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keeping truth in the darkness: misinformation by the media about happenings in india.

Misinformation and hiding facts about happenings in India and its culture and heritage is a favorite game of the western press.

Below you can find the reply written by Manish Vyas to a Swiss journalist in reply to the recent misleading article he has published about the Ram Temple inauguration on January 2024. Here you can find the original article published in German which you can ask the browser to translate if you don't understand, or see this free translation in English. The rest speaks by itself.

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Hello Hugo Stamm

I happen to see this article and for better understanding, translated it, to get an idea of your perspective about the inauguration of the new Ram Temple in India, about which you wrote recently. [ Due to your regular commenting on so many international matters and cultures, I assume you know English very well; but if I am wrong, you can use a translator. It was not possible to find your email contact anywhere, so I send it to the editorial for which you wrote. ]

The conclusion and the narrative which is presented in your article is not at all surprising and matches in many cases with collective narratives from western media, from people totally disconnected from what they are writing about. Honestly, by your lack of understanding about India, I have the impression you read some western news, and reshuffled the words into your own article. It was an easy material for you to write a quick article. But it still merits to use some of my busy time to write this to you.

You have all the right to be personally against sects, religions, etc… but this doesn’t give you the right as a journalist to condemn an ancient dharma like you did throwing out an article without any foundation. Also, your article about the Ram Temple Inauguration is published in a section “Sektenblog” which is totally inappropriate and out of context.

As an Indian, who was born and brought up in India and now temporarily living in Switzerland (due to my Swiss wife being there until her children finish high-school) and having worked very closely with Swiss, Americans and Europeans, who are deeply interested in the culture and wisdom of India, I feel compelled to respond to your article. I will also share it with my communities and in my blog.

I will go point by point.

You say, «It stands on the ruins of a mosque: the controversial Ram Temple in Ayodhya.»

I am surprised that either you did not take enough time to explore and research the history of this event and what led to the rebuilding of the temple, or you selectively chose to close your eyes to the facts of our history and present partial information. As a responsible reporter, I expect that persons like you would study the history of India. If you would understand, you will realize that the Ram temple is not «controversial» at all – your article is.

What you missed is the fact that the mosque actually stood on an ancient Ram temple, exactly the place where Ram was born. One of the mogul emperors who ruled a region in India, had purposely destroyed the original Ram temple and built a mosque in 1528, on the ruins of the Ram shrine, which until then was revered by millions in India. In the process of invasion of this mogul emperor, thousands of Hindus were butchered and those who survived were forcefully converted to Islam (“convert or die.”) So, first point, our ancestors and original inhabitants of this land, were plundered by muslim people.

Imagine the Cathedral of St. Gallen, close to my home, built where the Irish monk Gall had built his hermitage in year 600; if the muslims suddenly invade, destroy it, kill half of St Gallen, build a Mosque on top… and think they have full right on the mosque, that the mosque is legitimate. That’s how it was, in short.

It was not that India did not have enough space to rise their mosque somewhere – it was a purposeful attack on the very faith of people of India (the original inhabitants) by destroying the most revered place of worship in this land, and building their mosque in that area where there was hardly any muslim population, because the muslim population came later slowly, slowly with the invasions.

Naturally Hindus were not happy about it and for years, in their own way, they struggled to get back their right to visit and pray at the temple. Just like you would try to recover your valuable property if somebody steals it. Justice is very important in Switzerland, so you must understand this.

But the moguls had come to force their Islamic beliefs on the peaceful people of India. Then came the britishers who of course were not interested in solving this issue, rather they were keen on keeping it burning, due to politics. After India re gained its independence from UK, the initial «Hampelman» government of India kept on postponing this issue. At some point, Hindus lost their tolerance and patience and in 1992, they tiered the mosque down.

After that, the issue went in to the Court. When Modi government came in the power, they handed over this issue to the Supreme Court of Justice, which is the highest authority, as you know. There were proper legal procedures, openly, diligently and honestly followed.

By your article, I can see that you probably also don’t know that one of the main highly credited archeologist of this whole investigation was even Muslim : Mr Karingamannu Kuzhiyil Muhammed, regional director of the Archaeological Survey of India, credited with the discovery of Idabat Khana, along with numerous Buddhist Stupas and monuments and awarded the 2019 Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honor. Him and his team were the first ones to discover the ruins of the original Ram temple below the mosque, in 1976. Him and his team excavated the site of the Babri Masjid, discovering the ruins of the original temple, with a lot of evidence of symbols of Hinduism, idols, etc. and the place of birth of Ram.

After the evidence and proven archaeological surveys, finally, it was objectively concluded through all legal steps supporting the proofs, that there was indeed an ancient temple there on which a mosque was built, so the decision by the Supreme Court was to allow the Hindus to re-build it there – this is called justice. It was also decided by the Court that the muslim community was gifted even a bigger space to build a mosque, along with a hospital.

