SINGH Foundation

SINGH Foundation is the fundraising arm of FOIL.  The word “SINGH” should not be confused with the Sikh last name.  It stands for Secular India’s National Growth and Harmony[1] and according to the organization, was started in memory of a late leftist Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.[2]  Out of the four board members of the Foundation two are FOIL members and founders – One of the Vice Presidents is FOIL co-Founder Biju Mathew while the Secretary-Treasurer is Dr. Rajasekhar Ramkrishnan, who is listed as the registrant for the FOIL, SACW (South Asian Citizens Web)[3] and INSAF (International South Asia Forum)[4] websites.  INSAF, as mentioned before, also hosts FOIL’s mouthpiece Ghadar.  Abha Sur, the other Vice President of SINGH is a FOIL member and the main organizer of the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia,[5] another FOIL affiliate.  The Alliance has invited noted Marxist/Communist individuals such Shabnam Hashmi[6] and historian KN Pannikar, who is also a Trustee of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy)[7], an organization headed by Hashmi.

According to the website, the Foundation aims to promote secularism, economic growth and social harmony in India and more general in South Asia.[8]  They also sponsor tours of “prominent Indians to promote secularism and tolerance among South Asians” in the US.[9] And, they support grassroots NGOs in India and other countries who share their mission goals.

Hence, one is led to believe that the Foundation fights for secularism and promotes grown in India and other neighboring countries.  While the Foundation has given a few grants to organizations in Bangladesh, the bulk of the sponsorship goes to individuals and organizations who are strongly biased against Hindus and even India.  These individuals and organizations have been set up solely to demonize Hinduism against Islam specifically and highlight the Indian state as an ‘oppressor’ of minorities.

The Foundation was started in 1993 and received its tax-exempt status (501 (c) (3)) in early 1994.[10]  [It] has sponsored tours by Anand Patwardhan and Rakesh Sharma[11], controversial filmmakers whose films actually inflame communal tensions.  In addition, as noted before, Patwardhan made the movie We are Not Your Monkeys, which takes a highly biased view of the Hindu epic Ramayana.  Similarly, besides giving money to Patwardhan and Sharma personally, the Foundation has also given money and support to Harsh Kapoor for “web documentation in France”.[12]  Who is Harsh Kapoor?  He is an old time FOIL Member, as mentioned in the November 1, 1998 issue of FOIL’s mouthpiece Ghadar.[13]Kapoor is also the force behind SACW (South Asian Citizens’ Web) since 1996[14], whose website’s registrant is the treasurer-secretary of SINGH, Dr. Rajasekhar Ramkrishnan.  Kapoor’s SACW was one of the main authors of the libelous and highly biased report on the Indian American charity India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF)[15].  Can it be that SINGH also raised money to sponsor this hateful and highly out of context report accusing NRIs and Hindus of funding hateful activities in India?

SINGH Foundation and the Center for the Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS)

The SINGH Foundation is a sponsor of the “Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism [CSSS] in Mumbai, producing periodic analytic reports on communal tensions and conflicts.”[16] This is yet another NGO based in Mumbai that attempts to portray Hindus as ‘oppressors’ and against minorities (read Muslims and Christians) and demonize the Indian state as perpetrator of human rights violations against minorities.  It does produce ‘analytic reports’ on communal and social issues in India.  However, the reports and works have a slant always against Hindus and the Indian society.  All the problems of India today are blamed on Hinduism and that all communal tensions in India are the result of ‘Hindu fascists’ in India.

In the December 2010-January 2011 time frame, the CSSS sponsored an internship project on Status of Women in India: Problems and Concerns, which featured a series of lectures, discussions, field work and watching documentaries from various film makers.  Though the internees came from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities[17], the programs primarily highlighted issues faced by Muslims.  For example, interns “were sent out for an empirical survey of Muslim families living in the slums of Behrampada, Pipe Line and Kherwadi with a pre-designed questionnaire.  Such survey enabled the internees to understand the problems of the poor families in a mega city like Mumbai, both in terms of the amenities and in the face of their religious affiliation.”[18]  From the description, it implies that only Muslims are poor and they are marginalized because of their religious affiliations.  And, the problems of Indian society, especially those of women and minorities, are a result of ‘Hindu oppression’.  The report prepared by one of the interns highlights how such misleading programs translate into the indoctrination of hatred towards Hinduism.  A report filed by one of the interns start with the following background:

