Photo Courtesy: Indian Council for Cultural Relations
(An Open Letter to ICCR and MEA, Government of India)
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is an autonomous body under the control of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), founded in 1950. As per their website, ICCR’s objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations; to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.
Among other things, ICCR has so far instituted 68 Academic Chairs in foreign universities, in addition to one at the Jawahar Lal University, New Delhi.
A select few of those are listed below:
|USA||Rutgers State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick|
|USA||University of Pittsburgh|
|Canada||Carleton University, Ottawa|
|Canada||Simon Fraser University, Burnaby|
|Australia||Monash University, Melbourne|
|China||Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai|
|China||Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangdong|
When asked under RTI to provide:
- A list of review reports received by ICCR since 1950, related to academic chairs instituted by ICCR in foreign universities.
- Minutes of the ICCR Committee held in 2019 to review academic chairs instituted by ICCR in foreign universities.
“No such information is available” is the reply received as on September 27, 2021.
If no information is available, then questions arise:
- How do you know, how far are you achieving the objectives of ICCR in terms of instituting 69 academic chairs?
- How do you justify tax payer’s money?
While ICCR has been working for the last 71 years, “to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations”, on ground, the academic chairs look unproductive or counter- productive.
You may have known, ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ conference organized and supported by select US Universities, of which Rutgers was in lead.
Rutgers has a Professor on its roll who is an out and out Hindu and India hater.
Monash University of Australia has a Hindu and India hater on its rolls.
The support of Khalistanis by Canada is no secret.
How much love UK has for India, no one needs be reminded in the context of recent COVID-19 tit-for-tat.
What was the response of the ICCR to all these abrasions is not known to anyone!!
Hindu Americans were highly disturbed, and they responded.
Hindu Heritage Foundation of America (HHFA) organized a three days’ global conference during Sept 30- Oct 2, 2021, US Time and Oct 1- 3, 2021, India Time to highlight the counterpoint. It was highly participated and supported by various organizations and media partners. (hindutvaforglobalgood.org).
Hindu American Foundation (HAF) submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Education ‘s Office of Civil Rights to investigate the University of Pennsylvania under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Why? What does that mean? https://www.hinduamerican.org/press/university-pennsylvania-dismantling-global-hindutva-complaint
It is through the efforts of Hindu Americans that more than 10 States and Counties of the United States of America have declared October 2021 as the Hindu Heritage Month to recognize and celebrate the numerous positive contributions made by Hindu Americans to all aspects of American society including Science, Business, Politics and Spirituality.
While we shall continue doing what we can at our personal and community level, we expect ICCR and MEA including its Indian Embassies and Consulates world-wide, do their parts. They are funded by Indian tax payer’s money. We know that Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) now works in India, but it will be a shame if those having direct accountability and responsibility fail to do their duty to the nation.
(with inputs from Professor Chandan Upadhyay, IIT, BHU, Varanasi)
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.