55,000 Americans and Australians sent to protect them). Dr. Prashad has long worried about the dangers of the Yankee-Yehudi-Yindoo (YYY) combine to the true ‘democracies’ of the world (see his definition):
“The restless lions of west and south Asia join the tigers of east Asia to encircle China and the predominantly Muslim states of west and central Asia. … eager to undermine the political process with the sorts of hardware that ensures that our world remain undemocratic. Empire is alive and well.”
Dr. Vijay Prashad is disgusted by the desi community’s obscene traditions of working for a living, bringing up families, abiding by the laws, etc. Caswell, quotes a Prashad declaration, eerily redolent of a desi Rev. Jim Jones: “My main idea is for us to commit model minority suicide!” And he’s clearly striving to help the community along towards this noble goal. As for “Genocide”, they have been fantasizing about that for a long time. Niraj Pant went through contortions in “Ghadar” in 1997, trying to argue that the active and articulate presence of women in Indian society and politics proved his fantasy of a predeliction towards genocide against minorities.
The second issue of Ghadar summarized the FOIL’s Independence Day celebration. I’ll leave the pleasure of perusing that to the reader. The Ghadar creators’ list was essentially unchanged. No doubt the FOIL agitated after the May 11, 1998 nuclear tests (as opposed to the Pakistani tests) and were instrumental in getting the US to impose sanctions on India – after all, look at their awesome influence in the State Department, White House, Congress etc. per Angana Chatterji. By the third issue (November 1998) they listed an email server “as a space for discussion, information, and the mobilization of support for various petitions and rallies”, coordinated by Raju Rajan at an IBM.com email address, as well as a PROXSA website and two more run by “FOILers” S.P. Udaykumar and Harsh Kapoor. Ghadar, the “bimonthly” journal, then disappeared, to surface again in May 2000. The Globalization protests were only a few months away. The Editorial Board had expanded.
Victorious – Over the New York Traffic Police
In September 2000 the FOIL participated in “New York People’s Assembly Against Imperialist Globalization (NYPAAIG), a new multi-tendency city-wide anti-imperialist coalition, and the occasion was the final day of the UN Millenium Summit”. In their own words: “NYPAAIG was formed, bringing together such organizations as the Colombia Action Committee (CAC), International Action Center (IAC), Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP), Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Forum of Indian Leftists, Direct Action Network and Student Liberation Action Movement…
Manco Rojas of the CSRP spoke, denouncing Peruvian President Fujimori as a fascist puppet of US imperialism, … calling for support for the people’s war led by the Communist Party of Peru to overthrow Fujimori. After further speakers … the crowd chanted “USA-CIA Out of Peru!” and “Fujimori, CIA, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” before marching to the El Salvador consulate. This was victory number two for the people: the police had declared no marching. “Many heads turned at the sight of 90 people carrying signs and a 22 foot banner reading “Down with U.S. Imperialism!” and chanting “Brick by Brick, Wall by Wall, US Rule is Gonna Fall!”
Another victory. Another blow against the system of democratically-elected governments. Another call to overthrow elected governments, in the best traditions of the Red Revolution. Another traffic jam caused to the Petty-Bourgeouis Running Dogs of the Paper Tigers of Capitalist Imperialism (if I remember those Maoist rants from the loudspeakers in Marxist-ruled Kerala right). The FOIL’s later condemnation of IDRF for sending money to the families of fallen New York firefighters is seen to be no accident – it is completely consistent with their contempt of of law and order and of those who must enforce it.
The FOIL’s leading light, as the above indicates, is Dr. Biju Mathew. He is described, at least since early 2002, as a “Professor” – a promotion that Rider University, New Jersey, appears to be failing to recognize – they still describe him as an associate professor! Interesting university website too – Rider university students are invited to be inspired by the UnaBomber Manifesto, Puerto Rican secessionists,and various Marxist discussion groups,. They are also asked to donate money to worthy causes such as FOIL’s travel and entertainment kitty, the SINGH Foundation (last we checked, 52% overhead above their “direct program costs” such as screening hate movies and travel for their trustees). They are specifically exhorted to send money to SINGH for their friends and later sponsors, Teesta Setalwad and Javed Anand of Sabrang Communications, who need to avoid working for a living. This is another FOIL success story – today Ms. Setalwad and her organization are obviously doing much better than in 1995, though one must admit that the high life in the Juhu, Mumbai equivalent of Beverly Hills or Fifth Avenue must require lots of money. In the best traditions of Marxism, the SINGH Foundation appears to be intended to support the philosophy of “Rob The Rich and Feed The Poor – And WE Are The Poor! You see why Setalwad was so grateful later, funding the FOIL’s masterpiece, the “landmark report” on IDRF. More on that report in the Appendix.
Let me not convey the impression that all the writings of the FOIL are so negative. Quite the contrary, I assure you. I have seen nothing even remotely negative about Communist China, the Soviet Gulag, the Siberian People’s Paradises, the 1989 Tien An Men Square People’s Liberation Army Tank-Tread Lubrication Event where they ran over the Democracy-demanding “splittists” (children), The Red Guards Re-Education Movement, Fidel Castro’s respect for the idea that dissidence is the highest form of patriotism, Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnamese People’s Paradise, the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot and the Genocides (sorry! “Re-Educations”, perhaps?) in Cambodia, the Sudan, or Rwanda, or the Myanmar dictatorship. Comrade Fidel is lovingly praised in FOIL writings. Likewise, in “Red Star Over West Bengal”, Dr. Prashad speaks lovingly of the Marxist communist government of West Bengal, which hosted him for a conducted tour of that People’s Paradise. He wants us to be assured that it is free of crime, corruption or inefficiency, the people delighted with the wonderfully approachable and compassionate Political Officers at the rural offices. Of course the media reports on the horrors of Marxist rule in West Bengal, for example on opposition candidates being ruthlessly assassinated, must be all imperialist lies?
The point of the above FOIL Primer is to show their long history of dedication to the Red Cause, and the fact that they have been extremely well-organized with a network at least since221998, and confirmed to be so since 2000, with at least “hundreds” of members14. The general criterion for their activism appears to be: “Is this something that helps people get jobs, get education, get hope, get the right to vote and express their views? If so, oppose it!” I am sure this takes a rather rare talent and mindset, even more so than nuclear science or genetic engineering. Now to some indications of funding sources that keep such organizations and their efforts thriving.
The Shansi-Oberlin Declaration
In late Fall 2001, with America in upheaval after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and realizing some measure of common cause with India and Israel, the dreaded “YYY” alliance loomed. Some people had other priorities in mind. Oberlin College, Ohio, was busily organizing a conference for April 2002. The Conference was titled “Siting Secularism in India”. Papers were solicited. The funding for the conference came from the generous Oberlin Shansi Foundation. Interestingly, Prof. Needham of the English Department, listed as the organizer and contact point for the conference, was also listed as a Trustee of the very Foundation that was funding the conference she was organizing.
If the Conference produced any Proceedings, they are not to be found on the internet, and the actual list of speakers is also long gone. What remains however is the Oberlin Declaration of April 21, 2002. Coming within 6 weeks of the Gujarat riots triggered by the Godhra atrocity of February 27, the 45 signatories declared the Indian government guilty of genocide, etc. etc. The signatories came from the US, India, UK and France. “Professor”(?) Biju Mathew of Rider University, “Professor”(?) Raza Mir of Monmouth college and Harsh Kapoor of the South Asia Citizens’ Web, were all there. Harsh Kapoor had flown in all the way from France for the event, despite the travails of air travel in those days. Six days after the conference, the Declaration had appeared on Kapoor’s PROXSA website run by the South Asia Citizens’ Web in France.
How was such a conference with so stellar a constellation of Marxist and related invitees organized in so timely a manner? Why was the Shansi Foundation so interested in “Siting Secularism in India”, and who is the Shansi Foundation? These questions apparently drove internet user Abdul Binmao12 to a different age, and across the world. The facts cited by Binmao are on the internet all right, as of this writing.
