Thursday, March 10, 2005

more on AID/ASHA: do you know whom you are funding?

March 10th

thanks to a forward from a friend.

quite interesting the gymnastics ASHA goes through to explain why Sandeep Pandey may have 'other interests' that are not quite the same as ASHA's. ok, then one presumes there are bamboo walls that prevent the leakage of ASHA (for education, as the full name goes) funds to Pandey's um... other, ie. political activities. one would think there is no cross-pollination.

then why are ASHA and AID funding, quite generously as it turns out, Sandeep Pandey's boondoggle trip to pakistan?

ergo, this means there is no difference between ASHA and Sandeep Pandey's other activities.

your dollars donated to ASHA and AID go to fund not (only) development activities, but also crassly political ones.

do you know where your donations are going? one possibility: to the cpi-ml, aka naxalites, who brag about 'sandip pandey, magassassy (sic) winner' attending their conclave. see http://www.cpiml.org/liberation/year_2003/january/feature.htm

you should ask them.

15 comments:

naveen@ece.northwestern.edu said...

As a volunteer with ASHA for sometime now, it was a little apalling to read ur post.
But I decided not to reply right away; lots of times, first reactions turn out to be the most immature.
Anyway I must point out ASHA, especially the local chapters in the US, has grown far beyond Sandeep Pandey. We raise funds, pick NGOs with proposals and allot by a simple vote among us. Everytime one of our members go to India on vacation, we monitor progress first hand. Some of our projects have nothing to do with money at all - we get student volunteers to develop curriculum, educational CDs etc.
My peers who help out are mostly high-up professionals, spending more than a couple of hours on their day off. Not to mention these meetings dont come with so much as a cookie, in an effort to keep the over heads low!
I understand ur beef with Sandeep Pandey and I am, honestly, not interested in debating it. But why take up ur rants with the organization, which largely consists of normal, respectable people, who as such are doing a pretty thankless job ?

yoddhä said...

Naveen,
Haven't you read the blog? ASHA India is raising money for Sandeep's walk to Pakistan. This is a pathetic waste of resources which ASHA's donors must be informed about.

naveen@ece.northwestern.edu said...

Again Rajeev.. AID is funding Pandey's walk; they have made some questionable calls even in the past. I read the blog completely and spent half more hour of precious research time on google! I cant seem to find a SINGLE source that says a particular ASHA chapter is funding him in part.

ASHA's central office time and again isolates itself from Pandey's actions.
Moreover, our operations are decentralized. Why should ASHA chapters all over the world be maligned or be accountable to it's (ex) founder having communist predelictions?

If there is a problem, ASHA is politically correct to the point of being sick. Last year, my peers opposed to me setting up a publicity cell at a Hindu conference in my school!

BTW, ASHA was recently ranked the most efficient among small charities
http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/7630.htm

From now on.. you could lash out at the headline-seeking, clout-wielding Pandey. I would read it, nodding my head. But generalizing it further to an entire organization, which intends well, does not do justice to ur normally well-informed self.

Vedapriyan said...

Naveen,

If ASHA is "non-political" or "politically correct" as u claim, then why is it that they are opposing the visit of Narendra Modi?

I do not want to debate about Modi now. But my question is about ASHA ONLY - why is ASHA getting involved in this? Why should ASHA, which should be concerned about "education only" is worrying about Modi's proposed US visit?

regs,
A

nizhal yoddha said...

here, from asha's web page, is its set of objectives:

1. To provide education to underprivileged children in India.
2. To encourage the formation of various local groups across the world to reach out to larger sections of the population.
3. To support and cooperate with persons and groups already engaged in similar activities.
4. To raise the required human and other resources to achieve the group objectives.
5. To provide opportunities to individuals living outside India who wish to participate in Asha activities in India.
6. To address, whenever possible, other issues affecting human life such as health care, environment, socio-economic aspects and women's issues.

it talks about education.

where does it talk about funding someone's quixotic walk to pakistan?

so it's a case of false advertising.

also, there is a simple way ASHA can disassociate itself from sandeep pandey. ask him to resign, or expel him. then you wont have to go through complex and unsatisfying explanations about why it is that you are funding sandeep pandey, but not really, and that it is the noble work that your 'high level professional' volunteers do on the ground that counts and not sandeep pandey's antics. kick the blighter out if he is embarrassing you.

also, 'charity navigator' rates all sorts of dubious entities, such as all the missionary vulture groups, very high. who is 'charity navigator' anyway? a pat from them is not meaningful.

dont waste your 'precious' time defending asha, naveen. go out there are raise some more money for sandeep pandey and the naxalites. ak-47s cost a lot, we all know.

nizhal yoddha said...

naveen sent this to me. i dont know why the comments were turned off, i didnt do it: must have been a glitch.