Also, you seem not to know that the mosque in which the Hindu Ram temple was rebuilt was an abandoned, un-used structure.

There was no “oppression,” there was no “revenge,” there was no “ruthlessness”, as you fantasize in your article, trying to seduce your readers.

It was not simply not at all how and what you expressed. Instead, it was a process of many years, following all the steps of independent judicial procedures – as you can expect of the Supreme Court of Justice. And in the process of the Supreme Court of Justice of India, there were involved and contributing people of many religions, not just Hindus (Christians, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, etc…) You should also know that about 80% on India is Hindu and that India is home of 94% of world’s Hindus.

You chose to ignore the history and true facts?

Why a lot of people in the west feel this entitlement to make comments on India and Indian heritage, and Indian people?

How would you feel if one of your favorite places where you love to be in meditation, in peace - all of a sudden is razed to the ground, you and your family and friends are either killed or converted to Islam or any other faith? And then your next generations have to wait till they get justice and dignity? Things are forgiven but not forgotten. And a right is a right – always.

We, in India, would not make judgements like you are doing, like “how cruel Swiss Cristians are”, if you would be on the process of recovering your ripped-apart cultural property.

It is very easy to make such comments randomly, without having known the history. The pain, the suffering, the torture what the people of India have been subjected to, in the last thousand years; first from the Islamic invasions and then the European invasions. They attacked the very heart and soul of this country, they looted, they destroyed, massacred, raped, killed and starved children, also forcing conversions of millions of people – this is how most muslims were born in India: they were Hindus forced to convert. You, as a Swiss, cannot imagine that pain. You have no clue. I can see that.

And then, without knowing any depth of the story, you just take the last 30 years and write a distorted, diluted, ignorant perspective of such an ancient culture, the wisest civilization ever existed on this planet, it shows simply your prejudice and ignorance about this matter.

It could be that religion, in your vision, has failed in uplifting people’s lives. Especially in Switzerland, I read the level of faith of people is at its lowest.

From your article, you seem to have a personal issue with «faith» in general, which is ok, but that is your own point of view; and as a journalist you should base your article on facts, and not on your personal opinion; specially when you’re writing about a foreign, unknown culture to you.

Note your constant use of word «Religion» in your article is inappropriate when you refer to India.

The result of equating Dharma with Religion (in India) is ignorant and a massive mistake.

First of all, if you talk about India, the word we have is actually not «Religion», but Dharma. The word religion maybe applies in the west, but not in India, we don’t have that word, it does not exist as such in the original language. «Dharma» has the Sanskrit root dhri, which means «that which upholds» or «that which maintains stability and harmony.» Qualitatively it’s absolutely different from religion. Dharma encompasses the natural, innate behavior of things.

«Hinduism» was a word brought by the invaders, who called “Hindus” the people living next to the river with the same name; so as you can see, Hindu-religion does not exist, but was given birth by foreigners; as colonialists endeavored to map Indian traditions onto their ideas of religion that never existed in this land.

The original and real name of our path is not Hinduism, but has always been SANATAN DHARMA, people who follow the natural law, the natural order of things. Dharma is not limited to a particular creed or specific form of worship. Well, you would have to understand this; a letter cannot explain thousands of years of an enlightening vision… but just that you know, your emphasis on the word “religion” when you write about India, shows you don’t know, you don’t understand the root of what you are writing. And when foundation is wrong, all is wrong.

Contrary to Europe where churches are visibly empty, in India, devotion and trust in the highest law of the universe is and has always been at its highest. Even amongst young people. You know why, because since generations most of the people didn’t lose their faith in a higher dimension and inner wisdom. Our culture teaches us not to worship God, but to «be God.» We worship deities and awakened ones only because they have been a living-embodiment of that godliness which everyone carries. And that is what is attracting millions of people from the west towards India and her wisdom, her culture, her trust in life.

Have you been to India, to experience this? To understand?

Outer wealth does not bring peace nor joy. In this land which may appear chaotic at times, there is an inherent quality of peace, because for thousands of years, the main goal of people has been to attain inner peace. Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mirabai, Mahavira, Nanak, Meher Baba, Sai Baba, Krishnamurti, Ramakrishna, Osho, Hazrat Inahat Khan, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Anamalai Swami, Ramana Maharshi are some of the few names amongst thousands who found that light, that peace. Even currently, many other spiritual guides carrying this wisdom are also spreading that light. And yes, the contemporary spiritual guides were all present at the inauguration of the temple, just for your information. Now if you consider these contemporary teachers as «Hindu Nationalists,» then I think you have a monumental prejudice.