The Shansi Connection
Oberlin College is an ancient institution, reputed for its liberal admission policies and inclusive environment. It was also thus favored by “leftist” (some would say “Communist”) academics, from the days of the Russian Revolution, through the horrors of the McCarthy era. “Shansi” used to be “Shanxi”, a city and province in China. In the 19th century, Christian missionaries from the US opened a mission there. During the Boxer Rebellion, the missionaries were killed and dumped in ditches. After the rebellion was suppressed, their remains were exhumed and moved to a proper graveyard. The Mission’s sponsors evolved into an academic institution, fostering China-US exchanges. They also expanded into India, particularly South India, bringing Chinese studies there, and Indians to the US. The thrust was still to spread Chinese culture. In the 1950s, all contact with the People’s Republic was cut off, and the Foundation focused more on India.
Then, circa 1998 (coincidentally, about when the FOIL found resources to start “Ghadar”) the Shansi Foundation found favor with the Beijing regime again. Now there are excellent contacts with Shansi University – presumably with official blessings from the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China.
The Second Coming of Ghadar
Ghadar reappeared suddenly after a two-year absence, and with evident hurry – on February 21, 2002. “After lying dormant for nearly two years, this occasional publication of the Forum of Indian Leftists has been revived through the efforts of those who felt its absence. In our discussions about what the journal represents, we agreed on the continuing need for more arenas where debates and conversations on the South Asian left can take place. This issue only initiates one such forum: we solicit articles for future, longer, issues…. This issue was put together by Priyamvada Gopal, Ashwini Tambe, Anhoni Patel, Murli Natrajan, Biju Mathew, Raza Mir, Amitava Kumar, Rahul De’, Gautam Premnath, Usha Zacharias and Maya Yajnik. Address all correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org] ”
Guilty Conscience? The curious declaration of how the FOIL got together
In late 2001/ early 2002, with activity heating up, there was a conference in the Washington DC area, attended by leaders of the Forum of Indian Leftists (US representatives of the Communist Party of India- Marxist), the political charities AID-INDIA, ASHA and ICA, FOIL’s own private SINGH Foundation, EktaOnline, FOSA (Friends of South Asia) and their gang. The exterior purpose was to organize the attack against pro-Indian charitable fundraising in the US.
Now we come to the surprise: the FOIL claims that its members were able to organize so quickly after the riots broke out, only because they had screened a movie by Anand Patwardhan in January 2002. From the June 21, 2002 issue of Ghadar: “When news stories from Gujarat first hit our screens in late February, we had just finished organizing a screening of Anand Patwardhan’s film ‘Jung aur Aman’ (War and Peace). Unlike some other Patwardhan film shows which have been sabotaged by vitriolic Hindutvavadis, the DC event had a highly sympathetic audience, and provided an opportunity for us to connect with each other. The email addresses exchanged helped mobilize an immediate response four days later, as the horror of state ministers condoning killings and police inaction unfolded. About seven of us, from organizations such as FOIL (Forum of Indian Leftists), ASHA for Education-DC, and AID (Association for India’s Development) met, finalized a date for a peace rally and a meeting with the ambassador, made posters and agreed on the text of a petition. We mobilized every media outlet at our means, including local desi newspapers; publicized the petition on the internet; and distributed flyers at public events, including desi film screenings. Three days later, the petition denouncing the state’s complicity and inaction had been signed by 600 signatories.”
Remember that in 1998 they had already established email lists and servers, had websites all over the world, and they had been continuously in contact since 1991. The FOIL, PROXSA, FOSA, and SACW started their diligent “research” (which consisted of downloading pages posted by IDRF on the website www.idrf.org ) “five years of meticulous research” before November 2002. Shouldn’t I assume from this that all the co-authors of the report knew each other since November 1997? Apparently not, according to the FOIL’s “FAQ”, as of January 2003: “We found each other – via the internet and through personal contacts – in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots earlier this year.”
Why the apparent guilty conscience? What were they covering up? The Oberlin Declaration? Why? What was wrong in crediting the conference for bringing vital members together? Why hide their links?
Consider the evidence. From the PROXSA website on FOIL (date impossible to determine, but certainly post 1997 and pre-2002): “We feel it is time to launch such a forum so that in time we might join together to take common positions and intervene on political matters. Isolation only helps the ruling clique; we need to organize ourselves. Hence FOIL!”
As for “mobilizing every media outlet at our disposal”, the same page gave directions years ago30. “Project on Media Presence : The unique strength of the Indian left outside India is that a significant number of us make our living through writing – either within the academy or outside it. For a group with such a skill it is indeed surprising that our presence in the diaspora’s media arms – newspapers, magazines, tv shows etc. is next to nonexistent. A constant and visible effort in such centrists newspapers such as India Abroad, India Tribune, India West etc. is possible with a little planning. One way of looking at it is simply that between the fifty odd of us, if each of us volunteer to put out one article for one such newspaper or magazine every year we would have said something literally every week. Contact Amitava Kumar for volunteering on this project.” My congratulations to Amitava Kumar. The media co-option was certainly effective when the attack on IDRF came out – obedient articles uncritically parroting the FOIL’s propaganda appeared with regularity from A.K. Sen of OUTLOOK, Ashwin Mahesh of IndiaTogether, Ashfaq Swapan of IndiaWest who blatantly twisted responses from IDRF’s Vijay Pallod and Aziz Haniffa of India Abroad who did likewise to his long-time acquaintance, Vinod Prakash.
One final point: According to the same PROXSA page, the objective of FOIL was: “Our bourgeois ‘leaders’ and their friends in Washington need to get a wake-up call which blows their eardrums: I think we can in our noisy, desi manner concoct something suitable. Let FOIL be that noise!” Now I am by no means suggesting that the “noise” that blew eardrums was the one on September 11, 2001. But as for later events, who am I to say?
The Methodology of Research Fraud
I spent a great deal of time in 2002/2003 investigating the level of truth in the FOIL’s Report and subsequent noise, much of it as Devil’s Advocate as I sought any scrap of evidence that they were justified in their attacks on IDRF, Ekal Vidyalaya, the Kushta Nivaran Sangh, the Meeraj Medical Center, and a hundred and seventy-five-plus other organizations whom they and their 320-strong South Asia Faculty gang and media gang tried to destroy. Before we wrote the Friends of India Rebuttal report titled “A Factual Response to the Hate Attack Against the India Development and Relief Fund”, the FOIL had every opportunity to support their statements in the M5R. The day the M5R came out – November 22, 2002, an open discussion moderated by people who are by no means “Hindutva” or even Hindu, was started at the Bharat-Rakshak Forum, focused on the simple aim of determining the seriousness of the M5R, starting by emailing Biju Mathew and his cohorts. The Mathew response was to “read our report!” which of course we proceeded to do, and to discuss it out in the open. Those discussions are still available on the internet, and the reader interested in fair debate is invited to peruse those. Dr. Beloo Mehra, Ramesh Rao and I35 all published articles at Sulekha.com, with free, uncensored comments running for months of argument following these. Not a single argument supporting any of the charges of the FOIL, survived honest debate. One of the more persistent of their defenders, cornered in debate, emailed the FOIL authors to come bail him out. He posted a response purportedly from one of the M5R authors, to the effect that they did not wish to argue with the likes of (Yours Truly).
There are several good reasons why they can’t afford to argue in open fora, none of them having to do with any shyness or standards of civilized behavior, as rough as “Sulekha” discussions can be. The FOIL follows several interesting schemes, which would get any student a swift trip to the Dean’s office, and at least a temporary holiday from school in the form of a suspension. For the FOIL faculty and perhaps some of their institutions, this apparently constitutes normal academic integrity. Before I launch into this, let me state my own concepts of research:
- You survey what is occurring, try to visualize details (and in this case the motivations) of the phenomena involved, carefully and objectively.
- You look at what others have done before, and think carefully about why they said what they said.
- As you continue to study thoroughly and in detail, you begin to form hypotheses on simpler models for the whole situation
- You TEST those hypotheses with brutal honesty and as best you can. And that’s when you really start to understand, because honesty forces you to discard or completely revise your initial hypothesis as you understand the situation really in depth.
- You then report the TRUTH that you found.
- And THEN you form your conclusions as dictated to you by the EVIDENCE that you collected.
