charities in the U.S. and Britain deny any links
with sectarian projects in India. Yet
own data, and interviews with their counterparts in India, provide good
reason to suspect they are part
of the 'family'," wrote the Financial Times Feb. 20, following its
own investigation where it said IDRF was part of this operation.
authors of the latest report dismiss the anti-IDRF
campaign, particularly the "Foreign Exchange
Hate" report. "We find that the (anti-IDRF) report presents
no evidence that IDRF does anything other
that what it advertises," the authors say in their executive summary. "If
development projects. These are specific projects with the scope and
funding of each specifically
approved by the Government of India."
activist Mukund Kute lauded the new pro-IDRF report. "(This is the)
first time ever someone tried
to read through the Sabrang (anti-IDRF) report, study the allegations,
and come back to IDRF and ask
questions to us and write their independent opinion about it," he
of the reporters have tried to work like a postman,
get some questions from here, ask the
questions to the others, go back to the other side and get their
reaction, rather than doing some
research themselves about the finer point of the report."
of IDRF's critics are unimpressed. "After
spending the last three months claiming that the report,
'A Foreign Exchange of Hate,'-which exposed the links that the
IDRF has to the Sangh Parivar-is
wrong, IDRF now not only acknowledges the links (and goes on
to defend the RSS for 'doing good
work'), but attempts to conceal this by aggressive posturing
of independence and factuality," The
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate said in a press release.
Rao, a Missouri-based communications professor, is
one of the authors of the pro-IDRF
report, and he defends the RSS. "We do make it clear that
the demonization of the RSS is very much a
campaign," he told India-West. "The RSS happens to
be one of the world's largest non-governmental organizations."
report that Rao co-authored also lauds the role of
RSS. "The first
public act of the RSS was at the
1926 Ramnavami festival at Ramtek near Nagpur, where they helped
regulate queues for worshipers. The discipline
and the organizations of the RSS cadre have helped the 'parivar'
render service to
the Indian society and nation both during ordinary times and
when struck by natural calamities."
himself is a contributor to IDRF and said the anti-IDRF
report was not only a "hatchet job" by
leftists but also marked by sloppy investigation.
Many organizations that the anti-IDRF report claimed
with the RSS are not with the RSS
at all, he said. He gave the example of the Bangalore-based
National Educational Society, which
receives support from the IDRF. Its director, Dr. Narasimhaiah,
is a former principal of National
College and a Gandhian, he said.
any case, IDRF's Kute said IDRF is not officially
affiliated with the RSS. "As
far as IDRF is
concerned, since we are not related with RSS, we don't
take any directions from them, we have no
comments," he told India-West.
IDRF critics scoff at such comments as a ruse. The Campaign
to Stop Funding the Hate quotes from
the IDRF supporters' report in its press
RSS is not registered as an organization. However,
the various trusts, which in turn actually manage
the activities carried out under the name
the RSS, are registered."
press release then asks: "Then, does not giving
money to the 'various trusts' which engage in the
'actual activities' of the RSS amount to giving money
to the RSS? Why is the IDRF engaging in such
sophistry? If the RSS is indeed such a peerless organization,
as they would now like us to believe, why
spend all this time trying to deny the relationship?
admitted on all counts that it is an RSS operation,
IDRF now has no choice left but to defend
the RSS on grounds of doing service."
Ramesh Rao, one of the authors of the pro-IDRF report,
took to task the 200-plus
academics who signed a petition against IDRF. Signatories
to this petition included some of the most
distinguished South Asia studies academics, both
South Asian and mainstream, from top U.S.
universities including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago,
Columbia and Stanford.
said there is a bias against the RSS on U.S. campuses. "How
many dissertations or books have you seen that is in
any way sympathetic to the RSS? The
support of 200-plus academics is the (result of a)
kind of bandwagon appeal," he
said. "The RSS is a
demonized organization. The South Asia experts
would not like to be seen as unfashionable or
at any South Asia program in the country and you
will not find- forget about professors- one
graduate student writing anything supportive of
activist Mukund Kute said his organization would
survive this setback. "As
far as money
collection and morale is concerned, we are not
at all affected," he said. "The
only effect is that the
(anti-IDRF) Sabrang people have succeeded in
distracting our attention from a genuine charity
then fighting out these malicious charges.
So there is tremendous damage to the charitable
Indian Americans, and there is tremendous damage
to the cause of poor people of India, because
valuable time, which we would have used for administering
the projects in India and raising funds, that
time has been diverted to fighting these allegations.
Indian American community is very accustomed to facing
sensational charges for a few days and
the truth coming out slowly. We are very sure
that this is a temporary phase, and once we are
with this malicious propaganda we would be able
to resume our charitable work with renewed vigor,
with more volunteers and more money."
readers can view the full text of the report "A Factual Response
to the Hate Attack on the
India Development and Relief Fund" at the following Web site: www.idrf.org.
The "Foreign Exchange of
Hate" report can be viewed at the following
Web site: www.stopfundinghate.org.