The origin of the Indian idea of appropriate female [behavior] can be traced to Manu in 200 BC: ‘by a young girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independent, even in her own house’.[19]

The report contains several inaccurate statements and contradictions by the writers.  For example, the writers mention that “[the] system of Purdah [veil]…was prevalent among royal families, nobles and merchant prince classes prior to [emphasis added] the advent of Muslims and spread to other classes also.[20] Yet, further in the report, the authors say that “Purdah was a distinct feature of Muslim women…”[21]

In the entire report, all atrocities against women (Sati, female infanticide, etc.) are blamed on Hindu texts and Hindu practices.  And, “[the] British influence had a very deep impression on the minds of Indian leaders…such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and many others”[22]  So, Hindus are not capable of initiating their own reforms and the efforts of important Hindu leaders are really a product of foreign influence!

Similarly, in the section of Islam in India[23], the status of women is dealt with relative softness and highlights how women of royalty such as “Babur’s daughter Gulbadan Begum, author of the Humayun Namah was the first Mughal woman to document the social realities of Muslim women [and] Zeb-un-Nissa, Emperor Aurangzeb’s eldest daughter, was an eminent theologian and poet.”[24]  Per the analysis of the report, there were no educated, independent Hindu women throughout the entire history of Hindus.  Such analytical conclusions or derivations sound awfully similar to those deduced by FOIL and its members.  In the same manner, the section on Muslim Women’s Rights in Muslim Personal Law says that “a Muslim marriage is contractual in form because it make free consent of the parties an essential element for its validity…Islamic law gives the woman an important role at home and in the society.  The Prophet both by example and precept encouraged the institution of marriage and recognized it as the basis of society.”[25]  Thus, Islamic laws are shown as much more progressive and open minded in comparison to Hindu laws.  Further in the report, the section on Status of women in Islam states that “Islam has adopted a quite simple, natural and just approach about women and framed its realistic rules accordingly”.[26]  Such blatantly biased portrayals clearly show the agenda of organizations like the CSSS.  Can such NGOs preach communal harmony and peace while they are indoctrinating the youth (Muslim, Hindu and Christian) into learning that Hinduism is evil and Islam is pure?

In April 2011, CSSS held a Workshop on Peace and Communal Harmony.  Dr. Ali Asghar Engineer, the Chairman of CSSS[27] and a speaker sponsored frequently by FOIL, FOSA and SINGH in the US, conducted a session on ‘Meaning of Communalism and its Development’, which dealt origin and development of communalism in Indian context.[28] Given the inherent bias of CSSS, one can only conclude that this session focused on ‘Hindu communalism’ rather than taking a more holistic view of communalism in general.  Ram Puniyani, a member of CSSS[29] spoke on “Terrorism in India’ and ‘Religion and Politics in India’”[30].  According to the report, Puniyani “de-mystified the popular concepts related with terrorism [and the] communal force’s propaganda to tag terrorism with one particular religious community…”[31]  Needless to say that Puniyani’s session was loaded with anti-Hindu remarks and the ‘conspiracy’ of Hindus to label all Muslims as terrorists.  It is also important to note that Puniyani is an affiliate of FOIL and has written articles on the FOIL websites like PROXSA[32] and SACW[33].  In September 2001, Puniyani wrote an article on FOIL’s website on the reasons behind the terrorist attack on the United States.  He essentially sympathizes with the terrorists and concludes that America had it coming.  He praises Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and agrees with his views that “American establishment itself has given encouragement and even sponsored terrorist groups in different countries at different times.”[34]  Interestingly, Puniyani can only find one praiseworthy voice of restraint among all the people and leaders of the world – the Communist dictator Castro.

Puniyani considers the terrorists, Taliban and Al Qaeda as “disadvantaged groups” and opines that “[surely] the present dastardly act of terrorists is a sad reminder that even disadvantaged groups, who are nowhere equal to the might of the most powerful nation can occasionally puncture the high handedness of bullies.”[35]  Thus, according to Puniyani, the attacks of 9-11 are really out of desperation and retaliation against the ‘bully’ United States and have nothing to do with fundamentalist views of Islam.