Rajeev,

The comments link on ur blogspot didnt seem to work. So I am forced to
clutter ur mail box. But I can assure u, this would be the last of my
retorts. In fact, I am not going to substantiate further - I
realize u dont read what I write. The purpose of this email is to give a
gist of my last 2 comments:

* Where exactly in the initial blog is there evidence to say an ASHA
chapter is funding Pandey's walk. I read it more than a couple of
times. AID and ASHA are not the same, in case u didnt know
In fact, that blog contained ASHA in it's list of recommendations.

* ASHA website disclaims Pandey's actions. There is a link in that blog.
U can have a lame argument saying he founded ASHA. Yes, he did. But the
organization does not see eye-to-eye with him any longer. So why should we
be culpable? As I pointed before, ASHA has grown bigger than its founders.

Also, ur recent comment that I should "go out and raise money for
naxalites", was borderline distasteful and repugnant. Anyway, I am not
interested in ur cheap shot at me. I would like you to see reason. U can
choose to remain parochial or open up to alternate possibilities.

Thanks,
Naveen

Anonymous said...

Hey Naveen,

You are knnown by the company you keep. ASHA has been associated with the CSFH canpaign. If you want to prove that ASHA has indeed improved and is not the crappy charity organization it was under Pandey, why dont you come out and dissociate yourself from the CSFH campaign?

Why not move away from other communist groups like AID?

Why not give your organization an entirely new name so people will forget their unpleasant experiences of donating to ASHA?

Anonymous said...

Well said, I mean the last anonymous comment. Naveen-ji, if AHSA is really working only on education, then you people must just stick to that. Education is not only about science, math, civics or economics. When you are educating the children of India, who are supposed to become responsible, law-abiding Indian citizens, you must also educate them about NATIONALISM and PATRIOTISM. They should be able to lash back if someone talks ill of their country, of their culture, etc. Have you ever seen the India map on the ASHA website, Naveen-ji? You must have and you are obviously not bothered about its shape - Kashmir is clearly missing in the map. Educating someone means seeing to it that that someone will also become knowledgeable. National Integrity, patriotism, and a deep love for one's motherland are the first things to teach young, supple minds. After this, you may teach them your additions, subtractions, differential equations etc. So, Naveen-ji, when Rajeev complains about the functioning of Asha, this is exactly what he may be having in mind. If you want to do something for your country's children, first teach them to respect the Nation. And if you are so perturbed about what the blogger says, then cut off from the highly political ASHA and start your own organization. If you cannot take healthy criticisms, try and change yourself.

Naveen said...

Healthy criticisms are not a bother to me, but wrongful ones are. Not to mention that some of the recent comments are ludicrous to the point of not deserving a reply. But let me try and clear the air for one last time....
Asha website carries this India map
http://ashanet.org/index.php?page=chapters&c=India
I don't know what geography u were taught, but that's really what we got after partition.
I was also irked when u say why not move away from CFSH, AID etc. When was ASHA with these in first place? What unpleasant experiences did people have, while donating to ASHA? I have been volunteering for 3 years now and I would like to know.
My point, time and again, is ASHA, the organization is apolitical, both in spirit and functioning. It's a bit too much to expect it's constituents not to hold political views. ASHA has seen to that personal and organizational views dont conflict. Some of the reprimands might be viewed as soft. But that should be no reason impugn it, especially by the educated elite such as urself, who can separate the ultimate cause and punctilious procedures.

Anonymous said...

