“Repeat a lie, often, and it becomes the truth” – Dr.
standard propaganda technique introduced by Goebbels and fine-tuned
by Communists is to first put a label of a convict on an opponent,
repeat it ad nauseum,
have someone else repeat it, and then claim that as further proof of
propaganda is not necessarily a matter of individual inspiration, as
Ellul has pointed out.
Modern propaganda is based on scientific analyses of
psychology and sociology; propaganda is scientific in that it tends
to establish a set of rules, rigorous, precise, and tested, that are
not merely recipes but impose themselves on every propagandist, who
is less and less free to follow his own impulses; what is needed
nowadays is an exact analysis of both the environment and the
individual to be subjected to propaganda; and the increasing attempt
to control its use, measure its results, and define its effects.
The authors of the Sabrang/FOIL report are well educated, are
quite unburdened by scruples, have understood the nature and scope
of modern propaganda, and know how to use the various techniques
with very good effect.
their project of demonizing the IDRF is not new. ”Warnings”
about an exposé have been coming for a long time.
They have repeated their canard in a variety of forums and
for such a long time that what they have reported about the IDRF is
taken at face value by lazy media operatives, and subscribed to by
academics who have willingly participated in the dissemination of
such propaganda themselves.
such warning about the IDRF came on September 14, 1999 when the All
India Christian Council (AICC), based in Andhra Pradesh, came out
with a press statement with the following subject line: “How the
Parivar gets its dollar funds from innocent and not so innocent
organizations abroad. Church
funds too find their way to killers of Christians”.
It alleged that “the Parivar is using its money to train
killer gangs who wreak murder on the minorities, torture and rape
the Dalits, and otherwise work very hard to demolish the plural
heritage of the country and the secular character of its democratic
AICC press statement also alleged that Christian organizations like
the Salvation Army were funding VHP-America, and gave out what it
called a truncated list of donors.
What the AICC did was to visit the website of VHP-America,
and then with a simple switch, changed recipients of monies from
this Hindu organization into donors.
Everything else in the list was kept identical.
This is the manner in which “evidence” is collected by
the Sabrang/FOIL authors and their collaborators.
Planted and Recycled: The other piece of
“propaganda” floating about the IDRF is an article by Biju
Mathew and his collaborator-in-chief Vijay Prashad,
written for People’s
Democracy. The same
article was reprinted, almost word for word, in the April issue of Little
in Znet magazine,
and in Outlook India.
On May 23, 2002, The
Wall Street Journal published an article “India Confronts Its
Own Intolerance”, by Kanwal Rekhi, the global chairman of The
Indus Entrepreneurs, an organization of South Asian businesspeople,
and Henry S. Rowen, a
professor emeritus at Stanford and senior fellow of the Hoover
Institution. In it they
said: “Many overseas Indian Hindus finance religious groups in
India in the belief that the funds will be used to build temples,
and educate and feed the poor of their faith.
Many would be appalled to know that some recipients of their
money are out to destroy minorities (Christians as well as Muslims)
and their places of worship. Mr.
Vajpayee could deal a severe blow to such covert causes by simply
labeling them as terrorists.”
and Rowen do not say what evidence they had collected to make this
statement. Since the
Sabrang/FOIL authors say that they have been working
“meticulously” for the last so many years, could they be the
source? Of course, yes.
yet again, not surprisingly, on May 27, a U.S. based organization
called the “Coalition against Communalism”, issued full-page ads
in India Abroad and India
West, in which they asked, “Did our generosity fund the
carnage in Gujarat?” It
had the Rekhi-Rowen quote, and in addition there was a quote from
Dr. I. G.
Patel, former Director, Reserve Bank of India, taken from a Rediff.com
report of May 13, 2002. Patel
appeals as follows: “I earnestly request NRIs not to donate money
to spread hatred in India, neither to the VHP nor to Islamic
fundamentalists… Don’t give it to people who propagate
Dr. Patel has not specifically identified any of the Islamic
statement of Rekhi-Rowen triggered an article entitled
“Deflections to the Right” in Outlook
(July 22, 2002) magazine. In
its very first paragraph the Rekhi-Rowen quote is mentioned.
This article seems to be a summary of the Sabrang/FOIL report
that has now come out, and has also specifically targeted the IDRF.
we will draw the reader’s attention to what the editor of Outlook
had to say in June 2002 at a workshop organised by the Network of
Women in Media, titled “Covering Communal Conflict: Lessons from
Gujarat 2002”. According
to a report,
Vinod Mehta, the editor of Outlook
argued that “it was time journalists became activists to dislodge
the BJP government at the Centre”.
The same Vinod Mehta, having worked so assiduously to
demonize the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and make sure that
the BJP did not win the elections in December 2002 in that state,
and shocked that the electorate gave a landslide victory to Modi and
the BJP, was brazen enough to claim that whatever his magazine’s
editorial stance and prognosis on the elections, claimed “It
requires an internal debate and no outsider need tell us to
re-examine our policy” .
next question, in the Indian context, is to ask, “Who gets more
funds from foreign sources?”