You try to avoid getting caught like Dr. Vinay Lal of UCLA, being too lazy and arrogant to wonder why people are rolling around on the floor holding their tummies when you wax pompous about your superior status as an Academic, nor do you indulge in what Dr. Biju Mathew has been doing: he declared to the Christian Science Monitor recently that the idea of actual EVIDENCE being needed to support a heinous accusation is outmoded, because “these days you don’t expect to find a smoking gun or a marked currency bill turning up”. Here’s what FOIL’s “researchers” did, as they wrote their M5R. Of course, this worked fine for their primary audience – themselves, their sponsors and the media “stars” whom they conned with consummate ease.
- They decided that anyone who supported the National Democratic Alliance that won Indian elections in 1998 and 1999 was a fascist saffron Hindutva hate-monger, bent on committing Genocide against Minorities. Thus, I too became one in their assessment, because I donated money to help Indian soldiers’ and police personnel’s families. Why not? If helping New York firefighters’ families after 9/11 is anti-Muslim, helping Indian soldiers’ families is even worse, isn’t it? it’s anti-Pakistan and anti-Red China! Its very simple: Are you of Indian descent and do you sometimes feel bad that the integrity of India is under attack? Then you are a hate-mongering genocidal maniac according to the FOIL. Welcome to the club.
- They ascribed any contact with democratically-elected representatives at the local level, or with government-appointed officials, as proof of violent criminality. For example, one “allegation” was that the inauguration of some IDRF-funded project (an orphanage, if I recall correctly) was attended by an Indian Central Cabinet Minister! This is very interesting. I have been at school functions presided-over by Marxist Members of the Legislature. Doesn’t that “prove” that I am a flaming Marxist?
- Another “allegation” was that the “Unofficial Ambassador to the Non-Resident Indian diaspora” appointed by the Prime Minister, had endorsed some IDRF project. The fact that he is an accomplished Law Professor, and served as aide to the Governor of Louisiana (who must thus also be a saffron genocidal maniac by the same token), was of course not mentioned. That such contacts are normal in any democracy – that after the elections are over, you respect the elected government whoever you voted for, was of course lost on these Revolutionaries. Thus, all 300 million-plus who voted for the NDA are fascist hate-mongers, and all 1.1 billion law-abiding citizens and diaspora, minus the few thousand communists, Taliban supporters, South Asia Faculty and other traitors and terrorists, are all fascist hate-mongers.
I, on the other hand, voted, the one time they let me, for the Congress Party – right after the Khalistan terrorists, present friends of the FOIL, murdered my Prime Minister. I was very young then. So the FOIL should love me, right? Wrong! I forgot. I also supported our troops in Kargil and their families with donations through IDRF. That, in the FOIL’s view, definitely makes me a baby-disembowelin’, rioter-lovin’ extremist. Q.E.D.
- They thus showed their lynch-mob mentality where the terms “Hindu”, “Sangh”, “Parivar” are all assumed to be evil (see the Appendix for an analysis of their “logic”). They concealed the fact that all these are perfectly legitimate religious and/or social organizations in India, including the so-called RSS, and always have been. I am sure there are some who have wished the RSS would go away, but these are probably outnumbered 100 to 1 by those who wish the Muslim League, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its many terrorist mutations, as well as the Hurriyat secessionists, the Khalistan secessionists, would all go away. Unfortunately, it’s a secular democracy, not one of those People’s or Houristan Paradises that Dr. Angana Chatterji and her gang idealize.
- They divided IDRF-funded organization names into those that had Indian names and those that had English names. The ones with English names they generally left alone – for example, the Aurobindo Trust which has received lots of funding from IDRF. Why? Because a follower of Shri Aurobindo founded the California Institute of Integral Studies that employs Dr. Angana Chatterji in her nominal profession? Also, because people outside India have heard of Aurobindo, and there are a lot of westerners, potentially dangerous to the FOIL because they have access to mainstream western media. The FOIL prefers to pick on those who are not likely to hit back and expose them, such as the gentle Dr. and Mrs. Vinod Prakash of IDRF.
- The ones with Indian names, incomprehensible to gullible westerners, South Asia Faculty and others illiterate in Indian culture, they coolly described as “hate-mongering”. Examples:
- Kushta Nivaran Sangh in Hindi means “Leprosy Patient Relief Association. Ooo! “Sangh!” Criminal, obviously? Read what they do, and how Angana Chatterji, Shalini Gera, Biju Mathew and their gang slandered these real-life heroes.
- Vatsalya Charitable Trust “Vatsalya” means “affection, care” – qualities which make them one of the world’s best orphanage organizations, sought-after for their expertise in caring for traumatized orphans that they literally save off the streets in many cases.
- Dr. Balasaheb Ambedkar Vaidyakeeya Pratishthan. “Vaidyakeeya Pratishthan” means, to the local Harijan (“Dalit”?) villagers that this is a “Medical Center”. The FOIL cannot stand the fact that IDRF funding to a medical center in the middle of a “Dalit” area debunks their propaganda that the “RSS” or BJP are “anti-Dalit”. This is just as bad from their point of view as the IDRF helping tribal children get an Indian education, midday lunches, and opportunity to join the mainstream, thus cutting in the Communists’ terrorist recruitment base.
- Krishi Prayog Parivar. Ooo!! “Parivar” as in “Sangh Parivar”! FOIL cons the gullible by classifying this organization as “Religious/RSS”, set up for “Hinduization/ Education/ Conversion”. “Krishi” means “agriculture”. “Prayog” means “practices” or “techniques”. “Parivar” means “society”. According to Frederick Noronha in his newspaper feature article on how the internet is bringing solutions to Indian farmers, this is a sample of what they do: ”Farmers in Karnataka switched over to non-chemical, organic farming after an NGO, Krishi Prayog Parivar, highlighted the benefits of such an approach on the society news group.”
There are at least 181 more organizations like those, supported by IDRF. I GOOGLE-d as many of them as time permitted, and solicited any other information through all those long internet discussions. There was never a scrap of evidence that IDRF was doing anything other than giving money to help approved, commendable projects, and being superbly efficient and effective. On the other hand, reading about the projects enraged me against those who would write such abuse against the brave people who ran them.
Girish Agrawal, Angana Chatterji, Shalini Gera, Biju Mathew, Ali Mir, Ali, S. Ravi Rajan and Elahe Heptullah described each of the above organizations as organizations set up to propagate hatred. I must suggest that they did this deliberately, since they had over five years to think about it before, and now 3 years since to retract. Far from retracting, they are still peddling these outrages. In 2003, as it dawned on them that their falsehoods had been exposed, they declared that the “fascists” (that would be moi, one supposes) had latched on to “one error” and used that cruelly to destroy their credibility. True, we nearly hurt ourselves laughing at their “FAQ” and the declarations of Dr. Vinay Lal (who took pains to remind people that he was Associate Professor of History at UCLA and hence superior to us ignorant peasants) but my problem is this: Which particular lie are they claiming to be that “error”? What about the hundreds of others in their “report” and their “FAQ” and their myriad Press Releases and articles and interviews?
The point is – it DID dawn on them by December 2002 that they had laid an egg – a Report that did not have a single piece of evidence pointing to their “single, simple conclusion”. But in the years since, Angana Chatterji, Shalini Gera and Biju Mathew have continued to peddle the same garbage. That goes far beyond anything excusable as academic disagreement.
This drives me to an inescapable train of logic – with apologies in advance to offending the gentle desi reader’s “Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil” sensibilities. The co-authors of that Meticulous 5-Year Report are not kindergartners. They include several with PhDs – degrees that denote accomplishment and standards of research. Dr. Vinay Lal pompously reminded us that they are employed to teach young people, others to do life-critical research. How did they sign off on a report full of such glaring falsehoods and cooked-up data – after five years of meticulous research? Of course, they weren’t alone – they also got 300-odd other South Asia Chairs, Commodes etc. to “endorse” their report, all signing with their pompous furniture titles and affiliations, bringing lasting disrepute to those institutions.
