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Monday, March 4, 2024

Western media peddles propaganda against Ayodhya Ram Mandir ahead of inauguration

The western media has a standard template for peddling anti-Bharat and anti-Hindu propaganda. Call the democratically elected government of Bharat Hindu majoritarian and Hindutvavadi. Pepper the description with sensational phrases like right-wing, Hindu fundamentalists, populist, etc. and you have the perfect woke recipe for Bharat bashing. Facts are not needed, and if at all they can be selectively omitted and included as per convenience. Meticulous research is plain old-fashioned. All you need is a barrage of highly biased subjective and opinionated statements with a sprinkling of selective and distorted facts, all well fitted with a pre-defined rigid framework of Hinduphobia and anti-Bharat bias. Of course, good writing skills in English to top it all.

The western media propaganda machinery is already in hyperactive mode ahead of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir inauguration on the 22nd of January. Global media publications like Deutsche Welle (German broadcaster DW), BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Economist, etc. started publishing and broadcasting one-sided and non-objective news reports and feature analyses of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue even days before the Mandir Pran Pratishtha ceremony.

Let’s start our analysis with the German broadcaster DW. When it comes to international propaganda against Bharat and Hindus, the likes of BBC seem the usual culprit. Not many people know about DW, a media organization that does subtle but steady anti-Bharat propaganda by choosing facts selectively and injecting a strong bias in its news reports.

The DW News YouTube channel published a news video on the Ram Temple recently. The video is titled “Why India’s Ayodhya Ram Mandir temple inauguration is so controversial”? The news title itself is misleading. In November 2019, the Supreme Court of Bharat passed a judgment handing over the Ram Janambhoomi land to Hindus and passed orders for the construction of a Bhagwan Ram temple on the premises. The Ram Janambhoomi movement was not manufactured by Prime Minister Modi or even the BJP. Ever since Bharat gained independence, right from September 1949, when lord Ram’s idols were discovered in Babri Mosque, Hindus have fought a long legal and political battle to reclaim the birthplace of lord Ram.

The DW video portrays the issue in a way that one unaware of the history of Ram Janambhoomi would think that there was a mosque in Ayodhya that some Hindu fundamentalists destroyed because they believed a temple existed in its place. The video repeatedly uses the kind of language that Hindus believed there was a temple in the place of the mosque. It briefly mentions the Supreme Court ruling but it doesn’t talk about the archaeological evidence based on which the ruling was delivered.

It gives you the perception that Bharat’s Supreme Court simply bowed down to Hindu fundamentalists and their “faith” by giving the ruling in their favour. It conveniently omits the fact that Hindus fought a long legal battle to meticulously collect the evidence. Based on the evidence found in archaeological excavations conducted by ASI and the plethora of evidence of the existence of a Ram Mandir there based on European accounts of Ayodhya over the last 300 years and other different kinds of textual evidence.

Noted historian Meenakshi Jain who has played a significant role in the busting of leftist propaganda against Ram Mandir remarked in an interview given to OpIndia in October 2019. “When the Supreme Court confronted them with facts, the left historians who until now claimed that Babur Masjid was built on vacant land modified their view and said there was an Eidgah beneath it. All the Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit literature from the 18th and 19th century maintained that Babri Masjid was built on the ruins of Ram temple. Not a single document points in the other direction. However, the left historians have taken a line of thought and they refuse to be convinced no matter what evidence is presented to them”, she says in the interview.

Coming back to the DW video, the narration blatantly says, “In 1992, Hindu fundamentalists tore down the 16th century mosque known as the Babri Masjid. They said it was built by Muslim rulers on the ruins of an earlier Ram temple which they believe to be the birthplace of the Hindu God” Look how cleverly DW skips narrating the evidence based on which the court ruling was delivered. I emphasize this repeatedly because this is how most of the western media is trying to portray the Ram Mandir inauguration – as some kind of Hindutva fanaticism that has no basis in rationality. The DW video clearly mentions that the mosque was built in the 16th century but it omits the barbaric acts of the Islamic invaders who built that mosque on the ruins of a temple and looted and plundered Bharat.