Puniyani is also suspicious of a gathering of major Hindu spiritual and community leaders that called for an end of Jihad as well as discrimination against Hindus.  Talking about one such gathering, Puniyani feels that “they use saffron color to hide their sectarian ideas and narrow politics in the name of religion.”[36]  While Muslim religious clerics, scholars and teachers can come together to talk about political rights of Muslims as well as discrimination against Muslims and pressure the Indian government to address the issues faced by Muslims, Hindu spiritual and community leaders cannot do so and are demonized as ‘fascists’ and ‘sectarian’.  According to one press coverage of the All India Anti-Terrorism Conference organized by Islamic Madrasas Association, “[the] gathering also sought to heighten the feelings of Muslims having been the victims of historical deprivation, worldwide oppression and discrimination by the Indian government”.[37]  But, Puniyani and his Leftist/Communist colleagues do not critically analyze such gatherings and are obsessed with Hindus only.

On June 20, 2011, Puniyani wrote an article eulogizing the controversial painter M.F. Hussain, who died on June 9, 2011.  Puniyani called him the “most celebrated painter of India, [with] a thorough Indian and understanding Hindu culture much more than any of his detractors.”[38]  M.F. Hussain was the controversial painter that made nude paintings of India (i.e. Bharat Mata) and various Hindu deities.  While many in Indian media ignored the sentiments of Hindus and denounced them as ‘Hindu chauvinists’, it is important to note that Hussain painted Goddess Durga in sexual union with a tiger, Goddess Lakshmi sitting naked on Lord Ganesha’s head, Goddess Saraswati playing the Sitar naked, and a naked Sita sitting on Ravana’s thighs, among others.[39]  This is in contrast to painting of Mother Teresa, his own mother, Muslim ladies, his own daughter, Muslim poets, etc. whom he painted full clothed[40].  In another instance, Hussain painted a fully clad Muslim King next to a Naked Brahmin in the same painting.[41]  This clearly shows the late artist’s inherent bias against things Hindu.

Besides SINGH Foundation, some of the donors of CSSS include Ford Foundation – New Delhi, Bread for the World – Germany, Misereor – Germany, Heinrich Boll Foundation – Germany, Action Aid – New Delhi, CMC – Netherlands, DCA – New Delhi.[42].   Bread For The World or Brot für die Welt is a Christian organization based in Germany[43].  It’s not only in the business of “distributing bread” as part of its mission based on Christian values.  According to their site, “[the] word ‘Bread’ does not only refer to food. Martin Luther interpreted the request for ‘daily bread’ in the Lord’s Prayer as a request for everything needed to keep body and soul together – like food, drink, clothes, shoes, housing, farms, land, cattle, money and property.”[44]  Thus, the organization applies Protestant principles and engages in providing everything to the poor of the world besides just basic food.  They also give assistance to “victims of human rights violations.”[45]  This pattern is quite similar to other Church organizations supporting ‘human rights violations’, particularly in ‘heathen rich countries’ like India.  And, who are the decision makers in this organization?  “All decisions with regard to project applications received by ‘Brot für die Welt’ are taken by the ‘Committee for Ecumenical Service’, which simultaneously serves as the Allocation Committee for ‘Brot für die Welt’. Its 17 members are nominated by the ‘Diakonische Konferenz’ of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) in agreement with the Council of the EKD and the managing bodies of the Free Churches.’[46]  The organization is directly accountable to the Protestant Church of Germany.

Similarly, “MISEREOR is the German Catholic Bishops’ [Organization] for Development Cooperation”[47], another Christian charitable organization.  And, Christian Aid, the UK based Christian charity, was discussed earlier in the report.

SINGH Foundation also provides financial sponsorship to what it deems “fledgling grassroots groups in the South Asian Community in the United States.”[48]  Apparently, it can only find three fledgling groups – Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS)[49], the youth wing of FOIL, 3rd I New York[50], another FOIL associated group and PROXSA[51], which is another name for FOIL itself.  Are there no other non-political grass roots organizations that are worthwhile to receive money from SINGH?  This goes to show further that the Foundation is nothing but a channel for FOIL and its partners to raise money in support of their political and ideological work.