Academic Honesty at the CIIS, Stanford Medical College, Rider University, Trinity College and Westfield State College
Dr. Shalini Gera, then associated with the Stanford University Medical School, is no stranger to the medical profession, and could see perfectly well that the Vivekananda Medical Mission in Kerala was bringing desperately needed succour to people who literally had no access and no money to access, any other medical care. But that did not stop her from describing that organization of heroes and those who funded them, as hate-mongers. Her later employer advertised her thus: “Dr. Gera makes a valuable addition to the (firm name deleted) team. Her interdisciplinary background and strong quantitative and analytical skills are important in projects requiring technical knowledge and intellectual rigor. Her familiarity with academic and pharmaceutical research provides the necessary background for undertaking several complicated projects in highly specialized fields. She has written articles for scientific publications as well as popular trade journals, and can communicate effectively with technical as well as non-technical audience.” Awesome. But don’t “familiarity with academic research” and “communicating effectively with a non-technical audience” come with a responsibility to be honest? Can a person of such “intellectual rigor” be unaware that the report she co-authored was blatantly false, and used cooked-up “data” to prove what is diametrically opposite to the truth? Are these acceptable standards of research integrity?
Another experience might shed better light on these issues. One week after the FOIL put up a Petition attacking IDRF, concerned citizens got together and put up a site called www.LetIndiaDevelop.org with a Petition to Let India Develop. Within days, that Petition had left the FOIL’s petition in the dust, as people rushed to tell the FOIL to quit hate-mongering. The attackers then bought the name “www.LetIndiaDevelop.com” and used it to mislead voters to their site instead. This is in my view utterly contemptible. When outraged readers alerted the Internet Service Provider to this fraud, the ISP published the name and address of the buyer. At that time, the address of the site-buyer was P.O. Box 20136, Stanford, CA 94309. This was the same as the mailing address of, of the “Friends of South Asia” (FOSA), run by Akhila Raman, later described as a “Kashmir Researcher” and a prominent organizer of the “Kashmir Forum” which the Pakistani media described11 as being funded and dictated from Islamabad. Today, that P.O. Box is listed as the address to send checks to “Ekta” for “Organizing Youth!” Today, the owner’s telephone number listed there, is listed as that of Shalini Gera, with a Stonewood Lane, San Jose address. Same person? Your guess is as good as mine.
Dr. Angana Chatterji is no stranger to the realities of tribal village life in the Narmada valley, unless I am wrong in believing her claims of having been there, as she and her well-funded anarchist gang from the extreme leftist EarthLife Foundation obstructed the government’s desperate efforts to deliver drinking water to the thirsty, long-suffering women and children of Kutch. She knows how much the tribal kids in India need access to education, and hope for the future, if she spent any time looking at the tribals she was supposedly protecting from the Narmada dam waters. She knew this as she attempted to destroy the Ekal Vidyalayas – the one-teacher schools.
The FOIL’s respect for facts can be seen in their own habits. In the above article, Angana Chatterji cites42 “a million” tribal people “damned” by the Supreme Court of India’s overruling of the agitators. However, the number of displaced families is cited as43 “12,000”. Where did Chatterji get the “million” figure? A tribal family has an average of eighty-three people? Or “million” sounded grander than “60,000” which is probably far less than the number of people whom she was obstructing from access to drinking water? While I too supported her buddy Medha Patkar’s initial stated objective of getting fair compensation and rehabilitation assistance to the displaced villagers, I am yet to see any evidence that Chatterji and her gang ever contributed an iota to anything other than political grandstanding. The tribals were eventually left to fend for themselves as the agitators lost political interest, in the best traditions of Limousine-Marxist anarchism.
This sort of bloating of figures for political purposes, and the obvious cooking of data in the M5R, led me to check into some things where I am qualified to judge for myself. In the American university system, novices with PhDs are hired as Assistant Professors, and given up to 6 years to either get promoted to Associate Professor or get out. Promotion to Associate Professor generally comes with – or is followed by, grant of “tenure”. But that is a far cry from getting promoted to “Professor”.
That promotion may come after six or more years to most people, and is based on merit, not “seniority”. Some retire as Associate Professor – perfectly respectable. What is NOT respectable, nor tolerated in any respectable institution, is for people to arrogate the rank of “Professor” in presenting themselves to the outside world. In kindergartners it may be cute, like the young lady of my acquaintance who used to respond at age 5 to “What grade are you in?” with “MBBS!”. But in grownups, such claims are no less contemptible than claiming a false degree ( a degree only takes 2 to 3 years, versus 6 years of hard work for promotion to Professor) – and doing so in a letter to the Federal Government might actually bring serious action. Which may explain the sudden attack of truth in the inset shown – an aberration in Dr. Chatterji’s claims about herself,,,,. I could fill a page with proof of similar bogus claims, but the point, I believe, is made. There is no room for doubt on this issue.
Dr. Chatterji’s practice of apparently inflating her credentials is routine for FOIL members’ standards of integrity. Dr. Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad have been describing themselves as “Professor” when Rider University, New Jersey and Trinity College, CT continue to describe them as “Associate Professor”. Dr. Usha Zacarias, Editor of the Ghadar edition that was rushed out a week before the Godhra event, and Dr. Raza Mir extend the practice to its logical extremes. She describes herself as “Professor” though Westfield State College, Massachusetts insists that she is an “Assistant Professor”. Mir’s web page at the William Paterson University now describes him as an Associate Professor, and lists his prior experience as “Assistant Professor” at Monmouth University – while he was claiming, to be a “Professor” there. The new up-and-coming FOIL leader, “Ra” Ravishankar, graduate assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, describes himself in newspaper diatribes as “an Academic”. Wow! I’ve attended kindergarten at a Catholic Convent. I guess that makes me “Clergy”? Of course, all this increased my respect for Dr. Vinay Lal by orders of magnitude, which was not difficult to do.
If these people can’t even be trusted to honestly state their own credentials, how can we expect them to be objective about other things, and not to falsify data in their reports? If this is acceptable at their employers’ institutions, what kinds of institutions are they, to send your children for an education, or to trust for research results? Do you trust them to insist on standards before conferring degrees? Do PhDs from CIIS mean anything beyond undergraduates playing “Dr.” there? Rider “university”, Trinity College and Westfield State College, mercifully, don’t seem to claim to give PhDs.
It does nauseate me to have to write about such things, but as best I can determine, they are true, and that’s far more nauseating. Here is an adult gang to whom facts don’t matter, who claim to be the revolutionary saviors of the poor against the evil System, and proponents of classless society, but their lack of class is best shown by their petty rush to steal academic rank and other accoutrements of the capitalist, achievement and work-based system that they rail against. That’s really between them and their employers – I never put much faith in what they claimed anyway, but it becomes my business when they use false titles and institutional names to claim respectability for their cooked data and hate-mongering assaults on the organizations that IDRF funds. These organizations are the only hope for hundreds of thousands of the poorest and most destitute of India’s citizens, and the dedicated, determined people who run these havens are too modest and too gentle to hit back at these pompous abusers. Believe me, I’ve tried to get those entities to see why “paritranaya sadhoonam” and sitting around saying “Bhavitavyam Bhavedeva” is not a sufficient strategy when dealing with dishonest “academics” driven by covert funding, and why “turning the other cheek” simply encourages muggers – and that’s why I am so outraged by the sheer viciousness of the FOIL, describing these simple folks as “hate-mongers”. I see no reason to give much leeway to such frauds, when they are caught so blatantly cheating on even their credentials.
Above we have glimpsed the stated purposes, modes of attack, and the vast network of the FOIL. The common thread is one of obstructing any effort by democratic societies to uplift their own standards of living or education. The tactics employed are sheer propaganda, with utter disregard for the truth. Their habits of intellectual dishonesty runs broad and deep. They misrepresent fundraising (see the call for SINGH Foundation to help Sabrang) as being for charitable causes, while it is really for the idle rich, sitting around making political attacks and poisoning community relations. They have strenuously tried to divide society, especially the Indian-American and Indo-British communities, with their unfounded allegations. On close examination, or even with the use of elementary common sense, we find their “research” to be utterly bogus. Even the credentials that they have been presenting repeatedly to the media are bloated and bogus. Their ultimate targets are all democratic, free societies.