Interestingly, the DW video story also features brief sound bytes of Ram bhakts who are innocently talking about how happy they are now that their Bhagwan Ram has found his rightful place. Little do these people know that their sound bytes are being used by the broadcaster to fit a twisted anti-Hindu narrative of Ayodhya Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha. The video then features brief sound-bytes of a few local Muslims in Ayodhya to prove that they are scared for their safety in view of the massive rallies that are being taken out in the run-up to the consecration ceremony.

Little do the likes of DW realize that all this stuff just doesn’t cut when the Ram Mandir construction and the subsequent inauguration have given livelihood to so many locals in Ayodhya including Muslims. Many Muslim artisans and craftspersons have worked on projects related to the temple directly or indirectly. Even the former litigant in the Ayodhya land dispute case who was extended an invitation to the Ram Temple consecration ceremony is happily attending the Pran Pratishtha ceremony.

The X Handle of DW Asia is also full of one-sided video stories against the Ram Mandir inauguration. “The newly built Ram temple in Ayodhya is stirring up communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India. Here’s why”, says the title. The brief 2 minutes 9 seconds clip again creates the impression that a mosque in Ayodhya was demolished by Hindu fundamentalists and a temple constructed in its place that has also become a gimmick for the BJP government to stay in power in the wake of upcoming election season in Bharat.

In fact, all propaganda stories being peddled by the western media against the Ram Mandir inauguration seem to have this thing in common – they are projecting BJPs association with the Ram Janambhoomi movement as some kind of breakthrough revelation and are repeatedly emphasizing that the BJP is using the Ram Mandir plank to woo its Hindu voter base ahead of elections. But the Ram Janambhoomi issue has always been a part of BJP’s election manifesto. Many veteran BJP leaders and grassroots-level party workers were imprisoned during the Ramjanambhoomi movement.

Bharat’s ruling party has never shied away from the fact that the Ram Janambhoomi movement is intrinsically tied to its political existence. Then, one doesn’t quite understand the logic of western media portraying this as some kind of a breakthrough revelation that would endanger Bharat’s democracy. If anything, it would strengthen the same. Democracy is all about the will of the people and if people want to bring a government to power that honors their faith and their deep-seated desire for setting right the historical injustices meted out to Hindus in their own land, then what is wrong about it?

Ironically enough, the same western media that cries hoarse over Hindu majoritarianism over the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya gets silent when it comes to condemning the silence of their own governments regarding the horrors of colonization and the issue of colonial reparations.

Forget about reparations, many western governments aren’t even willing to part with the artifacts looted from other countries during colonization. They proudly call these their national treasure and the western media doesn’t have any problem with that. But it has a lot of problems with the construction of a temple in Bharat which is the land of perhaps the only surviving native religion in the world. Or is that the real problem perhaps? How come Hindus still haven’t succumbed to the pressures of monotheistic Abrahamic religions? How come they proudly go about building temples and following polytheism when all native religions practicing polytheism have been wiped away, at least they do not exist in an organized form any longer.

The international media publication The Economist has also jumped into the fray with an article titled “Narendra Modi’s illiberalism may imperil India’s economic progress”. The article calls Ram Mandir a “controversial $220 million Hindu temple” and seems to be quite worried about Bharat’s supposed mixing of politics and religion saying it rings alarm bells for Bharat’s 200 million Muslims and secular-minded Hindus.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2024/01/18/narendra-modis-illiberalism-may-imperil-indias-economic-progress

The article argues that even as Bharat modernizes itself and tries to become a world-class economy, the hubristic “Hindu Chauvinism” of its Prime Minister undermines Bharat’s economic ambitions. It goes on and on about this rhetorically without any sound logic or evidence. The writer seems to have taken it as a given that the idea of a Hindu Rashtra is antithetical to modernity and economic progress, and therefore they merely set out to prove rhetorically what they have already taken for granted. It’s similar to the times when Bharat’s low growth rate was attributed to Hindu Dharma calling it the “Hindu growth rate”. Times have changed, Bharat’s growth rate has risen dramatically but the colonial mindset of the naysayers remains the same.