[4] Based on a WHOIS search at http://www.Whois.Net/whois/insaf.net.  accessed June 20, 2011

[5] Abha Sur is listed as the main contact for Alliance For A Democratic And Secular South Asia in the list of Community Organizations here.  http://www.copperpages.com/indiacurrents/default.asp?na=6_45_0_U.S._21,  accessed June 20, 2011

[6] See event announcement titled “The Uses and Misuses of Religion: Lessons from 20 years of Anti-Communal Activism” by Shabnam Hashmi, March 7, 2008,  http://southasiaalliance.org/index.cfm?sectionID=4,  accessed June 28th 2011

[9] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.[8]

[12] Ibid.[8]

[14] See reference to the old SACW page, which used to be hosted at www.mnet.fr/aiindex.  The latter was referred to in the November 1, 1998 issue of Ghadar, given in Footnote 504.  Also see Harsh Kapoor’s note at http://insaf.net/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/2002/001552.html, accessed June 20, 2011

[15] See Kapoor’s note announcing the report at http://insaf.net/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/2002/001553.html,    accessed June 20, 2011

[16] Ibid.[8]

[17] “Status of Women in India: Problems and Concerns Internship Project(December 2010 – January 2011)”, page 2-3,  http://www.csss-sla.com/Status%20of%20Women%20in%20India%20Internees%20report%5B1%5D.pdf, accessed on June 22, 2011

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.[17], page 6

[20] Ibid.[17], page 12

[21] Ibid.[17], page 16

[22] Ibid.[17], page 17

[23] Ibid.[17], page 6

[24] Ibid.[17], page 16

[25] Ibid.[17], page 34

[26] Ibid.[17], page 37

[28]Workshop on ‘Peace and Communal Harmony”, April 2011,  http://www.csss-isla.com/Varanasi-PCR-011.htm,  accessed June 20, 2011

[29] Ibid.[27]

[30] Ibid.[28]

[31] Ibid.[28]

[32] See, for example, “Tackling The Terrorist Menace”.  Sept. 2001.  http://www.proxsa.org/resources/9-11/index.html.  Accessed June 20, 2011; See “Hindutva Offensive Social Roots: Characterisation” http://www.proxsa.org/politics/hindutva/rampun1.html Accessed June 20, 2011

[33]R.R Puniyani, “Hindutva Offensive Social Roots: Characterisation”, http://www.proxsa.org/politics/hindutva/rampun1.html, accessed June 22, 2011; Ram Puniyani, “What do ’Hindu’ spiritual leaders talk when they meet?”, February 20, 2009, accessed June 22, 2011

[34] Ram Puniyani,Tackling The Terrorist Menace”, September 2001, http://www.proxsa.org/resources/9-11/Puniyani-0109-terroristmenace.html, accessed June 21, 2011

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ram Puniyani, “What do ’Hindu’ spiritual leaders talk when they meet?”, February 20, 2009,  http://www.sacw.net/article676.html, accessed June 22, 2011

[37] JP Sharma, “The Message From Deoband”, http://www.sify.com/news/The-message-from-Deoband-imagegallery-mindspeak-jdqo8ocbcac.html#galname, accessed June 22, 2011

[38] Ram Puniyani, “M.F. Hussain: Victim of Intolerance”, June 20, 2011, http://twocircles.net/2011jun20/mf_husain_victim_intolerance.html, accessed July 25, 2011

[39] See a comparison on Hindu paintings and others paintings by Hussain put together by Hindu Jagruti Samiti.  “M F Hussain’s Hypocrisy”, http://www.hindujagruti.org/activities/campaigns/national/mfhussain-campaign/intro.php#1, accessed July 25, 2011

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.[39]

[44] Ibid.

[47] http://www.misereor.org/about-us.html,  accessed June 21, 2011

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.[48]

[51] Ibid.[48]

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2 responses to “SINGH Foundation

  1. Excellent work. Incidentally, Ram Puniyani has his own website (pluralindia.com) and youtube channel (rampuniyani1) where he whitewashes both contemporary Islamic terrorism and the mass murder and temple destruction of Muslim invaders and Indian Muslim rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb. Predictably, he focuses almost entirely on “Hindu communalism” and “Hindutva,” paying little attention to the ideology that motivates Islamic fanatics both in the past and present. His website contains an online version of his book “Communalism: An Illustrated Primer” which is particularly nasty, repeating much of the same politically correct, leftist propaganda, accentuated with cartoons that would make it amusing were it not so outrageously mendacious. Puniyani supports the Aryan Invasion Theory, the myth that St. Thomas came to India, and Kashmiri separatism, going so far as to whitewash the cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits, blaming the entire affair on (who else?) Hindu radicals. In fact, on his website, he hints that India’s control over Kashmir was never legitimate, because the king of Kashmir signed an Instrument of Accession “not merger.” No such similar condemnation is made regarding Pakistan and China’s control over parts of the state. He ignores the fact that Kashmir’s Instrument of Accession was the same as those signed by all other princely states.