Christian organizations and churches are some of the heaviest
foreign-funded groups in India.
Many of the church organizations and affiliates have been
identified as supporting and funding terrorism in the country.
Of Christian Largesse: On a discussion list, P.
N. Benjamin, Coordinator, Bangalore Initiative for Religious
Dialogue (BIRD) shared the following (January 03, 2003):
2001-02 the total amount received by organizations
under FCRA regulations in Karnataka was
Rs. 534 crores (about $111 million).
Out of this, Rs. 471 crores
(about $98 million) were for Christian organizations.
and Protestant organizations shared this Rs. 471 crores
(about $98 million). Catholics
got Rs. 183 crores (about $38 million)
and others, especially the fundamentalist, and born-again
Christian organizations that spread
hatred against Hinduism got Rs. 288 crores
(about $60 million).
do not forget that the rest of the organizations
including the ‘Hindutva brigade’
and the Muslims got only Rs. 63 crores
in total (about $13 million).
The percentage of Christians in
Karnataka is hardly 2% per cent.
This situation is replicated all over the country.
The Hindu-baiters are making a mountain out of a molehill
while they themselves thrive under the
shade of foreign funds. The
time has come for us to call their
Benjamin also wrote recently (January 23, 2003) in regard to the
controversy of an American priest on a tourist visa preaching in
India (forbidden by Indian rules) in the company of a local priest
accused of raping a girl. When
the American priest was beaten up, the Indian media reported that
the RSS was behind the attacks:
John Joseph is the Christian representative on the National
Minorities Commission. His
tireless efforts towards bringing the Christian leaders and the
RSS leaders [together] have resulted in six national rounds of
dialogue between them and helped remove misunderstanding and ease
tensions between them. However,
the biased Indian English media has always suppressed facts and
encouraged the enemies of the country who received millions of
foreign funds to tarnish the nation’s image everywhere by giving
wide publicity to the so-called Global Council of Indian
Christians and other vested interests.
Peace between Hindus and Christians threatens their
existence and their incomes from their foreign masters.
certain Christian groups and individuals have been at this game of
manipulating the media by spreading false rumors and making
allegations is not new. See
O for a detailed fact-finding commission report on one such
incident last year in Mysore.
Saving Heathens, converting Hindus: Why didn’t the
Sabrang/FOIL report authors, and those publicizing the report,
enquire about the foreign funding of “NGOs” that have indeed
used the money to proselytize, to demonize Hindus and Hinduism, and
to work their agenda of Balkanizing India?
If they had done so, they might have been able to produce a
more balanced and objective report about funding “education” and
funding “hate” in India. In
that light we will present excerpts from a report on Church-related
activities in India and funding by foreign agencies.
The 1999 article, titled “Foreign funding to the Church”
by Rajender Chaddha can be found in Appendix
annual Home Ministry Report ‘Receipt of Foreign Contribution by
Voluntary Association’ and the available Church literature in
the country seems to substantiate the view that there exists a
strong link between foreign funding and Church and para-Church
organizations here. Even
a glance at this bulky Government report, spread over nearly a
thousand pages, indicate that over 80 per cent of the voluntary
organizations receiving foreign aid are in fact Christian
organizations engaged in spread of the religion either directly
through propagation or indirectly through social service.
And they go away with the bulk of the foreign
out that the topmost donor agencies are major Christian funding
organizations, Chaddha writes:
could hardly have any doubt over the objective of the funding
agencies whose name appears in the list of 25 major donors of the
report. For the year
1997-98, the Christian Children Fund from the US topped the list
with Rs 64.78 crores (about $13.5 million) is followed by
Evangelische Zentralstelle (EZE) from Germany with Rs 59 crores
(about $12 million); Foster Parents Plan International, US, with
Rs 55.45 crores (about $11.5 million); Missio (International
Catholic Missionary Work), Germany, with Rs 48.9 crore (about $10
million) and Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), Germany, with Rs 46 crore
(about $9.6 million)….
Rs 37.54 crore (about $7.8 million) from the World Vision
International, US; Rs 27 crore (about $5.6 million) from the Age
of Enlightenment Trust, Britain; Rs 23 crore (about $4.8 million)
from the Inter Church Co-ord Committee, Netherlands, Rs 21.45
crore (about $4.48 million) from the International Planned
Parenthood Federation, Britain; Rs 20 crore (about $4.17 million)
from Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), Germany; Rs 19.9 crore
(about $4.15 million) from the Opere Don Bosco, Italy; Rs 19.4
crore (about $4 million) from the Christian Aid, Britain; Rs 19.1
crore (about $3.99 million) from the Zentralstelle Fur
Entwickshilfe (ZEF), Germany; Rs 16 crore (about $3.3 million)
from the Bread for the World, Germany and Rs 15 crore (about $3.1
million) from the Mission Prokure, Germany.
glimpse at the list of donor agencies indicates that the top five
of them have been dominated by those that donate funds for the
propagation of Christianity.