The article accuses the BJP of overtly or covertly encouraging mob attacks on Muslims. Then, in the next sentence, it jumps on to anti-conversion laws and says that many BJP-run states have passed anti-conversion laws. Then, it starts talking about Islamophobia all of a sudden talking about the Bharatiya government promoting a citizenship law that apparently discriminates against Muslims, Then, all of a sudden, the article starts talking about the Bharatiya government’s “harassment and attacks on the pillars of India’s old liberal order”.

 It talks about all these things in a span of a paragraph, pretty much breathless style! What I am trying to say is that the write-up is ridiculously devoid of any rhyme or reason. It jumps from topic to topic in its burning desire to level as many allegations against the Modi government as possible. None of these allegations are supported by any evidence. How exactly is the Modi government attacking Bharat’s liberal institutions? What are those attacks on Muslims that the article is talking about? Absolutely no evidence but only prejudiced blank statements.

The whole article jumps from topic to topic in its quest to accuse the Modi government of as many wrongdoings and travesties as possible and connect everything to the Ram Mandir inauguration. That it is a headache to read the whole article, will be an understatement.

Interestingly enough, the article all of a sudden starts talking about the apparent north-south divide, which according to the article writer, will increase further if PM Modi’s Hindutva project gains ground and he gets re-elected a third time. “Yet if Mr Modi in his third term were to lurch further towards Hindutva and autocratic rule, the economic calculus would change. Take the north-south divide. If India continues to grow fast, the industrialized, wealthy and technologically advanced south is likely to pull further ahead, drawing labour from the north. But Hindutva holds little appeal in the south, and by pushing it further while concentrating more power in his own hands, Mr Modi could exacerbate already rising tensions over internal migrants, tax revenues and representation”, says the article.

It’s incredible how these lines create a fictitious north-south divide by making this sweeping generalization. The north of Bharat is portrayed as backward and non-progressive sending cheap labour to the southern states, which echoes the controversial north-south remarks made by a member of a certain party in the south of Bharat not too long ago. The article furthers the colonial stereotype of the north-south divide by arguing that the south of Bharat is still not in the grip of Hindutva. In other words, due to the over aggressive presence of the Christian missionaries in the south of Bharat, Hindu Dharma has been kept under check.

The Hinduphobic media outlet Al Jazeera is also doing its fair share of propaganda vis-à-vis the Ram Temple inauguration. “For the Indian Muslims, Ayodhya is everywhere”, “Popcorn and curfews: India gets ready for Ram temple with frenzy and fear”, “In India’s Ayodhya, the Ram temple means ‘land is costlier than gold’”, these are titles of a few recent news stories published by Al Jazeera on the Ram temple consecration ceremony.

Al Jazeera has gone many steps ahead of other international media outlets in anti Ram Mandir propaganda. In the story titled Popcorn and curfews: India gets ready for Ram temple with frenzy and fear, it creates a rather far-fetched connection between the supposed agrarian distress in a district of Maharashtra called Yavatmal near Mumbai and the Ram Mandir inauguration.

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2024/1/20/popcorn-and-curfew-india-gets-ready-for-ram-temple-with-frenzy-and-fear

 The article starts by saying that Yavatmal has been in the midst of agrarian distress with more than 5,000 farmers taking their own lives in the last two decades. Then, the article argues that despite the fact that Yavatmal has been a site of agrarian distress, trucks from Yavatmal carrying donated grains from farmers are headed to Ayodhya to feed devotees visiting the temple during the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony.

The piece goes on and on about this creating a bizarre connection between the apparent farmer distress in Yavatmal and the trucks carrying grains for the Ram Mandir inauguration. One has to admit that a more baseless and vicious piece of anti-Hindu propaganda is hard to spot. The writeup is desperate in its bid to defame the Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha ceremony and somehow connect it to the issue of economic disparity. The far-fetched connection between farmer suicides in Yavatmal over two decades and the carrying of donated grains to Ram Mandir is so illogical and ridiculous.

Then, the article shifts gears and starts talking about how the popular culture industry of Bharat has gone into an overdrive mode creating songs and videos on Sri Ram. It spends a lot of space lamenting the fact that many famous singers of Bharat are releasing new songs based on the life of Sri Ram. The article even gives a word count of the number of songs around Shri Ram that PM Modi has tweeted this month. Such is the level of desperation of this supposedly esteemed Media outlet to somehow defame Bharat and PM Modi.

