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NewsClick Chinese funding scandal: Who is Vijay Prashad, the linchpin of Neville Roy Singham’s network and his relationship with CPI(M) top brass

The New York Time investigation revealing Neville Roy Singham's close links with Chinese media machinery has shone a light on the role of several individuals, with Vijay Prashad, an executive director at Tricontinental, being prominent mainstay in Singham's network to push Beijing's propaganda.

The Newsclick Chinese funding controversy has exposed how media tools are being used by China to manipulate public opinion about the communist regime. OpIndia highlighted this for the first time in 2021. One of the key links that have emerged in the aftermath of the New York Times article is Tricontinental, a Massachusetts-based think tank, with leftist Vijay Prashad as its executive director.

According to the New York Times exposé, Tricontinental was one of the nonprofit companies that received funding from Neville Roy Singham and promoted Chinese propaganda. Neville Roy Singham is on the international advisory board of the said think-tank accused of financing Chinese propaganda using American non-profit organizations.

P Sainath’s People’s Archive of Rural India or PARI had made several references to ThoughtWorks founder Neville Roy Singham, the US millionaire at the centre of the Newsclick Chinese funding row. Interestingly, P Sainath features as one of the senior fellows at the Tricontinental, which produced videos and articles on socialist issues showing China in a positive light.

The New York Times investigation also revealed that Tricontinental and Maku, a Chinese media company, agreed to work with a Shanghai University to “tell China’s story”, a term commonly used for masking propaganda.

Vijay Prashad, a key name linked to both P Sainath and Neville Roy Singham in the scandal, is a Marxist “historian”. P Sainath has also passingly mentioned Vijay Prashad among others for “huge encouragement” and “support” for his portal, PARI.

Prasad has also been a contributor at “People’s Dispatch”, a media portal that touts itself to be an “international media project with the mission of bringing to the world voices from people’s movements and organisations across the globe.” In one of the articles from January 2020, Prashad sympathised with the JNU protesters and inveighed against the Modi government.

Who is Vijay Prashad?

Vijay Prashad is the executive director of Tricontinental, a leftist think-tank linked to the Newsclick Chinese funding scandal. He is also the editor of Left Word Books and Chief Correspondent at Globetrotter. Basically, Prashad is a more globalised version of the Indian left and propagates its traditional anti-India, anti-Hindu narrative on the global platform.

He is the nephew of Brinda Karat, a CPI(M) leader and wife of Prakash Karat, also a senior CPI(M) leader, whose email exchanges with Neville Roy Singham have revealed their close ties in the scandal.

That Tricontinental was built on the funds received from Chinese stooge Neville Roy Singham was announced unapologetically by Vijay Prashad in a series of tweets in December 2021.

Vijay Prashad’s ties with Neville Roy Singham go back decades. In Prashad’s own words, Singham’s father – Archibald Wickeramaraja Singham, a Marxist – had a huge influence on his life.

After three tweets on Archie Singham, Prashad writes about how Neville Roy Singham funded Tricontinental. He endorsed him as “a Marxist with a massive software company!”

Interestingly, NewsClick first made headlines when it came under the radar of Enforcement Directorate in 2021. The portal was reportedly accused of fraudulently receiving foreign funds amounting to around Rs. 38 crore. Safe to assume that it was this probe which prompted a tweet from Prashad a few months later same year.

“There’s a morbid fascination with the source of funds for @tri_continental. This is what I can say. We have a team of about 70 people spread out over fifteen countries. That requires resources. Nothing like we have done can be built without funds,” Prashad tweeted.

He further added, “Fortuitously, Roy built a remarkable software company, which is when I first met him – a Marxist with a massive software company! He sold that company a few years ago and decided to give away all the money toward political education for a new generation of radicals.”

“Those funds – now largely in non-profits – were the original source for @tri_continental’s endowment, & other projects, which we hope will last for at least a generation. We are building on Archie’s legacy, that unique intellectual who accompanied movements of social liberation,” Prashad concluded in his Twitter thread.

Ever since the NYT published its report on 5th August, Vijay Prashad through his leftist portals has launched a campaign accusing the publication of “McCarthyism” which denotes a time in American history when US Senator John McCarthy initiated investigations and hearings against communists in the 1950s. The term “McCarthyism” and “Red Scare” is used by communists to indicate paranoia among Americans about the threat from Communists.