    He denies that there ever was a notion of Hindu nationalism prior to the British introducing the Western concept of nationalism to India (a remarkably Eurocentric perspective coming from a leftist who claims to oppose the “bullying” of the West). He complains about Hindu nationalists’ reverence for the sage Manu and his Manu Smriti law code, accusing them of supporting casteism and misogyny. He completely ignores that the current Manu Smriti was a work that developed over time, with the original laws that were more benign towards women and lower castes having later been supplanted by more draconian ones. Interestingly, he exhibits no such negative cherry-picking when discussing Islamic scripture, taking pains to present a positive view of it. He supports caste-based reservations and accuses Hindu nationalists of being casteist for supporting them. He condemns Hindu nationalists for attempting to convert the tribal people of India’s Northeastern states to Hinduism, while issuing no similar condemnation of the Christian missionary activity that it is a response to. Indeed, he even goes so far as to flat out deny that Christian missionary organizations receive any foreign funding! Of course, when condemning political organizations, he focuses almost exclusively on the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, while virtually ignoring its rival, the Indian National Congress.

    Interestingly, he is one of the many far-left “human rights activists” (like Praful Bidwai, and Arundhati Roy) who supports clemency for Afzal Guru, the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist who has been charged, tried, and sentenced to die by the Indian Supreme Court for his involvement in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. Puniyani, like his fellow leftist ideologues, alleges that he was not given a fair trial. Such concern for the due process of law would be touching were it not for his refusal to give accused Hindus the same benefit of the doubt. For instance, he dismisses Swami Aseemanand as a Hindu terrorist, despite the latter’s not having yet been convicted by Indian courts. He sides with Teesta Setalvad regarding the 2002 Gujarat “genocide” believing her to be innocent despite the charges of perjury laid against her. However, he considers Narendra Modi, the BJP Chief Minister of Gujarat to be responsible for instigating the riots, despite his never even having been formally charged with anything by any Indian court.

    He alleges that the Modi government is corrupt, based on the writings of Setalvad, yet makes no mention of INC President Sonia Gandhi’s involvement in graft and corruption. Indeed, he actually defended her against her BJP critics, saying that her Indian citizenship should have been enough of a qualification for her to become Prime Minister of India. This is only a small sampling of Puniyani’s anti-Hindu “activism” disguised as a “anti-communalism” and a commitment to “secularism.” Keep up the excellent work and I hope you make more updates soon. Whatever happened to your post on Sadhana the organization of Hindu “progressives” supported by none other than Biju Matthew?

    • Dear si91,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with your perspectives on Ram Puniyani, Teesta Setalvad, Praful Bidwai, Arundhati Roy, etc. It’s amazing that these “rockstars of reform and human rights” have not bothered to hound Congress as well as the Muslim and Christian communities for corruption, riots, human rights violations and the various social evils. Where are they when an Islamist crowd desecrated the Amar Jawan Jyoti in Mumbai? Their lapdog status is clear when they don’t raise a hue and cry on such anti-national acts. But, only coward Indians can tolerate such things. Patriotism, it seems, has died amongst Indians. They tolerate such anti-national acts and such people.

      It is laughable calling the Modi gov’t corrupt while ignoring the massive corruption scandals at the national level under the Congress gov’t! If this was the United States, these people would be dumped on by the people here.

      Anyways, I have had some family issues so have been quiet and busy with that. Hope to turn that around soon so I can write more.

      Regarding Sadhana – after my write-up, the founder of the organization had contacted me and explained their stances on various things. While I do not agree with her marching with Biju Mathew (I plan to write something separately on that), I have been watching their activities and they seem to at least do some real Hindu activities rather than using the Hindu banner and bashing Hinduism. But, if that changes, I will surely expose any misdeeds.

      Best,
      Abhi.

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