During the course of his life, if there was one thing George Soros has hated the most, it is Nationalism. And at Davos, in his speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Soros committed $1 billion towards fighting nationalism and nationalists. George Soros claimed that the “biggest and most frightening setback” was in India and accused Narendra Modi of “creating a Hindu nationalist state.”
The progressive Jewish-American philanthropist has a reputation for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries through his network of NGOs. Viktor Orban’s Hungary and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have taken concrete steps directed towards curbing his influence in their internal matters. It would be safe to assume that a significant share of that investment would find its way in India. Thus, on the backdrop of his announcement, it might be a good time to revisit his legacy of work in our country.
The Civil Society
At OpIndia, we have extensively documented the work of NGOs that have received donations from Soros’s Open Society Foundation (OSF). These organizations are extensively involved in shaping the mainstream narrative and they often engage in ‘judicial activism’ that seeks to use the Courts in order to undermine Indian national interests. Prominent among them are the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and the French NGO Sherpa
Some of the efforts HRLN has been involved in include the campaign against ISKCON’s Akshaya Patra, a campaign against Indian sedition laws, and it has been providing free legal aid to Rohingya Muslims in India. It has also been engaging in activism for the implementation of the RTE Act that works against Hindu-run institutions. Furthermore, it is also linked to a plethora of organizations across the country that seeks to undermine India’s territorial integrity.
Members of the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), an organization HRLN is linked to, were also involved in the protest against then CJI Ranjan Gogoi that sought to undermine the legitimacy of the Indian Judiciary.
The French NGO Sherpa that filed a complaint against the Rafale Deal in France is also partners with George Soros’s Open Society. The complaint was also used by malcontents in India to pursue their agenda against Narendra Modi during the run-up to the General Elections last year.
In some cases, the connection is obvious but in others, they aren’t as much. The connections are often covered under layers that one has to peel off. For instance, there is the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) that is partners with Namati Inc. and receives huge funds from it. Namati Inc. receives funds from OSF and has George Soros in its Advisory Council. There is likely a horde of such NGOs in India. Namati itself works for ‘environmental justice‘ in India.
A Cultivated Class of Intellectuals
George Soros, through his network of NGOs, has connections with a cultivated class of intellectuals who work resolutely towards opposing the Modi government. There are some prominent names with extensive links to George Soros but it is extremely unlikely that these connections will surprise anyone. Some of the most prominent among them are Harsh Mander, Indira Jaising and Amartya Sen.
Harsh Mander is the Chairman of the OSF’s Human Rights Initiative Advisory Board. His antics against the government do not need much elaboration. During the recent spate of violence after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Harsh Mander with his organization ‘Karwaan-e-Mohabbat’ published a report on the violence at the Aligarh Muslim University that absolved the students of all sins and peddled numerous lies against the Uttar Pradesh Police. Later, of course, the entire report turned out to be a massive fraud.
Harsh Mander had also promised to register himself as a Muslim if the CAB was passed but OpIndia cannot confirm if he has gone through with his promise after the CAB became CAA. He has also spread great lies about the NRC in the past and the foreign tribunals in Assam. It is pertinent to mention here that Harsh Mander was a member of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council that drafted the Communal Violence Bill. His NGO Centre for Equity Studies has also received funds from Christian Evangelical Organizations and he has openly batted for religious conversions in the past.
Another such person is Amartya Sen. Together with George Soros himself, Sen sits on the Advisory Council of the NGO Namati mentioned earlier in the report. Amartya Sen, of course, has made a series of bizarre arguments in the past in his efforts to oppose the Narendra Modi government. Once, he claimed that Jai Shri Ram is not Bengali culture and on another, he said that Hindus are in a minority in Indian society. Amartya Sen has also lied about the NDA government’s move to provide 10% reservations to economically weaker sections of the society and has been complaining about ‘rising intolerance’ in the country.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta is another individual who sits on the Board of Directors of Namati. Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover are on the dock as well for the donations from George Soros’s network of NGOs their NGO Lawyers’ Collective. The FCRA licence of the NGO was cancelled by the NDA government for using foreign contributions to achieve political objectives. The CBI registered an FIR in the matter in 2018 and last year, the residence of the said individuals was raided by the investigative agency. The Supreme Court had issued notices to the duo as well for the FCRA violations.
Soros influence on the Media
George Soros has a tremendous influence on American media. The Media Research Center (MRC), an American media watchdog founded in 1987 to check the liberal bias in the media, discovered that over 30 major news organizations had links to George Soros. These organizations include the Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC. He has also financially supported the National Public Radio (NPR). In addition to all of this, George Soros has links to the Huffington Post too.
It is also reported that since 2003, George Soros has spent “more than $48 million funding media properties, including the infrastructure of news – journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations.” Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism has also received extensive funds from the OSF. This is from 2011, the numbers will be exponentially higher now. George Soros has also funded numerous other journalism associations like The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Given all of this, the Western Media’s coverage of India shouldn’t really be surprising. The American media has traditionally held a bigoted view against India and when it combines with the influence and financial power of one of the richest men in the world, the result is obvious. From advocacy for Radical Islam in Kashmir to fearmongering about the NRC and CAA, the Western Media’s coverage of India has been remarkably consistent.
Most conspicuously, towards the end of last year, there was a great effort by the Huffington Post to delegitimize the results of the 2019 Indian Lok Sabha Elections. In a series of reports, HuffPo published a series of distortions and lies to target Electoral Bonds. One of the fundamental claims by HuffPo was based on a claim made by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO that receives extensive funds from foreign institutions and organizations. One of them is HIVOS, an organization intricately linked to George Soros’ Open Society.
Concerns for India
For the reasons listed above, it is but natural for India to be concerned about George Soros’s declaration to fight nationalism. However, it is something he has been doing for a great many years, without much success thus far. Narendra Modi rose to the heights of power after defeating such efforts. However, there remains the scope for such individuals to unleash great chaos in the country.
In this report, we have merely touched upon the surface of the extent of George Soros’s influence. The number of intellectuals that have been cultivated to undermine Indian national interests is likely to be much higher than the ones mentioned here. As for the number of NGOs under the influence of Open Society Foundations, the number is definitely much higher.
It also ought to be remembered that George Soros wields great influence over the Democrat Party and the US political establishment. The Clinton family has a great relationship with George Soros, as do most people from the Democrat party. But it is also pertinent to mention that the brand of politics and vision of the world that he advocates have been rejected by even the American electorate. While George Soros has committed himself to fight nationalism across the world, he is losing in his own backyard, the United States of America.