Part of a long statement published against the NYT report by Tricontinental and its affiliates read, “Influential media outlets like The New York Times have joined right-wing extremists in using intimidation tactics to silence these advocates for change, affecting not only the left but everyone who supports free speech and democratic rights.” Director of The Hindu Publishing Group N Ram too is a signatory to the statement.

In 2021, Vijay Prashad and communist Naom Chomsky’s talk at the Tata Literature Festival was cancelled by the organisers after they learnt that the duo had planned to speak against TATA Group, the main sponsor of the event. But Prashad and Chomsky used this too as an opportunity to cast aspersions against the Indian government. They asked in a statement in People’s Dispatch if the cancellation of their talk “was a question of censorship?”

Vijay Prashad is an active contributor at People’s Dispatch, another one of the coterie’s leftist propaganda portals. In the statement, he also admitted that the duo planned to use the platform of Tata Literature Festival to attack the Tata Group. “We were going to talk about the broad issues that threaten the planet, but then also talk about the specific role of countries such as India and corporations such as the Tatas. Regarding the Tatas, we wanted to put on record a few facts that should lead sensitive people to understand what the Tata company has underneath its fingernails.”

Moreover, Prashad had every intention, he announced, to take on the BJP-led Central government by attacking CAA, peddling “erosion of democracy” narrative, and attacking the Quad. “We wanted to talk about how governments such as those led by the Bharatiya Janata Party and corporations such as the Tatas are hastening humanity towards a deeper and deeper crisis,” Prashad whined in the statement which was also published on NewsClick.

In 2019, Prashad published a sensationalised and conspiratoral article in “The Anarchist” titled, “India Government Going to War Against Its Own People.” Prashad in his article spread falsehoods about CAA to make an exploitative case for India to bear the burden of Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries. While Islamists in India worked in full-swing to hold the country to ransom, Prashad attempted to do the same job globally by infusing ideological indotrination using terms like Islamophobia, fascism, and so on.

Prashad has attempted to indoctrinate global audiences against India and has openly vouched for the revival of Maoism (aka Naxalism) in India. He also threw in the usual communist script against demonetisation, abrogation of Article 370, and NRC.

As per his own account, Vijay Prashad visited anti-CAA protest sites in Delhi, and Kolkata and lauded the violence that ensued following the same. Prashad blatantly spewed hate against Hindus using the “majoritarian” argument.

Vijay Prashad was back in the headlines in India in 2021 when a video of his talk at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) went viral on social media and was picked up by the mainstream Indian media. He was hailed for his lecture to the West on climate change. But what went unreported was his adulation for China. At the outset, several such talks by Vijay Prashad seem like, and are also projected as such, an Indian showing the mirror to the West.

But really, Vijay Prashad has been propagating Left-run countries like China and Cuba as role models for developing nations like India to follow. Going by his statement in an interview titled, “Why Does India Remain Entrapped by the UK?”, Prashad would rather have India be entrapped by the Communist China and cash-strapped Cuba model.

Here is another video shared by China Global Television Network (CGTN), a Chinese state-run media, lauding Vijay Prashad for speaking up for communist China against the capitalist US.

Three days after the NYT report, Prashad on 8th August received an award by CPI(M), revealing the close ties the Indian left shares with individuals and organisations funded by Chinese agents.

Prashad also takes a liking to none other than Arundhati Roy, a torchbearer of everything that is anti-Hindu, again shedding light on the leftist nexus operating against India for China.

Prashad continues to be an active contributer to several leftist-communist propaganda portals. Take for example this piece where Prashad has taken the liberty to bash Hindus to the extent that he terms the inclusion of Saraswati Vandana in school curriculum as “intolerant.” While on foreign land, Prashad conveniently projects himself as the hero by criticising Western occupation of developing nations, and when speaking about India, he likens us to China to make the latter look like a role model and preaches that anything that is Hindu in nature, meaning anything native to India, is an attack on democracy.

With his sheer manipulative strategies resulting from the alms given by China, Vijay Prashad has written for Indian news portals like Scroll, and The Hindu. Unsurprisingly though, he has also been published by the Islamist news portal Al Jazeera, and Hindu hating publications like The Guardian. Prashad’s outright support to Bhima Koregaon violence accused Anil Temtumbde, and Teesta Setalvad, accused of fabricating evidence pertaining to the 2002 Godhra Riots case points at the obvious links between the propagandists in India and abroad fanning anti-India hate.

It can be said conclusively that Vijay Prashad along with the left is embroiled deep in the conspiracy to malign India and Hindus and sing praises for China on the global stage. There is a greater scope yet to expose the skeleton in his closet.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

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