Ultimately, it’s not about the FOIL, the PROXSA, their heroes Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or Musharraf. This is about those why try to do what they can, to help the most desperately needy of India. The leprosy patients who seek life, shelter and dignity at the Kushta Nivaran Sangh. Those little children abandoned on a bus or on the street, until the Vatsalya Trust took them in. The women condemned by illiteracy and uncaring society to live on the roadside until Swa-Roopvardhinee took them in and taught them useful trades. The schools that give eager tribal children one shot at becoming modern Indian citizens by taking basic, contextual education to their remote forest villages. This is about little Indian children – and whether they should have access to any education at all, and if so, whether it should be on their own terms and not from the FOIL’s Red Books or AK-47 Manuals. Its whether the kids should have access to nourishment, medical care and opportunity to come up as self-respecting Indian citizens or not, where they can make informed, free choices on who to vote for, and who to pray to.
Angana Chatterji, Biju Mathew, Shalini Gera and their ilk would have you believe that supporting these needy people makes me, and you, dear reader, guilty of barbarous atrocities against our fellow citizens. This is a monstrously vicious assault on decency. Because they don’t have a single iota of evidence, they raise graphic images of the horrors of violence – with extremely biased selectivity.
The facts show that the FOIL is associated with terrorist violence, and is guilty of the violent crimes in India, to a far greater extent than you or I can every be guilty because of our collective responsibility for any particular atrocity against our fellow-humans. Ever wondered why Chatterji and Mathew don’t go around displaying pictures of the innocents in Bengal or Orissa machine-gunned by the Maoist terrorists who share the FOIL’s philosophy (and perhaps their sources of funding)? Why don’t they publish pictures of innocents with their limbs chopped off by the Naxalites? Could it be because those are the same Naxalite terrorists who must have been at that Terrorist Convention that the FOIL’s associates attended?
You won’t hear the Coalition Against Genocide being bothered by the genocides in Cambodia or Tibet, or East Pakistan, or the “Ethnic Cleansing” in the Kashmir Valley or Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, or terrorist-infested Assam. You won’t find pictures on the FOIL websites of the babies who died gasping for breath when Air India Flight 182 was blown up over the Irish Sea, or the 20,000 other innocent victims of the Khalistan terrorists – terrorists whose comrades the FOIL and IMC applauded as invited speakers to demand the breakup of my mother country at the IMC-FOIL Convention in California.
And most importantly, the FOIL rages because in 8 years now of “meticulous research”, they did not find a single piece of any evidence that a penny of fundraising from the US by the IDRF or any other entity whom they accuse, was ever used to fund any sort of violence against anyone, anywhere. But that did not keep them from cooking data – not that the data even then supported their dishonest “conclusion”.
The UK Charities Commission likewise was forced into a wild goose chase since 2002, and ultimately concluded this year that the money collected by the organizations falsely accused by the FOIL’s friends the AWAAZ, had done exactly what they said they would do, with the money that they had collected.
The FOIL whines when readers shocked by their malice, look in sheer amazement at who they are, what motivates such hate, and who spends money on funding it – and why. How are they able to go gallivanting around the world to synchronized press conferences in Mumbai and Chennai in mid-November, when it is the hectic two weeks before Fall Semester Final Exams in the US where they supposedly teach? Why do their bosses let them do this at such times – what sort of funding is involved? Who paid for Chatterji’s jaunts to the Narmada Valley? Who paid for Biju Mathew to go to Puerto Rico to participate in secessionist meetings? Isn’t it fair to ask about the practices and history of those who so callously attack innocent charitable organizations? How long do we put up with their dubious practices?
And as long as there are well-funded, cynically unscrupulous muggers trying to deny Indian children basic opportunity, we must respond as best we can. We could use your help, gentle reader. Please read and understand, and educate others.
As for the FOIL, Associate Professor Angana Chatterji represents them and the California Institute of Integral Studies very well. From someone who attended one her diatribes: “She flared up and said that she is a PROFESSOR at the Institute, and that I was calling her a liar”. Hmmm! How unnecessary!
Satyam Eva Jayate.
APPENDIX: Updated Excerpts from Friends of India:
A Critical Look at the Organized Labor of Hate
Since the FOIL is rehashing its discredited “Report”, it has become necessary to let people see again why their report and propaganda are garbage. The full rebuttal is extensive, but the following deconstruction of the Summary of the FOIL report should let readers see the “allegations” held up to elementary common sense, and judge for themselves. This is excerpted from a web-based document titled “A Critical Look at The Organized Labor of Hate”. References are now cross-linked to the present article.
Summary of Points Made in “THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE OF HATE”
Listing and Classification
The “Meticulous 5-Year Report” (M5R) report titled “Foreign Exchange of Hate”(M5R)1 is clearly a political document more than anything else, and in the customary style of statements and reports from communist entities, it mixes specifics with large amounts of political rhetoric. In this section, we simply list the “points” made in M5R, and classify them into 3 categories, in order to extract any specifics:
Allegations: These are specific allegations of wrong-doing or evil intent.
Rhetoric: Many of the “points” are seen to be merely rhetorical: for example, the argument that “Hindutva has under girded much of the communal violence in India over the last several decades”. One must first accept the definition of “Hindutva” given in “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” before proceeding to this argument – a highly unlikely progression indeed, since it directly contradicts decisions made by the Supreme Court of India on precisely that issue, besides common sense. While India, a nation of over 1 billion people surrounded by totalitarian regimes, has seen much stress and violence in the past 55 years, the fact is that India has survived, and grown much stronger and wealthier, over those “last several decades”. Very few of the violent deaths, injuries or property damage in the “last several decades” have been due to “communal violence” – the Marxist Communists, the Pakistanis, the Red Chinese and secessionist movements encouraged by one or more of the above, have claimed far more lives and done far more damage. Even in the incidents of “communal violence”, it is far from clear who plans such events, if indeed they are planned, and who starts them – many “riots” have originated from such events as someone throwing a stone at a religious procession. For all we know, (maybe the FOIL knows better, since they seemed well-prepared for the news) it was the Communists themselves who poured the fuel under the sleeping passengers in Car S-6 of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. Two days of slum-burning and murders later, no one recalls exactly who threw the first stone. Thus a sweeping declaration such as the above has to be considered to be rhetoric. There are many such declarations among the “points” made in the “Foreign Exchange of Hate”.
Whines: For example, consider the statement: “(IDRF is)….a major conduit of funds for Hindutva organizations in India”. What exactly is the allegation here? IDRF collects money legally, and sends it to organizations, which are authorized by Indian law to receive it. These organizations then route the money to those best equipped to use it for the originally intended purpose, to the satisfaction of IDRF, who must report the level of success to their donors. The main unhappiness of the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” appears to be with what they imply with the term “major”. IDRF is not a “major” fundraiser compared to many other fundraising organizations operating in America, nor is IDRF fundraising even comparable in magnitude to what Indians and Indian-Americans of all religions donate to their respective places of worship and the associated organizations – the overwhelming majority of foreign exchange coming to Non-governmental organizations in India is from Christian organizations – and disbursed through Christian organizations in India. Hence we must conclude that it is IDRF’s growing success, based on an impeccable reputation for simple, honest, and efficient charitable work, which riles the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” the most. Most of these statements are rooted in the failures and inadequacies of the authors of The Foreign Exchange of Hate, and their cohort organizations. For example, much of their unhappiness with IDRF is rooted in the downward slope of their own “charitable fundraising” activities, due to their exorbitant overhead (over 52% for the FOIL’s own SINGH Foundation!), the dubious nature of their “program” expenditures (Angana Chatterji’s Earth Island Institute is considered to one of the least transparent, and most far-left-wing, organizations in the US), and the unsavory public statements of the FOIL’s leaders who seem to be against all free democracies. Much of the funding and impetus for this latest attack appears to have been focused in the short term towards the December 2002 elections in the State of Gujarat, and in the longer term towards the Indian General Elections of 2004. Thus we see several statements, which try to paint any support for the democratically elected government of India (which obviously represents the views of the majority of Indian voters) as a crime! We classify such statements as “Whines” for lack of a more apt and succinct description in the elegant literature. The “Points” are listed in Table 1 below, classified, and numbered for detailed cross-referencing later in this document.
