Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

Location: the valley, California, United States

Bay Area, Strategy Manager, Haas- U. C. Berkeley, Marathons

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Two different standards: Dr. Sandeep Pandey's experience

In addition to some of the links in this open letter, and this superb article by an Asha volunteer, many people have opposed certain non-Asha related views of Magsaysay award winner Dr. Sandeep Pandey, whose pronouncements are increasingly embarrassing. It speaks of the greatness of strong foundation of democratic principles prevalent within the United States of America that he has been able to make his controversial viewpoints freely here. As he himself writes:
A senior officer started the interrogation all over again. Just as we were finishing and I was told that I would be let out soon, the officer came across a press clipping from Manila wherein during the trip to receive Magsaysay award I had stated in a press conference that ‘US was the biggest terrorist state’. The officer asked me why I had made that statement. I told him that when I can protest against the nuclear weapons of my country and US possessing the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons was a bigger culprit and when without providing evidence as to who was behind the Sept. 11 incidents it went and attacked Afghanistan for no reason, why could I not question the US military policy? To my pleasant surprise he said he could appreciate my position and thanked me for my cooperation in the interrogation. I was let out of the airport where Netika and friends were waiting and were now beginning to get anxious.
Contrast that with the fact that Pakistan has not allowed him into POK for delivering earthquake aid. This excerpt from a letter by Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Visibility makes relief choppers terrific propaganda, for good or for worse. This is undoubtedly why the Pakistani government refused an Indian offer to send in helicopters for relief work in and around Muzzafarabad, the flattened capital of Pakistani administered Kashmir. In spite of a much celebrated peace process, Pakistan has also not issued visas to Indian peace groups and activists that seek participation in the relief effort. Sandeep Pandey and other Indian activists are very frustrated.
As a volunteer for Asha, who opposes Dr. Pandey's personal views and actions, I find it amusing that a country that he has criticised with ad-hominems has acted far more charitably than a country to which he has extended an arm of friendship.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are the different standards that Sandeep Pandey adheres to? As far as I know we have not heard from him on Pakistan denying him the visa. For all you know he may be even more pissed off at Pakistan for doing this than he is at the US. Besides, even if that were not the case, it is perfectly understandable that one might be a greater critic of the US commensurate with its power in the world than of Pakistan. I don't see any double standards here.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Anon - please identify yourself. I will definitely reply if you do.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Sunil said...

Quizman....i think you're not the only volunteer of Asha who opposes Sandeep's personal views. Many of us also do.

This does not take away anything from the tremendous amout of fantastic work Sandeep has done.

But, it remains important that not all of Sandeeps views are the views of Asha (in fact, most of them remain his personal views and not Asha's). People often tend to confuse Sandeep's views as Asha's views, but there is a significant difference, that we should also sometimes point out clearly.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...


Regarding my post:
My point in thepost was related to the fact that Asha exists largely due to fund raisers in the US, including a vast majority that works in multinationals and gets matching donations from them. Yet, he has criticised the US, and multinationals (and globalization) persistently. In spite of those, the US has been magnaminous in welcoming him. His aims at establishing "peace" with Pakistan is laudable - who does not desire peace? But his statements related to Pakistan are something I cannot digest.

Regarding Asha -

From the perspective of Asha's continued long-term goals, it may be worthwhile to stop and consider the impact of Dr. Pandey's statements. For example, it may be difficult when Asha scales, for fund raisers and donors to neglect his public denunciations of the US, while raising/contributing funds. It is bound to have a considerable impact on those activities.

Asha volunteers should never be put in a position of having to defend/explain/justify a person's personal viewpoints while doing their activities, nor should the organization suffer from them. While Dr. Pandey may have coupled his Asha related activities with his non-Asha work during his US visit for logistical purposes, it can create confusion. From the next time onwards, Asha office-bearers should forcefully request him to limit his speeches to Asha during a US visit that is Asha related. He should also be free to make a non-Asha related visit where he can expouse views on other matters, but in such a visit, he should not talk about Asha/education related issues.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Abhi said...

Recenlty, there has been lot of criticism of ASHA and Sandeep Pandey because both of them seem to adhere to the ideology of Indian Communist and Communist Party. Even though you claim to have differences with the Sandeep Pandey's opinion, and say that his views don't reflect the ASHA's view, the basics remain the same. ASHA and people like Sandeep Pandey share the ideology of Indian Communist Party, who have raised terror throughout India through Naxalite groups. In addition, reading of any major Indian newspaper would show the intellectual bankruptcy of Communists in India these days. Also, it hardly seems true that Sandeep Pandey's opinion is not reflected in ASHA, because ASHA continue to support Sandeep Pandey in many of his "adventure for peace" despite so called “difference” of opinion.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...



