The Sikh Organizations Within CAG

CAG contains two Sikh organizations that stand together with others to advance their own agendas. As this chapter bears out, one of the organizations (SAHO) is virtually nonexistent as it has no website, no broad-based board or membership, a dissolved registration status and no major independent events of its own to its credit except those held with other Sikh organizations or signing its name in initiatives like CAG. It also supports the Khalistani separatist movement to carve out the State of Punjab from India. The second organization (VFF) openly champions the Khalistani cause and is also dedicated to producing atrocity literature against the Hindus and the Indian government.

It is ironic, to say the least, that these Sikh organizations are part of a coalition whose National Coordinator (George Abraham) is the President of the Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC). INOC, as already stated, is a part of the Congress Party of India, whose leaders and activists were widely involved in the massacres of Sikhs in the 1984 Delhi riots. Khushwant Singh, a noted critic of the Congress Party’s involvement in the riots, had the following to say about the “Sangh Parivar” and the RSS, the archrivals of CAG:

It must be acknowledged that some leaders of the Sangh parivar and the RSS, including A.B.Vajpayee, went out of their way to help the Sikhs. So did men like Ram Jethmalani, Soli Sorabjee and a few others.[1]

Thus, these Sikh bodies’ support for a coalition that contains members of the party held responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots is itself a testament to their hypocrisy.

It is also important to categorically state that the 1984 riots were an unfortunate blot on the history of Hindu-Sikh harmony that goes back to the days of the Sikh Gurus. The perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, such as Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and others should be brought to justice. And the tragic events that happened in Delhi in 1984 should in no way be allowed to be exploited by elements that demand balkanization of India; it is simply unacceptable by any patriotic Indian or those who believe in the sovereignty of India.

Section 35.01    Sikh American Heritage Organization (SAHO)

Sikh American Heritage Organization (SAHO) is an Illinois-based organization that was registered in the state in 1993 by Rajinder Singh Mago, a prominent Sikh community member in Illinois and a member of CAG.  Mago was also the President of SAHO in 1994. However, the organization’s registration has been “involuntarily dissolved” since 1995 (see illustration below). Similarly, no IRS records were found for SAHO. And, its former website (www.sikhamerican.org) has been defunct since about June 2006, as per a Wayback Machine Search.[2] SAHO is also not seen organizing any independent events or is not “visible” except at those mostly held by Mago or in Press Releases and petitions put forth by the CAG. Hence, one wonders in what capacity SAHO can genuinely claim to have any sort of existence.

SAHO Illinois Registration Expiration

Mago has been active in various capacities, ranging from president of the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago to Trustee Emeritus of the Council or a Parliament of World Religions, to Co-Chair or Asian American Coalition of Chicago, etc.[3] He is also on the board of the Sikh Religious Society of Chicago.[4]

However, Mago is also supportive of the balkanization of India and has made a habit of breast-beating about the so-called “atrocities” of the Indian state and Hindus against minorities such as Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and the Dalits. Mago supports the Khalistan separatist movement in the name of “human rights violations” against Sikhs in India, in particular the entry of the Indian army into the Golden Temple to flush out terrorists and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Khalistan separatists aim to break away the State of Punjab from India. However, the movement rarely speaks of the State of Punjab in Pakistan and the atrocities that Sikhs have faced in Pakistan. Or, the torture of Sikh Gurus by Muslim Kings in pre-independence India. These separatists try to follow in the footsteps of fellow separatists who advocate secession of Kashmir from India, but not from Pakistan. In fact, Khalistani separatists are known to work with their Kashmiri counterparts in their common cause – which of course is to fight against India.

On June 5, 2005, the Sikh Religious Society (of which Mago is a member), along with the Institute for Conflict and Peace Studies (IFCAPS), organized the “Third Sikh Holocaust Memorial” events in Chicago, to highlight the “holocaust” against Sikhs in India.[5]

At the conference, IFCAPS deemed the entry of the Indian troops into the Golden Temple as the “Third Sikh Holocaust (Ghalughara)”[6] and the “The attack on Sikhs following the death of Indira Gandhi”[7] as the Fourth Sikh Holocaust.

