“Untangling the Manderweb” !!

via H Balakrishnan published on April 7, 2009



Reference the ‘ book review ‘ – entitled Post – Mortem of a Ghoulish Orgy ” – (TNIE – 05 APR).
The name of the author of the book

” Fear and Forgiveness
caught my eye – Mr. Harsh Mander , a ‘ former I.A.S. officer ‘ of the Chattisgarh cadre. 
Mr. Harsh Mander,was the ‘ poster boy ‘ of the ‘ secular
media ‘, especially NDTV (then Star News) , in the period post the ‘ghoulish orgy ‘ – aka – Gujarat 2002!!  However two brave and straight forward individuals & patriots Shri Krishen Kak a ‘ former I.A.S. officer ‘ and Smt. Radha Rajan – co-edited an explosive book entitled – “NGOs: ACTIVISTS AND FOREIGN FUNDS-ANTI-NATION INDUSTRY” (2006) - published by VIGIL PUBLIC OPINION FORUM,CHENNAI.

Mr. Harsh Mander comes in for special mention in the book , with a full chapter devoted to this ‘secular poster boy’ – and rightly entitled – ” Untangling the Manderweb ” ( pp -116 – 153 ).
What emerges from a reading of that particular Chapter is the fact
that this  ‘ secular worthy ‘ was peddling a pack of LIES to the unsuspecting citzenary.

This is proved by the fact that the Press Council of India had found Mr.Harsh Mander 

‘ GUILTY ‘ by its decision  ’14/106/02-03 of 30 JUNE 2003 ‘.

It was in the case,’ Dr. Krishen Kak vs TIMES OF INDIA ‘.
The Council found that Harsh Mander was  ‘ spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities in his column ‘ HINDUSTAN HAMARA -TOI, 20 MARCH 2002 ‘.

The independent and statuatory Press Council of India determined that Harsh Mander’s ” Hindustan Hamara ” report at

‘ several points reiterated rumours that were being circulated at the relevant time. The truthfulness of the facts mentioned therein had not been established at any point of time till then but Shri Mander had chosen to base his views and sentiments on them , and put pen to the opinion formed by him ‘. The Council then ruled , ‘ it was expected of the author as a responsible serving officer as well as of a respondent paper of repute like the Times of India , to be more restrained and circumspect in pronouncing a denouncement of the whole system in a communally surcharged atmosphere ‘.

The Press Council of India admonished the Times of India for its
‘ indifferent and irresponsible attitude – – – in a matter of great public importance ‘, and felt , ‘ that a greater responsibility devolved on the Editor of the paper in exercising his discretion to select articles for publication in such a situation ‘.  ( ibid – pp – 126).

In a word – the Press Council of India found that Harsh Mander had LIED. No more. No less. But then , that’s the

” DNA of the Indian Secularist “!!
As Shri Krishen Kak noted in the book : ” Indeed , not a single major paper or T.V. Channel reported the Press Council’s exposure of Mander. Not surprisingly , in addition to The Times of India , publications like the Hindustan Times , The Telegraph , Asian Age , Mainstream , Deccan Chronicle and Rashtriya Sahara were found by the Press Council of India to carry reports tending to inflame communal passions and , let it be noted , these were pro – Muslim and anti – Hindu passions”. (pp – 127) . JAI HO!!  
Some excerpts from the book are in order and in context!! Here goes:







‘ Mr. Mander is a Sikh but finds it expedient to discard the identifying Sikh name of ‘Singh’ so as to be ‘SECULAR’. He has NEVER spoken up for Indian Sikhs victimized in the 1984 killings and still un-served by justice, BUT HAS NO QUALMS SERVING THE INTERESTS OF AMERICAN SIKHS DETERMINEDLY DOGMATISING THEIR FAITH.’
 ‘As an I.A.S. officer, he was no different from most others,except that he found favour with UPPER-CLASS JHOLAWALAS AND JHOLAWALIS,a constituency whose AGENDA he promoted and that in turn PROMOTED HIM. Within the I.A.S., however, there were many stories of the REAL REASON for his frequent transfers,and the MISUSE of his official position and facilities,especially in the country’s LBS NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ADMINISTRATION where he was posted for a few years.These included awkward questions about who paid his bills when he travelled to and in Rajasthan,and for what mode of travel (rail or road) the accounts had TO SHOW payment’.
 – – – – . Mr. MANDER (WHILE STILL IN THE I.A.S.) arranged his deputation to ACTION AID, the giant Britsh Multi-national with a ‘subsidiary’ in India, that calls itself as a charity but IS ACTUALLY IN GLOBAL CHILDREN EXPLOITATION INDUSTRY. Mr. Mander secured for himself exceptionally favourable terms,even getting ACTION AID to shift-to suit him-its national Headquarters from Bangalore to New Delhi,and to giving him a salary that was PARTLY IN POUNDS STERLING, and that was at least 50 times the salary OF ITS LOWEST PAID EMPLOYEE IN THIS COUNTRY.In return Mr. Mander used his official connections to DROP a government enquiry into ACTION AID implementing a COMMUNAL AGENDA in India.’
‘A move to revert Mr.Mander from British employ to Indian government employ was STRONGLY resisted by Mr.Mander,and again he used his I.A.S. connections to HAVE IT DROPPED. Meanwhile,still in the I.A.S., he declared IN WRITING HIS PRIMARY LOYALTY NOT TO THE INDIA GOVERNMENT BUT TO HIS BRITISH EMPLOYER. Two years before he actually put in his papers from the I.A.S.,he’d announced he was prepared to leave his own country’s administrative service to SERVE AS AN AGENT IN INDIA THE ‘AGENDA’ OF OUR FORMER COLONIAL MASTERS’.
However, the sword of reversion continued to hang over Mr. Mander’s head so, when he completed his pensionable service in the I.A.S.,he put in his papers for early voluntary retirement, claiming from the Indian government upto a million rupees in reitrement benefits.The Indian government agreed,with the stipulation (well within the rules) that Mr.Mander cease working for ACTION AID. Secure in British employ,Mr. Mander mooned the Indian government. He stayed on with ACTION AID-on a fat British salary-and continued to DEMAND HIS RETIREMENT BENEFITS. HIS ATTACHMENT TO HIS COUNTRY IS CLEARLY ONLY TO WHAT HE CN MULCT FROM IT’. (pp 118-119)