10:43 PM  
Blogger Sunil said...

Quizman......i think you just put across my point better than i did in my comment. We should have no reason to defend allegations like abhi's above.......or explain that because Sandeep started Asha, all his views are the views of Asha (usually, even chapters have different views on issues).

8:10 AM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Quizman, you're welcome to your views on Sandeep Pandey. I have two points, though.

1) Like your first anonymous commenter, I don't see the double standard.

2) But more important, and following from there, I find you did not reply to your first commenter because he was anonymous. Fair enough. Yet you point your readers to an "open letter" that is anonymous as well. Why?

Finally, I know very little about ASHA. I do know something about AID, having seen their work after the tsunami first-hand, and not just at that time, but months later as well. The empty attacks on them are just that: empty. It is sad to see someone as thoughtful as you lending them legitimacy.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...


1. The double standard was referring to the treatment by the countries. I've never stated that it was Pandey's double standards.

2. The Open letter is from a website that has listed the four names of the individual contributers. In any case, some of the links that are pointed to, in that letter have been the points of discussion within the Asha volunteer community for a while. So the links are quite legit. [Not trite associations like the Al Jazeera comment, but others like the Millat interview, the CPI (ML) website, the rediff article and so on.]

3. I don't know specifics about AID. I am merely interested in ASHA since I volunteer for them.

A man of the stature of Dr. Pandey should not indulge in such ridiculous sloganeering (bully state, terrorist state etc). Since the organization that he founded is almost entirely based on US funds (and funds from multinationals), it puts us volunteers in a very sticky situation of having to disassociate Asha with Dr. Pandey's personal views. Also, he may oppose specific US govt policies, and if so, he should state those coherently, instead of indulging in the equivalent of ad-hominems.

Asha is a decentralized organization. Each chapter is its own autonomous entity and often chapters within a few miles of each other have differing viewpoints. Dr. Pandey has no control over its fund raising or disbursement. There is no "unified view". That was what made me volunteer for it in the first place. I'm a free-market liberal who believes in limited government, an aggressive foreign policy, and liberal social policies. But there are many people like Abhi who are willing to defame Asha and its thousands of volunteers using Dr. Pandey's personal views as a catalyst.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anup said...

1. The double standard was referring to the treatment by the countries. I've never stated that it was Pandey's double standards.
Quizman, perhaps you may want to clarify this to Desipundit.


11:55 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...


Thanks. I've written to Patrix.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Quizman, like I said, I have no objection to you having your views on Sandeep Pandey.

The letter you have linked to is authored by someone who explicitly calls himself "Anonymous Former AID Donor", and further says "Name withheld because of security concerns". It does seem to be authored by "Administrator admin", but following the link with this name offers no further clue on the name of this person. The page itself lists other contributors (not 4, but 8), but in addition to Administrator admin, so it's clear none of them are Administrator admin either.

Therefore, it seems clear to me that this is a person who wishes to be anonymous. Given your apparent aversion to anonymity, as expressed in your refusal to answer your first commenter, I wonder why you would link to this anonymous letter. The links, legit or not, don't make it any less anonymous.

And again, I wonder why, by linking to this letter, you would lend legitimacy to empty attacks on AID (which I know about) and ASHA (which you even volunteer for). Abhi's attack on the two organizations (which you seem to disapprove of) is no different from this anonymous letter's attack on them.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Sunil, something for you too: this anonymous letter we're discussing, and the comments it got, make some pretty serious accusations against AID and, in particular, Ravi K whom you have written so eloquently about. What do you think?

11:05 PM  
Blogger Abhi said...

Okay... I will try to make myself clearer by asking 2 questions

1) Is Sandeep Pandey a supporter of Communist Ideology/Movement in India?
2) Does the ASHA/AID leadership person support the Communist Ideology/Movement in India? (Including Yourself)

My understanding is that the answers to both the questions are Yes. Here are some links which associate Communists with Sandeep Pandey

After reading the above links it clearly seems that Sandeep Pandey is active member and supporter of Communist Ideology/Movement in India. I don't need to mention the fact how Naxalities/Communist movement has destabilized Bharat and created terror throughout Bharat. Despite these facts, ASHA chapters continue to associate themselves with the Sandeep Pandey. Is it because those chapters are ignorant of his association with communist organizations or they too support those ideas?