The event featured Dr. Amarjit Singh of the Khalistan Affairs Center in Washington, D.C.[8] who gave myriad reasons for the separation of Punjab from India. Khalistan Affairs Center maintains that “Khalistan is the only solution to curb future atrocities against the Sikhs and to put an end to the current colonial policies instituted by the Indian State in Punjab.”[9] Thus, the center lobbies support for Khalistan and seeks interventions by Western countries to pressure for a break-up of Punjab and Kashmir. Khalistan Affairs Center also considers India as the “…world’s largest dynastic, dystopian, Neo-Nazi, demoNcracy (sic) [the center’s word for a ‘demonic version’ of democracy].”[10]

In November 2009, the Center organized a protest along with Ghulam Nabi Fai and the Kashmir American Council during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States, where Amarjit Singh urged President Obama to pressure India to recognize Khalistan. Singh, as already noted, said on the occasion: “The only way this is possible is through the establishment of an independent sovereign nation, Khalistan, which will also act as a buffer state between arch rival nuclear nations India and Pakistan.”[11] Fai, as discussed in this report in various places, was arrested in 2011 by the FBI and pleaded guilty on charges of being a Pakistani spy lobbying against India.

The relationship between Amarjit Singh and Rajinder Singh Mago is further highlighted by the following fact: Singh was the Chairman of the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago as of 2012 and Mago was the past President.[12]

Section 35.02    Voices for Freedom (VFF)

VFF is a New York-based Sikh organization whose primary objective is to highlight human rights violations against Sikhs in India, to ensure justice to the victims of the 1984 riots as well as the so-called continued atrocities of the Indian State against Sikhs. VFF actively lobbies US, UK and Canadian lawmakers to pressure India on these matters. In its attempts, VFF appears to be ideologically aligned with the Khalistan separatist movement that swears by a separate Sikh country carved out of India. The organization also promotes a highly biased view of Hindus and Hinduism that centers on the conclusion that Hinduism is essentially oppressive and the lynchpin of all the problems of India and should thus be abolished.

In its pursuit of raising awareness of issues facing the Sikhs, VFF has formed an unholy alliance with members of the CAG and others whose core mission is to “break” India.

In 2011, VFF petitioned the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to deem India a “Country of Particular Concern” and force the Indian government to address the so-called human rights violations against Sikhs.[13] VFF was also joined by the IAMC in the testimony to USCIRF, where IAMC highlighted the “atrocities” against Muslims by the Indian government, particularly by the government of Gujarat.[14]

While the organization believes that “…international standards of human rights apply to all people equally, and that vigilance and timely organized [d]emonstration can prevent the tragedies of the past centuries from recurring…”,[15] its activities do not reflect desire to fight for the human rights of Hindus in Kashmir, for example. In fact, the opposite is true. VFF and like-minded organizations categorically blame India and the Indian Army for all the ills of Kashmir while completely discounting the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Hindus happening in the valley and supporting secession of Kashmir from India.

On December 30, 2009, VFF carried an article on the Tenth International Kashmir Peace Conference held in Washington DC on July 29, 2009.[16] The article argued that the problems of Kashmir were a direct result of India’s stubbornness, and quotes Harinder Baweja of Tehelka magazine as saying that “Kashmir is a humungous human tragedy…that the main reason for the lingering dispute was ‘India’s mind-set’.”[17] There is no significant mention of aggravation by Pakistan or any discussion of human rights of Kashmiri Pandits at this conference. But, what gives away the biased nature of this so-called peace conference is that it was organized by Ghulam Nabi Fai and the Kashmiri American Council. Besides Fai, the conference prominently featured Angana Chatterji, a regular at such events, along with key representatives of FOIL, CSFH, FOSA, CAG and such other outfits.

None of these organizations incorporate Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in their calls for an independent Kashmir nor have they ever lobbied so hard for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits to live peacefully and with dignity in the Kashmir Valley.

But, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of VFF’s agenda is its promotion of a highly demeaning view of Hinduism and Hindus. On December 30, 2009, VFF carried an elaborate article by Braj Ranjan Mani, Neofascism, Human Rights and Social Democracy,[18] which was also part of a speech that Mani gave at a VFF event in Chandigarh, India. Describing Mani as a “…noted scholar…,”[19] VFF agreed with the view that “…neo-brahmanism is the root cause for the present [non-egalitarian] social and political climate of the country.”[20] In Mani’s opinion, every imaginable modern-day problem of India is caused by some sort of fascist “brahmanical” Hinduism practiced by the “brute elite” higher castes!

Mani’s intense hatred for Hinduism and India is clearly evident in the article and in his book Debrahmanising History: Dominance and Resistance in Indian Society (2005, Manohar). In a series of convoluted arguments, he labels Hinduism as some sort of a “neo-fascist brahmanic religion” that has oppressed all the people of India through thousands of years and continues to do so. According to him,

Contrary to the popular notion of a liberal, tolerant, inclusive religion—concocted and disseminated by the caste elites—Hinduism is a mere euphemism for the caste-centric Vedic-brahmanism which was earlier known as Sanatana Dhrama (sic) or Varnashrama Dharma [Emphasis original].[21]

In his diatribe against Hindus and Hinduism, Mani does not spare even Hindu philosophical works like the Upanishads or Indian leaders such as Gandhi and Radhakrishnan, blaming the latter two for remaining “…enthralled by the philosophical grandeur of brahmanical Hinduism…”[22]

On May 31, 2011, Mani wrote a similarly disturbing article for Truthseekers International, an aggressive Christian evangelical organization “committed to Spiritual and Social Freedom for India’s Oppressed.”[23] The organization, registered to a Methodist Missionary named Grant McFarland in Texas,[24] cunningly uses Hindu/Indian philosophical ideas and personalities to convert the so-called Dalits, Untouchables and Other Backward Class people in India. For example, it preaches and distributes pamphlets that say “…Phule, Kabir, and other historical Indian figures were followers of Jesus.”[25] This is so because they preached a “one True God” that was against caste and, hence, that God is Jesus Christ. Truthseeker’s vile attempts at painting Hinduism as an oppressive religion in order to pave a smoother way for Christianity in India is peppered with all sorts of lies and twists. In yet another example, Truthseekers calls the story of Lord Rama and Goddess Durga, during the festivals of Navratri and Dusshera, outright lies concocted by evil Brahmins. According to them, “…Durga was actually a prostitute hired by the Brahmins to kill the native king of India, Mahishasura.”[26]

Though the organization is run by Indian Christians in India, the strings are pulled by the Methodist Church in the United States.

Writing for Truthseekers International, Mani describes Mahatma Gandhi as “…the patron-saint of caste-brahmanic culture.”[27] Utterly disregarding Mahatma Gandhi’s immense sacrifices and struggles for uplift of the poor, he concludes:

Gandhi was not what he posed himself to be, or what historians claim he was. Gandhi was pro-caste. He was not the champion of the poor and caste-oppressed. Gandhi was a diehard casteist, a devout Hindu, who subscribed to the brahmanical worldview of caste. His politics and priorities were grounded in the Hinduisation of Indian culture and society. His anti-colonial politics was part of his more fundamental politics of pro-caste Brahmanism.[28]

In essence, Mani follows the same line of perverted thinking as others like Kancha Illaiah and Satinath Choudhary, considering Hinduism as nothing more than a cesspool of illegitimate rituals and hegemonic practices.