For instance, the top five for the past four years have
been restricted to the Foster Parents Plan International and
Christian Children’s Fund from the US, EZE, Missio, Misereor
(Catholic Bishops Fund for Overseas Development) and KNH from
Germany. In this
decade till now, the top five donor agencies have donated Rs 1,344
crore (about $280.8 million).”
to these statistics as “mind boggling”, Chaddha adds:
top five donor countries this decade have been the U.S., Germany,
Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.
These have been traditionally known for their support to
Christian Organizations. According
to available figures, voluntary donations from these countries
this decade have been more than Rs 10,000 crore” (about $ 2.08
then looks at the purpose for which this money is being sent to
purpose as revealed by the recipient seems to substantiate the
argument that the money being pumped into India is solely to
spread and increase the influence of Christianity, where more than
80 per cent of the population is Hindu…
This data regarding recipient of donations raises queries that if
serving the poor really has been the goal of these organizations,
dominated mainly by the Christians, then why do the money go to
the States which are relatively higher in Human Development
from the book titled Mission
Mandate by M. Patric Joshua of the Friends Missionary Prayer
Band, Chaddha writes:
helping the poor, be it through financial assistance, or
orphanage, education or through hospitals and other charitable
institutions is solely for evangelization.
The book proudly refers to several such instances where
innocent poor Indians have been converted due to these inhumanly
tricks and strategy. These
answers seem to be substantiated by the available Christian
literature in the market.”
Chaddha also presents some incriminating evidence to show how the
relief and social welfare measures have been used for propagating
to an example mentioned on page 251 of the Mission
Mandate about the Evangelical Church of India, which has a
separate department for Relief and Development Ministries, he
“We have been encouraging
relief and development projects through our local Churches for the
benefit of the poor young converts who are otherwise deprived of
The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend: Dr.
Rafiq Zakaria, a well-known Indian Muslim intellectual and
politician, recently wrote about Christian demonization of Prophet
Mohammed and Islam. In
the article titled, “The Prophet’s Caravan Goes On”,
for The Asian Age,
from the inception of Islam, the Christians have used the worst
epithets against Muhammad. They
could not tolerate the rise of Islam, which spread at their cost
everywhere. When the
new religion reached almost the heart of Europe, even the best
intellectuals among the Christians lost their balance.
has been no let-up in this old vituperative fantasy, which
survives to the present day.”
an important point about the role of British colonialism and
Christian missionaries in creating communal disharmony in India, Dr.
their advent in India, there existed in none of the Indian
language any diatribe against Muhammad; it is the British
governors and Christian missionaries who did all the dirty work to
prejudice them against the Prophet.
The Quran had rightly warned the Muslims that they should
never take the Christian as their friends.”
demonization of Hindus has gone on for centuries.
Zakaria fails to make note of that as an Indian.
However, it is interesting to note, therefore, while Muslims
are blaming Christians in India and elsewhere, and are deadlocked in
violent struggles in many parts of the world,
they also form “coalitions of convenience” to take on their
“common enemies”: in India it happens to be Hindu groups.
Our point in bringing these Christian and Muslim dynamics in
India is to show how these groups are at the forefront of organizing
the attack against IDRF.
RSS is not a religious or a political organization but very much a
social service organization that also has a strong nationalist
agenda. The work of
Mother Teresa or the work of Christian missionaries and churches in
India get the kind of press in India and abroad that seems to make
“social service” the monopoly of certain religions and religious
groups. The RSS’
social service activities not only do not get enough good (to say
nothing of unbiased and balanced) press, but they are also hindered
by opposition from local and international groups.
RSS reports, for example, opposition from politically motivated and
caste-based cliques in Karnataka where caste-based reservations and
caste-based politics have vitiated public discourse and the public
sphere. Also, as is
evident from press reports, the Christian missionaries and
church-based organizations have sought to cater to the tribals and
backward caste people not for the purpose of helping them
economically and socially but for the main purpose of “harvesting
their souls for Jesus”.
These church groups, many of them liberally funded by foreign
sources, have sought to disrupt the work of the RSS and its
affiliates, and to deliberately politicize the resulting
confrontations and clashes.
these issues are not investigated objectively both by the Indian
media and academics, let alone by western academics says a lot about
the political climate prevailing in India.
An academic like Jaffrelot
even has the temerity to suggest that the RSS does social work
merely as a tactic: “The urban success of the BJP was symptomatic
of the implantation by the RSS and its affiliates of a dense network
of activists and of the latter’s propagation of Hindu nationalism
and a social welfare tactic” (p.
and Christian missionaries have made social service a business,
while the Sangh in India does it in defence of Hindu culture.
Note too that Hindus contribute to their own welfare.
They don’t wish to harvest Christian souls in the name of
Narayana and Vishnu.
“Christians Organizations Get Lion’s Share of Foreign
Funds”, Inder Sawhney, Times
of India, August 16, 1999 (See Appendix
L for the full report).