Skip to main content

$55 million "channeled" to Sangh Parivar in 2001-12: US report released by South Asia Citizens Web

A Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh shakha in US
Counterview Desk
A new report prepared in the US is likely to further fan the on-going controversy around the Intelligence Bureau (IB) accusation that foreign-funded NGOs’ campaign in India has undermined India’s growth rate. The report, “released via South Asia Citizens Web”, has alleged that between 2001 and 2012, five Sangh Parivar affiliates in the US – India Development and Relief Fund, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of America, Param Shakti Peeth, Sewa International, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America – “allocated over $55 million dollars to their programme services”, and these funds were “largely sent” to Sangh Parivar groups in India.
Titled “Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Nonprofit Groups”, and dated July 8, 2014, the report, interestingly, avoids giving any author of the report – in lieu of the author, it says, “J.M. us.hindu.nationalism@gmail.com”. To justify its controversial allegation, it claims to have compiled “publicly available tax records, newspaper articles, and other materials on non-profit groups in the US-affiliated with the Sangh Parivar from 2001 to 2014, documenting a segment of the projects and priorities of US-based Hindu nationalism.”
Saying that this is only a part of the effort by the Sangh Parivar “over the last three decades toward Hinduizing India”, the report runs into 54 pages and gives well-researched and minutest of details complete with citations of the organizations funding and supporting the Sangh Parivar. Saying that the Sangh Parivar affiliates in the US have been seeking to advance “the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India”, report admits, this has “continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities”, as reflected in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
The report says, the Sangh Parivar affiliates receive “social and financial support from its US-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United Stattes.” These are identified as “Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA,  the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP)”, and so on.
Accusing the Sangh Parivar for intensifying propaganda around “Hindu nationalism”, the report believes, the US-based Sangh Parivar-affiliates’ view is coloured with “multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and US governmental bodies.”
Main spots in the US where Sangh Parivar affiliates allegedly do activities
Giving details about the activities of the Sangh Parivar affiliates in the US, the report states, “Sangh-affiliated youth and family programmes, such as those held by the HSS and the VHPA, have concentrated their classes, camps, events, and materials on Hindu cultural identity. As of May 2014, there were 140 HSS shakhas (chapters) in the United States listed on the HSS website. Between 2002 and 2012 the HSS and VHPA have collectively spent more than $2.5 million on youth and family programs.”
The report further says, “Literature used by such programs often prioritize a version of history and culture that highlights the Sangh Parivar leadership of India and Brahminical (upper-caste) narratives and practices, while diminishing the struggles and contributions of lower caste and non-Hindu communities.” The South Asia Citizens Web is a network of human rights organizations operating since 1996, and claims to support “dissent in South Asia and beyond”.
Detailing how the Sangh Parivar’s US affiliates have tried to influence American academia, the report says, “In 2009, Sangh-affiliated Hindu Students Council (HSC) student groups were present on 78 US and Canadian university and college campuses, including those of Duke University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, McGill University, New York University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Stanford University, Syracuse University, University of California at Berkeley, Irvine, and San Diego, University of Ottawa, and University of Texas at Austin and Houston.”
It adds, “Hindu nationalist groups have increasingly inserted themselves into curricular, administrative, and financing arenas in academic and educational institutions, specifically in the disciplines of history, religious studies, Indology and other fields. Particular projects include the establishment and operation of a religious college, the Hindu University of America, at least one religious studies conference (World Association for Vedic Studies), and funding institutions, such as the Infinity Foundation and the Vivek Welfare and Educational Foundation.”
Further, it says, “From 2001 to 2013, the Infinity Foundation gave more than $1.9 million to researchers, academic associations, and academic departments around the world, including the Association for Asian Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies, the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Columbia University, Harvard University, Melbourne University, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Rutgers University, University of Hawaii, and the University of Texas at Austin.”
Pointing towards how the Sangh-affiliated organizations have emerged as “leaders in Indo-American communities”, the report lists following “major events” it organized:
a) OFBJP co-hosted a luncheon on Capitol Hill in early March 2002 with two other major Indian-American organizations, “while BJP-ruled Gujarat witnessed mass killings of Muslims”.
b) OFBJP members and Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) were among the leadership that “sought to host Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as an honored guest speaker in 2005.”
c) In the California textbook controversy of 2005-2006, the Vedic Foundation and the HSS’ educational wing, the Hindu Education Foundation, “led an effort to insert edits into California textbooks that foregrounded Hindu nationalist priorities and downplayed gender and caste oppression in Ancient India.”
d) Since the textbooks controversy, the Hindu American Foundation has become “a voice for Hindu nationalist interests to US politicians.”
The report recommends the need for “further investigations to explore possible legal culpability of US-based Sangh groups and members in Sangh-led violent acts in South Asia; possible violations of 501(c)(3) regulations and restrictions; and the involvement of other US-based groups and individuals in supporting violence perpetrated by Hindu nationalist groups.”
It also says that “more investigation” should be carried out in “other funding channels from the US; whether the monies collected were allocated to the purposes reported to the Internal Revenue Service; and the effects of funding recipients’ work.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”

Sitharaman's offer for rural jobs to 'create' just 3 crore rural jobs. Demand: 12 crore jobs

By Amarjeet Kaur*
The final package, the fifth one in a row, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17 was a fiasco. Sitharaman during her press conference for two hours and six minutes spent more than an hour detailing the policy actions of her government’s last six years’ rule, repeating the already provided proposals during the two budgets after coming to power for the second time, even as reiterating her briefings on the four earlier packages she had announced over the previous four days.