Then in an overarching sweep of imagination, the article starts drawing parallels between the partition of Bharat and the celebrations around Ram Mandir inauguration. “Author Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who reported on the agitation that led to the demolition of the 16th-century Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, says the celebrations carry an echo of the events of August 15, 1947. India celebrated its independence from British colonial rule at the same time that large parts of the country were drowning in inter-religious hate, and the subconti-nent was being carved into two”, says the article.

Finally, a bit about BBC Hindi that has contributed its own share to making the Ram Mandir inauguration look controversial. BBC Hindi has done a story titled “Ayodhya Ram Mandir: Kya keh rahe hain Ayodhya ke Dukaandar?” (What are the shopkeepers of Ayodhya saying). It has been posted on the YouTube channel of BBC Hindi The story shows interviews of a few shopkeepers whose shops have been apparently closed due to the government’s drive for broadening roads in Ayodhya.

They are thus airing their grievances about how the whole modernization of the Ayodhya project in the run-up to the Ram Temple inauguration has destroyed their livelihood. Interestingly enough, in the comments section itself, many people can be seen calling out BBC’s anti-Ram Mandir propaganda. Some people are commenting that it’s the illegal encroachments that have been removed and that the BBC is showing only half the truth by portraying just one side of the situation. Some users are also commenting that all shopkeepers have received high compensation from the government so BBC is peddling lies.

The removal of encroachments for road broadening projects is a routine practice. Such stuff probably happens in western countries as well but is never reported. But in Bharat, everything becomes potential propaganda material. BBC Hindi hasn’t done a single story showcasing the Hindu perspective of the momentous occasion, how it was proved in the Supreme Court that the Babri Masjid was indeed constructed by demolishing a pre-existing Ram temple. It hasn’t done any story talking about the archaeological and textual evidence that led to the Supreme Court judgment. But it’s doing a sensational story on the supposed grievances of a few shopkeepers due to the government’s road broadening project. The story offers a biased perspective, it doesn’t talk about how the modernization of Ayodhya and the resulting tourism will increase business opportunities for small businesses in Ayodhya manifold.

There are probably many other news reports and video stories by international media organizations continuously keeping the anti-Hindu propaganda mills running vis-à-vis the Ram Mandir inauguration. It’s not possible to track and critique every single piece. But we’ve tried our best to give you a comprehensive overview of the anti-Ayodhya Ram Mandir narrative being peddled at a global level.

There is a section of the Bharatiya educated elite who treat these ‘esteemed’ international publications like Demigods and consider them the pioneers of good journalism. They are anything but practitioners of good journalism, at least when it comes to Bharat. That’s why it’s important to call out their vile anti-Hindu and anti-Bharat propaganda.

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Rati Agnihotri
Rati Agnihotri
Rati Agnihotri is an independent journalist and writer currently based in Dehradun (Uttarakhand). Rati has extensive experience in broadcast journalism having worked as a Correspondent for Xinhua Media for 8 years. She was based at their New Delhi bureau. She has also worked across radio and digital media and was a Fellow with Radio Deutsche Welle in Bonn. She is now based in Dehradun and pursuing independent work regularly contributing news analysis videos to a nationalist news portal (India Speaks Daily) with a considerable youtube presence. Rati regularly contributes articles and opinion pieces to various esteemed newspapers, journals, and magazines. Her articles have been recently published in "The Sunday Guardian", "Organizer", "Opindia", and "Garhwal Post". She has completed a MA (International Journalism) from the University of Leeds, U.K., and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I live in U K, and I am getting fed up of Western Media lies and fake news about India. The Western media continues to write completely untrue and fake news about India and Modi.
    I have STOPPED listening to Western media news and broadcasting, it is so unfair that I don’t waste my time in anything they have to say about my country of birth India.

  2. Most of these western media has not allowed to consider the opinions of the people atleast as comments on their article. It looks more one sided where as said by the auther there is no mention of Archeological surveys which looks to be a forgetten piece of information. Hope the new papers will project the correct and full information with a little more investigation rather than creatign a confusion among people who are not aware of Ram janma bhoomi..

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