Table 1: Allegations, Rhetoric and Whining ‘Points” made by the authors of M5R.
|R1||Hindutva, the Hindu supremacist ideology||1.1, p1|
|R2||(Hindutva) “has under girded much of the communal violence in India over the last several decades”||1.1, p1|
|R3||“IDRF has systematically funded Hindutva operations in India||1.1, p1|
|R4||“IDRF is not a secular and non-sectarian organization”||1.1 p1|
|W1||“(IDRF is)..a major conduit of funds for Hindutva organizations in India”||1.1 p1|
|R5||“The Hindutva movement is a violent sectarian movement seeking to create a Hindu Rashtra (an ethnically ‘pure’ Hindu Nation) in India||1.4 p2|
|R6||“(The Hindutva movement is) in many ways similar to the Nazi idea of a pure Aryan Germany||1.4 p2|
|R7||“(The Hindutva movement) seeks to exclude or eliminate religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians”||1.4 p2|
|R8||“(The Hindutva movement seeks to)..fix Dalits and Adivasis into an internal hierarchy of caste||1.4 p2|
|W2||“The (RSS) is the core organization of the Hindutva movement”||1.4 p2|
|W3||“The (RSS) operates through hundreds of front organizations in both India and the US”||1.4 p2|
|R9||“from the very moment of its inception, IDRF’s goal was clearly to support the Sangh in India”||1.4 p2|
|W4||“That IDRF support Sangh… is not an accident”||1.4 p2|
|W5||“That IDRF support Sangh… is the very purpose for its existence”||1.4 p2|
|W6||“Since its inception, IDRF’s links with Sangh organizations in India have grown dramatically”||1.4 p2|
|W7||“Of the organizations in India that it lists as “sister organizations”, an overwhelming number are clearly part of the Sangh’s family of organizations”||1.4 p2|
|W8||“IDRF’s leadership in the US has well-established links with the Hindutva movement both in India and the US”.||1.4 p3|
|W9||“Officials of IDRF in India are also openly part of the Sangh”||1.4 p3|
|W10||“Hindutva organizations in the US do extensive publicity and fundraising for the IDRF”||1.4 p3|
|W11||“(“Hindutva organizations in the US) openly acknowledge IDRF as a part of the Sangh”.||1.4 p3|
|W12||“Almost two-thirds of the funds that the IDRF transfers to India go organizations that can be identified as RSS organizations.”||1.4 p3|
|W13||“About half of the remaining funds go to organizations that can be identified as sectarian Hindu organizations”||1.4 p3|
|W14Confused?||“Less than 20 % of the funds sent to India by IDRF go to organizations that are not openly non-sectarian (??) and/or affiliated with the Sangh”||1.4 p3|
|W15||“More than 50 % of the funds disbursed by the IDRF are sent to Sangh related organizations …in poor and remote tribal and rural areas of India”||1.4 p3|
|W16||“Another sixth is given to Hindu religious organizations for purely religious use”||1.4 p3|
|A1||…. whose primary work is religious conversion and ‘Hinduisation’||1.4 p3|
|W17||“Only about a fifth of the funds go for disaster relief and welfare – most of it because the donors specifically designated it so”||1.4 p3|
|R4||“there is considerable documentation indicating that even the relief and welfare organizations that IDRF funds, use the money in a sectarian way”||1.4 p3|
|A2||“In summary, in excess of 80 percent of IDRF’s funding is allocated for work that is clearly sectarian in nature”||1.4 p3|
|R5||“Adequate documentation ..to show that IDRF funds organizations in 3 states in India that are directly involved in large scale violence against Muslim and Christian minorities”||1.4 p3|
|A3||“IDRF beneficiary, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat – extensive involvement in anti-Christian violence between 1998-2000-including physical destruction of Christian institutions, schools, churches, colleges and cemeteries – and -forcible conversion to Hinduism||1.4 p3|
|A4||Secondary documentation – show that same Hindutva organizations involved in anti-Christian violence of 1998-2000 were involved in the Gujarat carnage of 2002– by most reliable accounts, more than 2000 people, mostly Muslims, were massacred.||1.4 p3|
We will first deal with the serious-sounding accusations. From M5R, the “Foreign Exchange of Hate”:
A3: “IDRF beneficiary, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat – extensive involvement in anti-Christian violence between 1998-2000
-including physical destruction of Christian institutions, schools, churches, colleges and cemeteries – and
-forcible conversion to Hinduism”
In Table 2.2, we present Sabrang/FOIL’s own data, quoted from Appendix H of M5R:
Table 2.2 Data presented in Appendix H of M5R, citing IDRF funding given to organizations in Gujarat during the 4-year period studied by the authors of M5R
|18||Lions Club of Mehsana (Mehsana, Gujarat)||
|20||Mahila Swavalamban Kendra (Ahmedabad, Gujarat)||
|21||Manekben Punamchand Shantidas Trust||
|22||Muni Seva Ashram||
|23||Sewa Bharati Gujarat (Rajkot, Gujarat) – For Rehabilitation of Victims of Cyclone||
|24||Shree Banaskantha Anjana Patel Kalawani Mandal (Palanpur, Gujarat)||
“Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram” in Gujarat has received no funding from IDRF !!
What the above organizations do is discussed in greater detail where we discuss how the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” cook up their classification of organizations to fit their own hate-filled conclusions. We must wonder if Sabrang/FOIL got someone to translate the word “Vanvasi” for them (literally, “forest dweller”), and brilliantly associated the word “LIONS’ Club” with it. It is true that the Gir Forest in Gujarat is the nation’s largest lion sanctuary. We doubt if the very urban LIONS’ Club members would appreciate that association or accusation…
This shows that the most “serious” allegation contained in the entire report is completely baseless – it has no basis in the data presented by the report authors themselves!
Now it may be true that IDRF funds projects of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram elsewhere in India, and has done so for a number of years. The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram project has apparently existed for over fifty years! These projects are success stories where schools were built in forests where they had no schools before, and, seeing that the kids coming to these schools were weak from hunger, hot lunches are provided to them. The schools concentrate on the middle-school years, sending the kids on to government-run high schools with the basic, caring preparation which allows them to survive and excel in the outside world. Their record in preparing these under-privileged kids to survive in mainstream Indian society is in fact an outstanding record of care and determination.
But the allegation about violence is not about those projects elsewhere – its about Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat. The source of Sabrang’s glee is obvious – an IDRF web page seeks future support for such schools in Gujarat as well. This page mentions the name of the person who coordinates activities of the Ashram in those Gujarat districts, about whom Sabrang/FOIL’s cohorts have made allegations elsewhere – but the point is, so far, as far as can be determined, no IDRF funding has gone to Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, intentionally or unintentionally, in Gujarat!!
More to the point – the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” must have known from their own “meticulous research conducted over many months” that there was NO BASIS in their data to make such an allegation. That did not stop them from making the allegation.
One sees immediately the quality of “research”, competence and honesty which went into the preparation of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” report – they appear to have downloaded the web page from IDRF, and did not even bother to cross-check that with their own Table of funded projects (also downloaded from IDRF web pages, by the way). They made absolutely no effort to check their allegations before publishing them in the worldwide press – or maybe they knew they were publishing lies – and went ahead regardless?
In a later section of this report, we will present specific evidence of how this process occurred. We will see how readers of the “draft” of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” cited being “flummoxed” by the Report’s allegations and lack of basis – and how their concerns were ignored.
A4: “Secondary documentation – show that same Hindutva organizations involved in anti-Christian violence of 1998-2000 were involved in the Gujarat carnage of 2002
– by most reliable accounts, more than 2000 people, mostly Muslims, were massacred.”
What Sabrang/FOIL mean by “secondary documentation” or “most reliable accounts” is best left to the reader’s imagination in view of the standards demonstrated above. Ignoring that for a moment, it is a moot point as far as we are concerned, whether the “same Hindutva organizations” in Gujarat were involved in murder, conversion, laughing at Sabrang/FOIL’s contortions, or anything else, since IDRF did not fund them. Unlike Sabrang / FOIL, we are not interested in power politics – beyond trying to ensure that there is a free democracy. Proper investigations are likely to reveal that any massacrers, converters etc. in Gujarat were funded by Sabrang/FOIL’s own friends and sponsors in the Marxist and Congress parties, but that is left to other authorities to investigate.