As far as supporting Sandeep Pandey is concerned, you can look at all the help provided by AID here Yes, it was my mistake, not ASHA it was AID which provides continuous support to Sandeep Pandey.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

You see, Quizman: all you've done is provided a forum and an excuse for the Abhi's of this world to spread their bile.

He says, ...the help provided by AID here

Very clever, right? Except he knows, but is too slippery to say it -- which in itself says all that needs to be said about AID's critics -- he knows that has nothing to do with AID. AID's website is

The guys who long to clutch at anything they can to slander AID deliberately set up a nearly identical URL for their site, and now they've sent Abhi here to make out that AID itself set up that site.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...


I won't even dignify Abhi's rant with a reply since he has equated Asha with Pandey. In effect, he has not read my post. :-)

As I've said before, I don't know much about AID. I do know hundreds of Asha related people (both marathoners and volunteers), whose political/social/economic views are as diverse as any.

Oh yes, Pandey's personal views/leanings make a lot of us uncomfortable and that is what my post and subequent comments were about.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Simple question - did you meet with Sandeep when he was in the Bay area?
Its easy to lend credibility to slander/insinuations without full information.
A bit harder to meet in person and clarify.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Anon - please identify yourself.

No. I don't need to meet him. I am not quoting sources that slander him. I am quoting his own statements and articles.

I don't need to meet Prakash Karat or the pope or Bal Thackeray to disagree with their published views.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Quizman, forgive me, but once more: I don't understand why you're asking the latest anonymous (1144) to identify himself, after you yourself explicitly link to a completely anonymous letter. Did you ask the author of that anonymous letter to identify himself?

And what does "I am not quoting sources that slander him" mean? What do you make of the anonymous letter you link to, may I ask?

8:00 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...


I was referring to the links in that post. The only reason I linked it was for convenience instead of linking them all over again. [The Millat interview, the Rediff article, the CPI(ML) webpage]

If you desire, I can link the three instead of referring to the post that gives you so much angst. :-)

9:38 PM  
Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

QuizM, the angst is hardly over the letter; even more scurrilous anonymous attacks are everywhere. The point is that you seem to object to anonymous people who write to you, but have no problem at all linking to an anonymous letter.

After all, you didn't begin your post by saying "In addition to the links at the end of this open letter (which is anonymous so I suggest you pay it no attention)...", you said simply "In addition to this open letter...".

And despite this being pointed out to you, you have not changed it. Instead you now make out that that possibly my "angst" might make you magnanimously change it. Change it or not at your instance, not because you think you might humour me.

Besides, despite it being pointed out and you acknowledging that it wasn't Pandey's double standards you had in mind, you've not made sure that Desipundit changes their link to this post, which explicitly says you are "amused by double standards of Dr Sandeep Pandey".

But finally, you didn't answer this: what does "I am not quoting sources that slander him" mean? What do you make of the anonymous letter you link to, may I ask? You accuse Abhi of equating ASHA to Pandey -- this letter does exactly that and yet you link to it.

All in all, an episode not worthy of a man -- you -- with whom I often disagree, but I've always respected.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Abhi said...

I do know that is not the official site of AID India. I don't understand how in the world could anybody be misled in believing that is the official website of AID India. I was just trying to present some evidence (ofcourse I can't personally verfiy those evidence) that have been making rounds of the Internet regarding AID's association with Sandeep Pandey.

Mr. D'souza do you seriously believe that "they've sent Abhi here to make out that AID itself set up that site."??? Anybody visiting that site can cleary see that website doens't belong to AID India and I wasn't implying that it did anywhere either.

Quizman thanks for giving at least some answers to my questions :)

9:50 AM  
Blogger Abhi said...

Mr. D'souza rather than bugging "quizman" about the anonymous nature of that letter ... could you rather try to point out a resource that answers the charges in the letter or could you yourself try to answer the questions. I think it is mere technicality that someone posted that letter anonymously. Why are you so hung up about "quizman" treating anonymously source differently? Rather we should be discussing the real issues raised by those "anonymous" people.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...


Changed. Also, I have written to desipundit as indicated above.

12:23 PM  
Blogger seriouslycomic said...


What do you mean by "Bhrigu's question"?.. I know that your poetry is complete and further explanation only means that you think otherwise... But still..

11:46 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...

Seriously Comic,

It refers to Bhrigu's question in the Taittiriya Upanishad.