Naveen
Dont waste your time trying to reason with people who've lost theirs. While putting up a spirited fight, you also must realise that Rajeev and other right wing fanatics have only recently started making a noise about AID/ CSFH/ etc. It hurts them to see that there is a world out there that can be Hindu, but not subscribe to their Hindutva fanaticism. A lot of the supporters and volunteers of AID, Asha, etc are quite religious (so much so that there was a session on spirituality in the last AID conference). It hurts the likes of Rajeev to see their fanaticism questioned and being replaced by the real face of the religion and society. Trying to survive on hate in the last embers, they are desperate to bring down the good work of others. The likes of Rajeev are working just the same way Hitler had worked to create a cruel society in Germany. After all, one of their leaders, Narendra Modi, is a self-proclaimed fan of Hitler. Dont waste your energies trying to reason with them, but on the contrary, be very wary of their ability to incite hatred.

Anonymous said...

Yes, anonymous, a lot of AID and ASHA volunteers are religious. They are Muslim fundamentalists and Marxists fundamentalists. This is why they are trying so hard to destroy India.

Why go so far as Modi admiring Hitler? Who is Modi anyway? How many people are donating their money to Modi?

Why, your own Sandeep Pandey, ASHA chief and the recipient of AID money, is a self-proclaimed fan of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and Musharraf. How many people did these criminals murder? 100 million? Please keep giving your money to Sandeep and AID and DYFI and SFI so that Pakistan can take over India. Fortunately, the Islamists will do to the Sandeep Pandeys and other Communists what they did to Najibullah in Afghanistan: hang them from the nearest lamppost.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Naveen: I was referring to the map in the main page - http://ashanet.org/

Dont argue so much. Go take some cold juice, it will help you let your steam off. You seem to be going round and round and now you completely lost the argument, ha, ha. There really is no point in trying to lead you to the path of light, Mr.Smartey. Like Sri Sri Ravishankar says- ''Everyone has the right to be ignorant''

Naveen said...

The map in www.ashanet.org shows tsunami-hit regions. Let me assure u - Kashmir was NOT affected by tsunami and hence not in that map!

To the one person who sees my viewpoint in this blog, thank you! I agree. There is really little point in me trying to debate further. Most comments here are merely trying to take a cheap shot, rather than substantiate with evidence. If only they could direct their efforts to making a difference.

Venu N Rao said...

We have got to hand it to ASHA for playing both sides here.

Pandey pleads for more donation for his political activities and probably by now raised couple thousands. But ASHA supporter here explains that he was never authorized or approved by any ASHA chapter. One has to wonder as to why till date none, not one of those “normal, respectable people of ASHA” have come out and **officially** rejected the calls by Sandeep Pandey? Surely any decent organizations will put out public announcement about distancing itself from an ex-employee or ex-office. Especially when he's competing (if at all) in the same market space.

Or maybe if they just did that, there won’t be any international award to bring in a more dollars?

Also ASHA supporters here are insulting an average reader’s intelligence by insinuating the ASHA and AID are not on same page on this Pandey-Pakistan boondoggle. Of all the joint ASHA and AID projects, they just don't see eye to eye on this specific one! Give us a break.

For past five years, AID and ASHA have been stood by FOIL and benefited from the mud-slinging campaign against another charity; though here we have one ASHA supporter feigning ignorance of this fact.

Lastly, it's nice to know of session on spirituality in the last AID conference, but would that be before or after the screening of Patwardhan's movie on Godhara atrocities?

Speaking on Gujarat, hope Naveen will share with us as to how much Rupees was spent on reviewing text books there http://www.ashanet.org/projects/project-view.php?p=483 which by the way have been for over a decade now. Is ASHA now competing with NCERT and ICHR in this field?

Frankly to an average Joe it really doesn’t matter if you ASHA and AID are doing kirtans or namaaz or singing choirs or gurbanis.

The political shenanigans being pulled by ASHA and AID would deter any objective observer. They are not getting a dime from me, though I’ll urge others to do so if they are naïve enough. ASHA and AID can take my comments or leave it, but till the time they put their house in order they aren’t getting any more of my hard-earned money.

S Mohan said...

[i]
Lastly, it's nice to know of session on spirituality in the last AID conference, but would that be before or after the screening of Patwardhan's movie on Godhara atrocities?
[/i]

Ha, ha, you got fooled!
Why was there a session on spirituality in the last AID session? Remember the survey sent to AID volunteers?
It was to identify the "potential troublemakers", people interested in spirituality would in all likelihood tend to be pro Hindu.