Before we leave this subject let us agree with the report authors on one thing: The violence in Gujarat horrified us all, and the memory continues to horrify us all. But what is beginning to surpass that horror is the sheer disgust at those who try to capitalize with cheap politics on those horrors. The people of Gujarat, went to the polls in December 2002 – in elections which were ensured to be free and fair under the supervision of an Election Commission of legendary toughness. They threw out those who were trying to capitalize on the hatred, in no uncertain manner – a drubbing by more than a 2:1 ratio.
The “reliable estimates” cited above, go further to show the nature of the authors of The Foreign Exchange of Hate. What does “mostly Muslims” mean? If one investigates, one finds that roughly 700 of the dead were rioters shot dead by police and army law enforcement personnel. Another 100 or so were law enforcement personnel killed, with perhaps another 1000 wounded, in the riot-suppression operations. Another 58 were manly Hindu train passengers burned to death in the Godhra atrocity which triggered the widespread riots in the first place. None of this in any way reduces our sorrow that so many other innocents also died, and thousands were wounded, many traumatized physically and emotionally, and tens of thousands were displaced, perhaps permanently as the fear and the scars may never heal.
All the complexities of these events are maliciously distorted by the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” into a false model of foreign-funded “Hindutva” maniacs going on genocidal sprees with the full endorsement and support of the Government of India – with only a bunch of Marxist Communists and Pakistan-supporters out there bravely waving the flag of Indian secularism. This is utterly disgusting.
The hollowness of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” and its authors is patent from the two examples above – and we will show many more examples of this in later sections. We now proceed to the rest of the “accusations”.
A2: “In summary, in excess of 80 percent of IDRF’s funding is allocated for work that is clearly sectarian in nature”
We have now spent quite some time investigating the basis of this claim – and in proving, which turned out to be as trivial as typing the organizations’ names into the internet search engine “Google”, that this claim is also baseless. The claim involves misrepresentation of facts, deliberately misleading readers, and data manipulation. The organizations included under the category of “sectarian work” include orphanages, rural medical centers, Leprosy Patient Care Centers, agricultural technology assistance centers, yoga centers, elementary schools, secondary schools, organizations set up to teach elementary skills to slum-dwellers…. The organizations claimed to be “RSS-Affiliated” include at least one hospital affiliated to a Christian church, where the funding was provided by IDRF per specific request from a donor. These facts are readily available to anyone equipped with the basic discipline to use an internet search engine, before publishing their work as a “detailed comprehensive in-depth report” generated through “5 years of research” by a team of “academics, students, artists and other professionals” – as Sabrang/FOIL have done and claimed. Elsewhere in this document, we present twenty-eight or more organizations about whom data are quite easily available – where readers can form their own independent opinion regarding the fairness and honesty of the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate”.
A1: “Another sixth is given to Hindu religious organizations for purely religious use…. whose primary work is religious conversion and ‘Hinduisation’
This is also seen to be baseless. What “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” describes as “purely religious use” includes hospitals, orphanages, medical missions, schools. Were they unaware of that as they made that statement? Isn’t this academic dishonesty and deliberate fraud?
We now turn to the rhetoric. The entire scaffold of rhetoric of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” rests on one primary assumption:
R 1: “Hindutva, the Hindu supremacist ideology”
In section 2.2, page 4, of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate”, this is expounded in a manner which leaves no doubt: “Hindutva – which translates literally to Hinduness or Hinduhood”.
In one sweeping generalization which reveals all too much about themselves, the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” declare that 800 million Hindus are “supremacist ideologues” and that Hindus in America have nothing but sinister intent in donating their hard-earned money for development and relief work in their native land!
This definition is of course false, as any “researcher” or middle-schooler would have discovered in minutes – and these probably did, but lied about it regardless. Hard as it may be to believe, there is in fact an authority situated a bit higher than South Asia Professors, however distinguished their Chairs may be – this authority is called the Supreme Court of India. Here’s what they have said on this subject:
“These Constitution Bench decisions, after a detailed discussion, indicate that no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms Hindu, Hindutva and Hinduism; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage. It is also indicated that the term Hindutva is related more to the way of life of the people in the subcontinent. It is difficult to appreciate how in the face of these decisions,the term Hindutva or Hinduism per se, in the abstract, can be assumed to mean and be equated with narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry, or be construed to fall within the prohibition in sub-section (3) and/or (3A) of Section 123 of the R.P. Act.
Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and it is not to be equated with. or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism.”
The blatant bigotry of the Sabrang/FOIL authors defines the tone of the entire contents of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate”. For those of us (like the present author) who reject these blanket characterizations of “supremacist ideologue” with the contempt that such tactics deserve, the rest of the rhetoric collapses without further ado. There is nothing illegal, immoral or unethical in:
- IDRF being a charitable organization being run by people who happen to worship according to their interpretation of any religion, including the Hindu religion
- IDRF accepting donations from a population which is probably 80% Hindu
- IDRF carefully selecting well-known, trusted acquaintances and organizations, approved and authorized under Indian law and with a long history of public service, to oversee the disbursement of donated funds, and submitting a list of such organizations to the IRS
- IDRF then expanding this list to include more organizations as donors’ confidence and preferences expand
- The recipient organizations disbursing the money carefully through trusted grassroots-level social workers, who happen to be deeply religious people themselves
- IDRF ensuring that the end recipients are the intended recipients – tribal people, underprivileged children including orphans, and families left destitute by terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
We now return to the two blood-libel accusations about IDRF funding riots – related to A3 and A4 above – given by innuendo elsewhere in the report. As shown above, even Sabrang/FOIL has not been able to cook up any basis to claim that IDRF funds went to any organization which indulged in violence – with or without IDRF encouragement. Careful examination of the statements throughout “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” shows that the entire claimed basis is that one or two local residents in Gujarat – and political leaders elsewhere in India – may have made statements which reflected poor judgement – at a time of heightened tensions and violence. The link to IDRF is that two of these persons are identified as the local leaders to be contacted for relief work that IDRF sponsored after the earthquake – or run schools which have programs like hot lunches for the kids – that IDRF suggests as possible projects for donors to consider funding in future!
Never mind that (a) no money has gone to this school or (b) the spending of IDRF rupees for earthquake relief was supervised to the satisfaction of IDRF donors, and the governments of India and U.S. – the claimed report that these people later spoke unacceptable words is the “proof” that IDRF is funding hate!! Consider that the same media reporters who made those allegations have also blared out the “conclusions” of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” with no ethical qualms!!
The rest of the statements in Table 1 are similar to the “accusations” that a British Parliament candidate is said to have used in his election debate – where he pointed to his rival and thundered : “Are you aware that my opponent has a sister who is a Thespian?” These may have sounded like killer arguments to the authors of “The Foreign Exchange of Hate” and their distinguished South Asian Faculty Petition signors, but to us they are insults to the reader’s intelligence.
We do not wish to waste your time and ours on discussing the whines. It is sad enough that these adult human beings spent five years coming up with such things in their “Summary”.
 Agrawal, Girish; Chatterji, Angana; Gera, Shalini; Mathew, Biju; Mir, Ali; Rajan, S. Ravi; Heptullah, Elahe; “The Foreign Exchange of Hate”: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva”. Sabrang Communications Private Limited, Mumbai, India, and The South Asia Citizens Web, France. November 2002.
 “Zahira Sheikh accuses Teesta Setalvad, NHRC Probe Setalvad, Zahira urges Supreme Court”. March 29,2005, IANS.
 Friends of India: “Sabrang FAQ meets Reality: Exposing the Lies” January 2003.
A systematic expose of the lies, half-truths, laughs and whines in the Sabrang-FOIL’s claims about themselves and those they tried to slander.
 Ramesh Rao, Narayanan Komerath, Beloo Mehra, Chitra Raman, Sugrutha Ramaswami, “A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the India Development and Relief Fund. February 2003.” Funded by nobody.
