The fountainhead of corruption is always at the top of heap in the govt. For over 9 years the Congotri of corruption has supported and encouraged many bogus NGOs who ran political campaigns for them. It’s only when some of these NGOs started using their money to protest the UPA’s pet projects that they retaliated. “Govt bans 600 NGOs” says Livemint. The protests against the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant brought about more scrutiny. “Church role in Kudankulam protests merits wider probe” says Firstpost. “Govt bans 72 NGOs from receiving foreign contribution” says Indian Express. An online magazine Uday India files a frightening report about foreign funding of NGOs, especially of the Christian variety, in the context of Kudankulam. Most of these NGOs may or may not be doing some good but their objective is not a secret anymore; it is simply politics, lobbying and religious conversion.
There is something even more alarming. The site VigilOnline talks about a very dangerous trend of connections between NGOs, foreign funding and activists. The book (pic) is said to be published after a great deal of research by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak. The report at VigilOnline says: “The book is a blistering attack of some of our leading NGOs and activists and documents their treasonous agenda for our country, listing in convincing detail their foreign sponsorships, donors and funds. The foreign focus is on the USA and Muslim and Christian organizations based there, that promote and finance Nehruvian secularism in Hindustan through their Indian stooges, of whom the book identifies Harsh Mander as representative…. This offering of V'mala exposes some more linkages of what in the book is called the Manderweb - with Harsh Mander in the centre of the web… IMC is connected to the jihadi Lashkar-e-Toiba, and the L-e-T is connected to Pakistan's ISI. Now, Refugee Watch, in its same section, goes on to report that "AIM intends to forge links with progressive Indians and has been working on establishing links with Pakistani Americans." Both Harsh Mander and Aruna Roy, as eminent Nehruvian secularists, are certainly "progressive Indians". These are stray excerpts so I recommend that you read the whole article at VigilOnline for proper context and clarity. Most of these NGOs invariably are hearts that bleed for children. And that precisely is our context.
So looks like this guy Harsh Mander is all over the place, isn’t he? And yet he was in the policy drafting body of NAC, he runs multiple NGOs. One of his NGOs was headed by an arrested Maoist terrorist who was released as ransom. One of his NGO outlets has been accused of “Abuse alleged at Children home”. Yet this man roams free with no investigation against him and no scrutiny of any of his NGO “firms”. Oh yeah… he’s a darling of NDTV and CNN-IBN. Why so much latitude? Well, he was one of the pioneers of the anti-Modi campaigns and a Congress helper. Neither NDTV nor CNN-IBN ever questioned him on any of his NGOs’ activities. After all, he’s doing a world of good for children too, isn’t he? Is that all? No! In an extensive investigation DeshGujarat, an online news site, reports Harsh Mander’s NGO businesses received over 12 Crores of donations in two financial years through a maze of organisations. Take a good look at the report. A large chunk of it is for “welfare of children”. Did someone say ‘stylish begging’? Harsh Mander gave up his IAS job for all this. Seems quite a sensible guy!
It’s a fashion for celebrities to somehow associate themselves with some charity for children. Let’s not doubt their motives; they may be well-intentioned and not everyone is looking deep into what every NGO is doing and shouldn’t be expected to. However, I would certainly set a different measure for news media celebs who are in the business of looking deeper into everything. Here’s Rajdeep Sardesai doing an interview with World Vision (WV), a charity he supports. He has very kind words to say and you can watch and listen to the full interaction on Youtube. If Rajdeep is so strongly endorsing World Vision do you expect that he or CNN-IBN ever honestly investigate WV if some issue or report crops up? On the contrary, our channels are more known for covering up misdeeds of the parties and organisations they support. Tehelka reports and stings are ones that our media frequently uses to target a certain politician and a party. But there is a Tehelka guy who seems to have made a report on WV for CNN-IBN which they reportedly never carried.
V.K. Shashikumar’s report can be read here in full. I do not vouch for the introduction part but would Rajdeep read and respond to such reports? I doubt it, because it would destroy his credibility of all the “morals” he claims in the video I mentioned above. The report suggests that WV is not just into children’s welfare but a large-scale religious conversion operation. This is true of many tribal areas where missionaries operate and which has been the cause of constant conflict in such areas. I quote a report of 2002 from this article which mentions an event in Dahod (Gujarat) a few months after the riots:
Take, for instance, World Vision New Zealand’s report (4 September 2002) on the funding of ADP in Dahod, Gujarat. Under the head, “spiritual development” the report states: “Held a vacation Bible school for 150 children from different villages. The children participated in games, Bible quizzes, drama and other activities. Organised a one-day spiritual retreat for 40 young people and a children’s Christmas party. Each of Dahod’s 45 villages chose five needy children to attend the party.” In Dumaria, Banka district, eastern Bihar, “the ADP supports local churches by running leadership-training courses for pastors and church leaders”.
Now, WV advertises all over the net (including on this blog site through Google) on how you can lift a child out of poverty with as low as Rs.800/- What part of lifting a child out of poverty involves religion? What part of formal education of a child involves religion? I have absolutely no problems if WV wants to preach religion. Why should they preach it with your money? Most of their money in India comes from people who contribute for education and a healthy life for children, not for religious preaching or conversion. The answer is simple! Just like Coca-Cola wants to catch them young, conversions too are easy if you catch them young. Will Rajdeep Sardesai look at all the reports on activities of WV and air a report? Oh no… their heart CRIES for children, you see!
CRY is appropriate. Sometimes it goes by ‘Child Relief & You’ and sometimes as “Child Rights & You’. I am not sure which one is in vogue. This organisation started off mostly selling greeting cards to people and corporates to generate funds for their activities. Quite a noble and fair way one would say. Since the Card business invaded India some decades ago all kinds of days became fashionable. Mother’s day, Father’s day, Kissing day, Flowers day, Valentine’s day, Grandpa’s day, Grandma’s day and we always had that Children’s day too. But there is a shocking report on CRY diverting its funds to other causes that hardly have anything to do with children. Once again, DeshGujarat reports some group called MARAG is protesting a Special Investment Region in Gujarat. Of the 1.12 crores received by this group to carry out their agitation it is reported that 1.03 crores came from CRY, another Children’s NGO called ‘Save the Children’ and a Swiss Agency.
That there are foreign forces and corrupt people who are involved in political games in projects in India is definitely a dangerous trend. But if organisations raising money in the name of children are using it for purposes other than those stated in their objectives and made public to donors then it’s a serious crime of using children as leverage. The Chief Information Commissioner has just brought certain political parties under RTI. While it may be challenged in court there is justification for bringing NGOs too under RTI. Many of these NGOs use public money, govt money and some even use hawala money. Many are also ‘benami’ NGOs. While not all NGOs are criminals, a huge number of them are slowly starting to show up being involved in financial crimes and acting with political motives. In this context the ones to be most concerned about is those who use children as leverage. Our media will never report on their deeds, they are part of the crime.