I first heard about Angana Chatterji in connection with the Narendra Modi U.S Visa denial episode. That was some six years ago at which time her name was one among the numerous folks who had ruthlessly worked behind the scenes to make sure that the US didn’t give Modi the visa.
About a month ago, I saw this news report in Rediff, which said that she and Richard Shapiro, her long-time live-in partner (husband?) were suspended from work based allegedly on the complaints of some students. The same Rediff report also says that a huge section of the student community at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, where she was working as Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, was up in arms against the CIIS administration demanding that they reinstate the two professor-duo. In an age where universities have morphed into tiny battlefields where coaching is imparted primarily in politicking, I regarded this episode with a cynical sigh until I caught these two bits in that news item:
There are also rumours doing the rounds that Shapiro and Chatterji could have been suspended for their work on Kashmir. However, there is no confirmation on the same. […] According to student leaders, there’s a gag order issued on the professors on speaking about the suspension. However, Martin denied any gag order.
Then I decided to investigate deeper. Here’s what I found.
Introducing a Motivated Marxist Academic
Angana Chatterji is variously known as an anthropologist, feminist historian, social activist, anti-communalist, fighter against “Hindu nationalism,” and more prominently, a strong voice against the so-called atrocities perpetrated by the Indian armed forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.
In reality, she’s just two things: a highly-dedicated Communist who’s been milking America for about two decades by entrenching herself in its academic system and who is a willing pawn of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The former credential firmly places her in the category of an in-house enemy of USA because she uses the country’s resources to work indirectly for Pakistan, a nation whose army and the selfsame ISI are covertly working to destroy America in the garb of being its friend and ally. It’s now public knowledge that elements of the ISI were instrumental in lending covert and overt support to Osama Bin Laden, the architect of 9/11. The latter credential is simply a corollary of the former—indeed the world over, Communists are the closest friends of Islamic terrorism because both these ideologies hate freedom of any sort—but in addition to damaging US interests, is aimed at wrecking the political stability of India.
Angana Chatterji’s copious writings are proof enough of how she has systematically gone about her tasks. Her activism, statements, and articles rest on fabricating facts and concocting figures in service of her ideology. The same more or less applies to her life partner and colleague, Richard Shapiro.
Helping Islamic Terrorist Causes under a Communist Banner
To fully appreciate the extent of her unswerving commitment to Communism—including a no-qualms based approach to attaining her “goals”—it’s essential to quickly look at the kinds of organizations, people, and causes she supports.
Leading Luminary of FOIL
Apart from her fulltime job as Professor (in fact, a prominent online petition has questioned not just her role in FOIL but her integrity as a scholar), Angana Chatterji is one of the leading lights of the radical Leftist outfit called Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL), which lends support to violent and banned organizations that regularly carry out guerilla wars against the Indian state. FOIL has been highly controversial ever since its inception. For a detailed account, see this chapter in NGOs Activists and Foreign Funds, a seminal volume that has found a place in the Indian Parliament’s library. .
The Star of FOSA
Far more dangerous than FOIL is Friends of South Asia (FOSA)—an offshoot/offspring/sibling of FOIL—with which Angana has been associated from the beginning. Very briefly, FOSA is a
combination of FOIL and the Pakistan-American Association, with very apparent sponsorship from the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence, per the Pakistani media . Led by Gera, Ra(h)man, Vinay Lal, Mainland Chinese CIIS graduate student(s) working for Chatterji , and several Pakistanis. FOSA with the Pakistan American Association (PAA) are the worthies seen on San Francisco streets holding signs saying :
Sometime in April-May 2005, FOSA, which had gotten sponsorship from the Pakistan American Alliance (PAA), took out a public demonstration jointly in San Francisco. One of the “highlights” of that demonstration includes a prominent placard that proclaimed “ALLAH WILL DESTROY THE TERRORIST STATE OF INDIA."
(Original Picture here: http://www.geocities.com/aid_india_info/glimpse-502.jpg)
…featuring Vijay Prashad, Angana Chatterji, Abdul Nayyar, and Snehal Shingavi…The political and ideological agenda of this meeting is blatantly clear not only from the lineup of speakers but also by the discussion’s focus…the panelist[s] discussed:
The people’s struggle against pro-imperialist Indian elites; the implications of the latest nuclear arms trade agreement between India and the US on the people of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the rest of South Asia, especially women; the role of South Asia in US imperialist ambitions; the other opportunities this presents to build Indian communism and fight the agenda of the global ruling class…
Thus, Indians are labeled as pro-imperialists serving their US masters and the Kashmiri, Maoist and Naxal terrorist activities are labeled as ‘the people’s struggles’. Similarly, according to the discussion, one is led to believe that the ‘imperialist oppression’ of India and US presents an excellent opportunity for Communism to ‘save the people’ from their horrors.
This leaves no room for doubt that FOSA and its members advocate separatism with respect to both the US and India: separatism aimed at establishing Communist rule in both these nations through violent means if necessary. The history of massacres perpetrated by the Naxals/Maoists in India makes for painful reading. This excellent website contains comprehensive and up-to-date resources about Maoist terror in India. However, the perverse worldview of Angana Chatterji discerns such naked terrorism as “people’s struggles.”
Showing Solidarity with FeTNA
Angana’s association with sympathizers, advocates, and supporters of violence and terror is as wide as it is far-reaching. Federation of Tamil Sangams in North America (FeTNA) is just another outfit in her long list of terror-friendly associations. FeTNA is a front of the now-decimated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), an outfit that finds a place in the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Angana’s association with FeTNA is primarily in connection with the California Textbook Controversy where she wrote a letter, under FOSA’s banner, to the California State Education Board expressing solidarity with FeTNA, which opposed the proposed textbook revision on grounds rooted in Tamil chauvinism—the same chauvinism that led to the decades-long LTTE-perpetrated bloody civil strife in Sri Lanka. What’s interesting is that one fine morning, FeTNA’s ex-director Nachimuthu Socrates found himself in the arms of the FBI. Some excerpts from the US Department of Justice:
…NACHIMUTHU SOCRATES, a LTTE supporter in North America, and other defendants attempted and conspired to bribe purported U.S. State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Beginning in 2004 and continuing over a period of several months, the defendants met with a confidential informant (CI-1), who was operating under law enforcement supervision, and two purported State Department officials, identified in the complaint as UC-1 and UC-2, and discussed the financial terms of the bribe, including a $1 million up-front payment.. During some of these meetings,… SOCRATES also discussed the sale of classified United States intelligence information to the LTTE. The complaint alleges that SOCRATES made interim bribery payments to the CI to give to UC-1.
And that wasn’t all. The US government investigation also revealed that Nachimuthu & co were also planning to procure surface-to-air missiles to use in their “liberation war” against the Sri Lankan state. Angana Chatterji clearly has some charming associates.
However, her role as a dangerous subversionist and an in-house enemy of any free and democratic country she inhabits becomes clearer when we examine her record on Kashmir. The Kashmir issue constitutes a major chunk of the total corpus of her speeches, writings, and activism. That’s the subject of the next and concluding part.