 Narayanan Komerath, “The Lashkar-e-Pinocchio Rides Again”. India-Forum.com. http://www.india-forum.com/Columns/Narayanan_Komerath/The_Lashkar-e-Pinocchio_Rides_Again/26/
For the full lyric, see http://www.lyricsdepot.com/the-carpenters/yesterday-once-more.html
 Angana Chatterji 22 March, 2005 Asian Age http://www.countercurrents.org/guj-angana220305.htm
 Debashish Mukherjee, “Education Controversy – It is a war of ideas”, The Week, Nov. 15, 1998.
 “How Gen. Kakkar blew up plans to roll back the Nuclear Program”. Special SAT Report. South Asia Tribune, July 27, 2002. http://www.satribune.com/archives/july27_02_02/isi_whistle_blower.htm
 Hasan, Khalid, “Acrimonious Kashmir Conference Fails” Daily Times, Lahore. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_27-7-2003_pg7_41
 Abdul bin Mao, “Who Knew About the Godhra Riots – And Other Mysteries”. http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=753&st=0
 Ghadar, Vol.1, No.1, May 1, 1997. http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n1/edit.html
 Siddhartha, “Little Nirvanas -Letter from America : The Forum Of India Leftists thrives in the US” 2000.
 Prashad, Vijay,” Red Salute, Comrade Uncle Ho”. ZNET Daily Commentaries, Sep. 4, 1999. http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/1999-09/4prashad.htm
 Prashad, Vijay, “Hindutva and Zionism: Comprador States of Pentagon, Inc.” ZNET Daily Commentaries, Aug. 8, 2001. http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2001-08/08prashad.htm
 Niraj Pant, “Facilitating Genocide: Women as Fascist Educators in the Hindutva Movement”. Ghadar, a bimonthly publication of the forum of indian leftists. Vol.1, No.1, May 1, 1997. http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n1/niraj.html
 “50 years?” Editorial, GHADAR, Vol. 1, No.2, November 26, 1997. http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n2/edit.html
 Editorial, “Ghadar – a publication of the Forum of Indian Leftists” Vol. 2, No.1, Nov.1, 1998.
“FOIL NOTES”, Ghadar, Vol. 2, No.1, Nov.1, 1998. Vol. 2, No.1, Nov.1, 1998. http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v2n1/foil.html
 Rider University, New Jersey, website of Associate Professor of Computer and Information Systems, Dr. Biju Mathew, link titled: “Check out the Unabombers Manifesto…”
http://www.pathfinder.com/@@@3IbJnEgxQIAQF…emanifesto.html Viewed in early 2003.
 Rider University, New Jersey, website of Jesse E. Harper Associate Professor of Computer and Information Systems, Dr. Biju Mathew, link titled: “Check out an interesting newsgroup – misc.activism.progressive” http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/misc.html
 Rider University, New Jersey, website of Jesse E. Harper Associate Professor of Computer and Information Systems, Dr. Biju Mathew, link titled: alt.india.progressive, a moderated newsgroup aimed at providing a forum for progressives to discuss progressive possibilities without getting bogged down by sheer volume!!…
 Rider University, New Jersey, website of Jesse E. Harper Associate Professor of Computer and Information Systems, Dr. Biju Mathew, link titled: “Communalism Combat” http://www1.rider.edu/%7Ewebcis/mathew/ccmain.html “CC has however, run into rough weather. Both the editors quit their respective full time jobs to undertake this project. In addition, the magazine has this far run on subscriptions only. After publishing a combined July-August issue, CC suspended further publication till November 1995 so as to re-group and raise a core fund that will help CC survive as a long term project. Read the SOS sent out by Anand and Setalavad.”
 “Prashad, Vijay, “Red Star Over West Bengal”. ZNET Daily Commentaries, June 28, 2001, http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/200…ashad.htm” “After the election, the Communists declared that they would govern according to three values: discipline, compassion and dynamism. Nirupam Sen, Minister of Industry, announced shortly thereafter that the Communists would be innovative in the industrial sector. “If we want to move even slightly away from the disease of jobless growth that marks the present stage of corporate capital worldwide,” he noted, “we have to strive hard.”
 Ghadar, Volume 5: Number 1, Feb 21 2002
 BRF discussion on the campaign against IDRF http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/brf_idrf01_021224.html
 Ramesh N. Rao, “A Factual Response To The Hate Attack On IDRF” http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=300824
 Organizations Funded by IDRF – Sabrang/FOIL claims vs. Reality. http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/foilies/
 Narayanan Komerath, “Why I Support the IDRF”. April 1, 2003. http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=305795
 Kushta Nivaran Sangh, Champa, Chhattisgarh. http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/foilies/foilies72.html
 Vatsalya Trust, Mumbai. http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/foilies/foilies69.html
 Dr. Balasaheb Ambedkar Vaidyakeeya Pratishthan, Aurangabad, Maharashtra. http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/foilies/foilies57.html
 Noronha, Frederick, “Farming Questions, Web-Based Solutions”. The Tribune, October7, 2002. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2002/20021007/login/main3.htm
 Organizations Funded By IDRF – Sabrang/FOIL Claims versus Reality
 See “Sabrang and FOIL deceive IDRF well wishers: Anonymous Einsteins Try to Mislead LetIndiaDevelop petition signers” http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/cyber_flimflam.html
 Angana Chatterji, “A Million Damned”Asian Age, August 2002 http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&…42&newsid=16794
 Ranjit Devraj, “India: Narmada waters reach desert, but more costs to come, say critics” IPS, New Delhi, 21 May 2001. Quoted at http://lists.iatp.org/listarchive/archive.cfm?id=75732
 “Dealing with drought – Drought stalks Gujarat once again but the government relies on short-term crisis management measures instead of evolving a long-term, region-specific strategy to deal with this recurring phenomenon”. Frontline, Volume 18 – Issue 12, Jun. 09 – 22, 2001
 Angana Chatterji in MilliGazette, http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/15082002/1508200240.htm
Angana Chatterji in Dissident Voice, December 2002. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Articles/Chatterji_IDRF-Hindutva.htm
 Angana Chatterji article in Asian Age, November 2003: http://sacw.insaf.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/anganaNov2003.html
 Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Encouraging the Ban on US Visit of Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, for Severe Violations of Religious Freedom, signed by Angana Chatterji and others. Washington, DC, February 23, 2005. http://www.religionandpolicy.org/show.php?p=1.1.1543
 Abrahamn, G., Chatterji, A., Gupta, S., Rao. A., Ubaid, S., Zacharias, U., ‘A Clear Victory For All Indians’, OUTLOOK India.com, March 19, 2005. http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050319&fname=modi&sid=2&pn=2
 Staff Directory, Department of Communications, Westfield State College, MA. http://www.wsc.ma.edu/directory/search_dept.asp?deptid=22
 Raza A. Mir, Ph.D., Christos M. Cotsakos College of Business, Associate Professor: Marketing and Management Sciences, The William Paterson University Home Page for Associate Professor Raza Mir http://www.wpunj.edu/cob/COB_new/faculty/mngtmrktg/mirr/
 “Press Statement regarding Gujarat” By madurai collective 15/05/2002 At 08:32 issued by the participants at the ‘Siting Secularism Conference’, 21 April 2002, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, USA. http://india.indymedia.org/en/2002/05/1239.shtml Excerpt: “Raza Mir (Professor of Management, Monmouth University, USA).. Biju Mathew (Prof. of Information Systems, Rider University, USA)”
 Amazingly, Dr. (“Professor”?) Angana Chatterji co-signed, with CIIS’ top administrators, a letter to a Tibetan group sympathizing with them. The content of the letter mainly advertised Chatterji’s heroic sacrifice in going on a diet for 3 days (“3-day hunger strike”) against the World Bank.
 Punjab: Backgrounder. South Asia Terrorism Portal. Institute for Conflict Management. http://www.satp.org/India/Punjab/Backgrounder_Punjab.htm
 Eyewitness report from an attendee at the IMC 1st Annual Convention, Santa Clara, USA, June 28, 2003.
 A Critical Look at The Organized Labor of Hate. http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/critlook_1.html