Shri Krishen Kak then followed up with an ‘ OPEN LETTER ‘ to the ‘VERY-VERY-SECULAR HARSH MANDER’. Some very interesting points are raised :

An Open Letter to Mr Harsh Mander

Sept 11, 2006

Dear Mr Mander,

You are in the forefront of the Right to Information campaign and are on record as requiring ” public accountability ” from ” funded NGOs” (“NGOs, Activists & Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry”, Chennai: Vigil Public Opinion Forum, 2006:143).  You also continue to be in the forefront of the ” secular ” campaign for Muslim rights in Gujarat. The Deccan Chronicle today published an emotive response to the book, of which I am co-editor, and in the context of that book, the Chronicle article, and your own stated position regarding transparency and accountability, I invite you set the public record straight in regard to your public persona, especially –

1.    Did you apply for retirement from the IAS or did you resign from it?  On what date did you first write to the government in this regard? Did the government make any employment stipulations in regard to your retirement/resignation and have you honoured those stipulations?  If retirement, what would have been your total entitlement of retirement benefits? If resignation, what would have been your total entitlement of resignation benefits?  When is the date you were actually no longer on the IAS rolls?

2.    What was your full entitlement of pay, allowances and benefits from ActionAid before you left the IAS?  How much of this was in foreign currency?  How much of this was directly or indirectly from any foreign source, and which ones?  And, had you been receiving the IAS salary, how much would this have been on the day you left the IAS?

3.    While you were formally associated (in any capacity) with ActionAid, to which recipients with whom you were also formally associated (in any capacity) did ActionAid extend support, whether in cash or kind? These include Anhad and any of the Amans (see p.136 of the Vigil book). 

4.    You have been described variously as ” Director ” or
” Honorary Director ” or ” Director of Policy Research ” of the Centre for Equity Studies (see p.142 of the Vigil book). What is the legal persona of this Centre? What is/has been your formal connection with this Centre, and from when?  Has this Centre ever received foreign support, directly or indirectly, in cash or kind? How much or what, and from whom?  

Foreign support in kind includes foreign-based sponsors taking care of your travel and hospitality expenses to, from and in the foreign country.  Indirect foreign support includes an FCRA -organization receiving the money and then passing it on, whether or not in the guise of projects, to other organizations (an example is on p.128 of the Vigil book) so that the detailed expenditure account does not appear in the FCRA-organization’s balance sheet but forms part of the accounts of the receiving organization or individual  (see, for example, pp.122, 125 of the Vigil book). 

These are all questions directly related to your public persona and to your credibility in public life.  Some of these questions have been asked before, but not answered – you will find details in the Vigil book.  The purpose of (1) is in regard to the veracity of your oft-repeated claim that you had resigned in anguish from the IAS; of (2) in regard to your primary loyalty to your British or to your Indian employer; of (3) and (4) to what extent “charity” money of ActionAid (and ActionAid technically is “a charity”) was diverted by you to other organizations with which you were connected and that now support you professionally/financially.  

The public debate on the Vigil book initiated by the Deccan Chronicle ( http://www.deccan.com/chennaichronicle/nation/Nationalnews.asp#Criticism%20doesn’t%20perturb%20NGOs,%20activists ) focuses on personalities rather than on the facts about them given in the book – for example, the Chronicle quotes Sandeep Pandey as saying that “as a principle we do not accept foreign funds”, yet there is a whole chapter with details of foreign funding to ASHA that the Chronicle chooses to ignore. It claims that Ms Aruna Roy resigned from the National Advisory Council.  She did not.  Her term ended and she declined renewal/extension. Or, for that matter, the Indian Express lies that the book was “launched at the BJP headquarters” (Sept 10, 2006).  And Seema Mustafa and Venkatesh Kesari, in the context of the book release, continue to lie about the number of Gujarat dead (Asian Age, Sept 9, 2006), notwithstanding the real figure released by the UPA government itself (see p.133 of the Vigil book).  

The Vigil book is clear, as were Shri George Fernandes and Shri Narendra Modi who formally released it, that the crucial issue is not about personalities in their personal capacity, but of their accountability and the accountability of foreign-funded NGOs in public life.

On behalf of my fellow-editor and myself, we await eagerly your factual response to the questions above and in the book.

Thank you,

Krishen Kak 

Needless to state , Mr. krishen Kak got no reply !!

And if all the foregoing in ” Untangling the Manderweb ” was not enough , here is what a former senior executive of Action Aid India had to say about Harsh Mander : ”  In an e-mail titled – ‘ Look Ma! The Emperor has no clothes! ‘  circulated in January 2003 to Mander and to Action Aid offices and individual staff all over the world, began it ‘ AAI Country Director Harsh Mander is a liar – – -‘. ( pp – 120)

What a wonderful picture of ‘ secular probity and integrity ‘ .

And what does one say of the TNSE publishing a review of such an ” HONEST and STRAIGHT FORWARD I.A.S.


or would “FRAUDSTER” be more apt??!!

What would be the credibilty of the written matter in the book in the light of the foregoing ?? I leave it to you Mr. Aditya Sinha!! Cheers!!



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