In the conference article discussed earlier, VFF elevates Mani as follows:

[He] has emerged as one of the top thinkers who dared to challenge the larger brahamanic paradigm of society that the official Indian establishment is in love with. His work is being viewed among the academia as a major contribution in contemporary times towards construction of an emancipatory pedagogy.[29]

 

[1] Khushwant Singh, “Victory to the Mob”, August 22, 2005, Outlook India.com, http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?228338. Accessed February 14, 2014

[2] http://web.archive.org/web/20060315000000*/http://sikhamerican.org. For example, clicking on the June 16, 2006, snapshot gives you the following error: “Forbidden You don’t have permission to access /web/20060616071553/http://www.sikhamerican.org/ on this server.” Accessed January 20, 2014

[3] A list of various positions is available at http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Rajinder-Mago/67776547. Accessed January 20, 2014

[4] See the bottom of the following op-ed on the Oak Creek Gurudwara shooting by Mr. Mago at http://www.svabhinava.org/meccabenares/RajinderSMago/OakCreekGurdwaraOpEd-frame.php. Accessed January 20, 2014

[5] “Third Sikh Holocaust Memorial Events in Chicago”, June 5, 2005, http://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?/topic/11711-third-sikh-holocaust-memorial-events-in-chicago-f/. Accessed January 24, 2014

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] http://www.khalistan-affairs.com/wp/?page_id=2. Accessed January 24, 2014

[9] Ibid

[10] “SIKH, KASHMIRI & CHRISTIAN READERS VISITING INDIA BEWARE!”, November 28, 2012, http://www.khalistan-affairs.com/wp/?p=1026. Accessed January 24, 2014

[11] “Kashmiris, Sikhs to protest during Singh’s US visit”, November 23, 2009, http://www.khalistan-affairs.com/wp/?p=338. Accessed January 24, 2014

[12] http://www.pcschicago.org/aboutus.php. Accessed January 24, 2014

[13] “VFF Updates USCIRF Executives. India placed on Watch list in USCIRFs annual report 2011”, May 13, 2011, http://voicesforfreedom.org/news/vff-updates-uscirf-executives/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[14] “IAMC Responds to USCIRF’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom”, May 9, 2011, http://iamc.com/press-release/iamc-responds-to-uscirfs-annual-report-on-international-religious-freedom/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[15] http://voicesforfreedom.org/voices-for-freedom/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[16] See post titled “Kashmir is a humungous human tragedy says Harinder Baweja” on December 30, 2009 at http://voicesforfreedom.org/news/kashmir-is-a-humungous-human-tragedy-says-harinder-baweja/.  More information about the conference can be found at http://www.twf.org/News/Y2009/0729-Kashmir.html. Accessed January 25, 2014

[17] Ibid

[18] “Neofascism, human rights and social democracy”, December 30, 2009, http://voicesforfreedom.org/reports-and-publications/neobrahmanism-human-rights/.  Accessed January 25, 2014

[19] “VFF confers Guru Tegh Bahadur Human Rights Award on Justice Bains”, December 30, 2009, http://voicesforfreedom.org/reports-and-publications/vff-confers-guru-tegh-bahadur-human-rights-award-on-justice-bains/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[20] Ibid

[21] “Neofascism, human rights and social democracy”, December 30, 2009, http://voicesforfreedom.org/reports-and-publications/neobrahmanism-human-rights/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[22] Ibid

[23] http://www.truthseekersinternational.org/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[24] http://whois.domaintools.com/truthseekersinternational.org. Accessed January 25, 2014

[25] http://www.truthseekersinternational.org/literature/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[26] “How Truthseekers International is fighting against cultural terrorism”, November 17, 2013, http://www.truthseekersinternational.org/how-truthseekers-international-is-fighting-against-cultural-terrorism/.  Accessed January 25, 2014

[27] Braj Ranjan Mani, “Phule, Gandhi, and India’s culture war”, May 31, 2011, http://www.truthseekersinternational.org/phule-gandhi-and-india%e2%80%99s-culture-war/. Accessed January 25, 2014

[28] Mani, ibid

[29] VFF confers Guru Tegh Bahadur Human Rights Award on Justice Bains”, December 30, 2009, http://voicesforfreedom.org/reports-and-publications/vff-confers-guru-tegh-bahadur-human-rights-award-on-justice-bains/.  Accessed January 25, 2014