4:19 PM  
Blogger seriouslycomic said...



10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quizman doesnt know whats going on around. I cannot provide any link for the following statement.

I saw a video on Zee and aajtak sandep pandey wrote a letter to PM to release the kashmiri terrorist leader. I dont know y in the hell he was doing like that. Those people who killed lakhs of indian people in J&K sandeep pandey asked to release the terrorist leader.

IF one terrorist is killed by police then people like sandeep pandey will tell everyone that its inhuman but when a hindu die when terrorist bomb explode u will never hear a word from people like sandeep pandey. I am y this guy dont tell anything to media when a hindu is killed.

Not now but u will later know that he thinks like commi. Whenever u see a naxalist killed u will see article from sandeep pandey but u will never hear a word eventough 1000 of hindus are killed by terrorist, naxalist or by muslim.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about this article quizman...

Why are we not capable of decisive action? Why do we suffer from these supposedly inexplicable spasms of paralysis? This inaction is the result of a variety of reasons. Writers like Kuldip Nayyar,Arundhati Roy and activists like Nirmala Deshpande have created a pacifist environment that does not allow a realistic policy towards Pakistan to take shape. These peaceniks routinely invoke Mahatma Gandhi to preach restraint, oblivious of the fact that restraint or non-violence is not an end in itself. They are means to an end. Non-violence or restraint must ensure positive results without which it has no utility value. For Gandhi non-violence was a means to attain independence. Initial restraint is commendable if followed by decisive corrective action that produces results. Continued restraint in the face of repeated acts of violence is not a virtue and is tantamount to a crime against the future victims of terrorism.

3:10 PM  
Blogger hammer_sickle said...

I am glad that I came across this post. Cleared some of the doubts I had, however posed some more...

Anyway, I want to point out one article that I came across which needs explanation. (Comments are our's).

The post points out that Asha Parivar is tending more and more towards a means for "peace marches". Nothing wrong with them, but certainly relates Asha to SP's political activism.

p.s. I also disguise my name for my work related privacy issues.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anurag said...

It seems amusing to me, that how good are we at the blame game. We take big names such as Sandeep Pandey, Naxalite, etc, without really discussing their philosophy and relying chiefly on some web-posted articles. I think we should be more contemplative and appreciative of those who are taking that extra step, which matters. And finally, writing these comments, seated in a well heated room is not a challenging task and this should be well understood.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...


As easy as it is for avoiding the topic of discussion and answering those points instead of dissing us? What hurts people like me more is that we work very hard for Asha here. SO all this talk of "well heated rooms" etc is misinformed sloganeering.

1:41 PM  
Blogger hammer_sickle said...

Inquillabi's congratulate comrade Sandeep Pandey

6:55 AM  
Anonymous prasad said...

Nice comments. A good discussion. I would rather look at the NGOs which are clearly India centric and which are more practicle in their outlook. Unlike 'peacenicks'
who always think of 'humans' but doesn't worry about the country!

I successufully avoided a person donating to ASHA and AID

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Sagar said...

Many of the links posted here are just fabricated inflatory words (such as the claim that "inquilabis congratulate comrade") to mislead people. The links do not lead to any document, i.e. they produce an error when you click on them, or the links point to their own blogs and not reputed media articles. I have seen this strategy used by the right wing many times before as well. To me, this makes the claims here fall way short of any acceptable standards.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous B Shantanu said...

Curiously, Dilip has not come back with a response to Abhi's remark:

"Mr. D'souza rather than bugging "quizman" about the anonymous nature of that letter ... could you rather try to point out a resource that answers the charges in the letter or could you yourself try to answer the questions.

...Rather we should be discussing the real issues raised by those "anonymous" people."

I agree - anyone cares to answer that? I am writing a post on this for my blog - so any info/clarifications/corrections would be very welcome.

Disclaimer: I am not an Asha or an AID member - at the same time, I have nothing against them - based on what I know so far.
Like some of you, I have also read the open letter - and while it may be anonymous, the links are not anonymous or imagined - they mention dates and comments...If they are wrong, they should be refuted - or explained.


8:51 AM  
Anonymous amit said...

came across this discussion by chance. i know Asha as a big fund raiser for education in India. As u say most of the people contributing to Asha are living in the US and earning off multinationals. But does this mean that they have to defend the american policies or the multinationals.

we should be addressing deeper dilemmas of first leaving our country and still having strong and sincere feelings for it.

more later maybe

1:25 AM  

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