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SCORING AGAINST PAGANISM: Untangling the Manderweb     - Krishen Kak

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive” – Walter Scott (Marmion, 6.532-533)

“But my how we improve the score, as we practise more and more”– John Henderson (

1. On representative characterisation
On March 20, 2002, The Times of India published on its centrepage a piece titled ‘Hindustan Hamara’ that at once propelled its author Harsh Mander into the very front rank of our country’s conscience-keepers. Mr Mander’s claims about the communal violence that earlier that year had rocked Gujarat (after a Muslim mob incinerated 58 Hindu children, women and men in a train leaving Godhra station) acquired unimpeachable authority because he made them as a senior member of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and ‘Hindustan Hamara’ was rapidly broadcast over the USA, the UK and the Darul Islam as an eye-witness account of the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat.

Mr Mander then himself personally followed his account to the West (expenses paid mainly by Islamic and Christian organisations) and waxed in choking eloquence—he imitates the manner of the late MK Gandhi - his ‘anguish’ for the Muslims (and Muslims only) who’d died. Subsequently, and more than once, he declared he’d resigned from the IAS on moral grounds, because of his ‘anguish’ at the communal violence, and to separate himself from an administration that he declared had sponsored the violence against Muslims. The national English-language Nehruvian-secular media made a hero of him, he was lionised especially on Muslim websites, Muslim organisations hosted and sponsored him all over the USA, and he publicly declared - over the BBC—his Muslimselective bias.

Figures in the thousands of Muslims killed were bandied about (even from a United Nations office in Delhi), together with the unrestrained use of words such as ‘pogrom’, ‘genocide’ and ‘communal fascism’, and the mainstream English-language media in India promoted Mr Mander as a man of conscience, principles, and secularism.

This polemical essay1 establishes that Mr Mander was and is none of the three. Mr Mander is a cynical, coldly calculating, amoral, self-aggrandizing careerist, consciously using and allowing himself to be used by anti-India and anti-Hindu forces. His country – the ‘Hindustan Hamara’ that he publicly declared no longer for him is pride of place – is merely an expedience to badmouth as he strives to seek further recognition from those parts of the world for which his heart beats and his pocket stretches – the USA, the UK, and the Darul Islam.


For one, his anguished conscience at the post-Godhra Gujarat violence and his moral outrage that led him to proclaim his resignation from the IAS is a deliberate self-serving lie. For another, the politico-communal agenda of the British NGO he furthered in India was revealed. Weeks, months and years after the reality of Mr Mander was made public, not one fact against him has been publicly repudiated by anyone. Instead, significant connections have been uncovered amongst Mander, the British NGO, the British government, Indian governments, Indian NGOs, and the Indian Administrative Service, so much so that Action Aid found it necessary to hire one of the world’s largest brandbuilding firms, the British PR giant Ogilvy and Mather, to whitewash itself with a huge advertising campaign.

1 This polemic is based on a number of my articles, together with the citations in them, published on the web from 2002 onwards. Its main sources are the “ ‘Hindustan Hamara’: Big People and Double Standards” four-part series together with “ActionAid discovers Kashmir in Delhi!” on and “Proselytisation in India: A pagan’s perspective” and Vicharamala on See also the Notes at the end here.

Mr Mander is what in sociology is called a ‘representative character’, ‘a kind of symbol… a point of reference and focus, that gives living expression to a way of life’. The way of life that Mr Mander represents, of which he is a living expression, is Nehruvian secularism and, of course, there is a powerful supporting cast of characters and web of interests, all of which I call a Manderweb. Let us take a closer look now at this web at the centre of which is its representative character.