«Hinduism» was never a religion. It is SANATAN DHARMA, a universal way of being.

Paths or practices like Yoga, Pranayam, Dhyan, Tantra, Mantra, Ayurveda, Astrology and many more are beautiful gifts born in SANATAN DHARMA, shared with the rest of the world. One cannot deny this fact, it’s in front of your eyes.

In the whole history of SANATAN DHARMA; there is not a single case of forced conversion. While millions were converted forcefully by Islamic invaders and the European conquerors to either Islam or Christianity, SANATAN DHARMA (Hinduism) never forced anyone to convert; on the contrary it always promoted total freedom.

For your record, in the whole period of Islamic invasions in India, roughly 600 million Hindus were killed. Only during the British invasions and rule, 150 millions were killed directly or indirectly. You also have to review your numbers.

While Germany is still paying to Israel and the Jews for the inhuman crimes they committed, India never received a single penny of compensation from the British government, they didn’t even return the stolen treasures. On the contrary, British looted our country to build their own. It is a proven fact.

After having gone through such inhuman and barbaric destruction, finally India is recovering from those wounds and rising her dignity, not only on financial scale but also on human and spiritual scale. This phenomenon brings jealousy, resentment; that’s why the west is not happy about it.

You say, «…if you look at the world and history, there is considerable doubt as to whether religious communities make better people out of their members and whether they have a positive influence on society and politics.”

This statement applies maybe to other religions but SANATAN DHARMA has only and only made lives of people better and is continuing to do so.

I guess I don’t have to say anything about your comment of ‘HINDU AGGRESSION’ after how I have awakened you about our history and what our ancestors have gone through.

Actually, your article unfolds a lot of aggression just by writing something like the content you have shared. Re-read it, contemplate the aggression in it.

Hindu community as a whole has been one of the most tolerant, compassionate and brotherly community in the whole world. Look around you, most of the problems are from people of other faith or belief; just take a look at all the strong xenophobic movement in all Europe right now; and the high level of racist attitudes faced everywhere by foreigners, including muslim kids and families !

We know muslim families who are not even allowed to work in Switzerland, they are not allowed to leave Switzerland (like war prisoners), they have no ID issued to them… and they have been here for 8 years or more… I can give you names. Why don’t you write an article about this?? In India we have never forbidden muslim immigrants to work, and even less keep them host; we all have the same rights.

Hindus have been a progressive community, silently following their path wherever they are, integrating with the local communities, without losing their identity and some of them rising in the political power based on their capability, e.g. like Rishi Sunak, PM of UK cannot be ignored. All the CEOs of major US corporations are Hindus. Possibly another may become the president of USA... who knows.

And just look around, how much business thanks to India! Billionaire market of yoga and similar disciplines, magazines, and products based on Indian culture. In Switzerland there is a Yoga Studio almost in every corner, they sell teachers trainings for 10 thousand francs like hot-cakes! which origin is again located in Sanatan Dharma (what you call Hinduism.) Many Europeans are getting attracted towards the beauty and depth of ancient India and the gifts it has to offer to humanity, I see it with my own eyes while commuting between India and Switzerland.

While the fundamentalists muslims are creating problems and havoc in European countries, they want SHARIA law in your countries, did you ever hear an Indian making such a foolish demand in your countries?

And if the west does not wake up to this threat, then our past will become your future and nothing would be able to stop it.

That is why you should look inwards, not outwards. You have enough problems there.

I have had since childhood very good friends who are muslim, peace loving, life loving, music loving people, even best friends. They are all totally ok with the process of the Ram Temple, because they know the history.

The problem is in being radical.

Ram Temple, its inauguration is simply a symbol of pure faith (faith as dharma, not as religion) patience and tolerance of millions of Indians who simply got their right back to worship one of their most revered deity, Ram, in the place where he was born and lived. What is wrong in that? Why are you so spiteful?

If Jesus’s birthplace was destroyed and taken over by some radical people and now it was reclaimed again, same joy would prevail amongst Christians.

That very day, 500,000 people visited that temple, highest ever in a single day anywhere in the world. True devotion. But you don’t understand, I can see.

So because you don’t know this phenomenon of faith and trust, you not only cannot relate to what is happening, but you chose to blindly criticize, according to your own conditionings.

You say, “They did not want to subsequently legitimize the injustice that had been done to Muslims.”

I guess by now you should be clear that finally the justice prevailed – after a wait of 500 years – which you chose to ignore.

And if a political leader uses this event to bring people together, to unite them, to regain a sense of dignity, pride, to gift millions of people their right to Ram’s birthplace, what is wrong in it? You want the president to be unhappy, frozen? I wouldn’t like an unpassionate president like that.

I have grown up in this country, I know how the Hindu community in their own land always lived in a shadow of so-called secularism which was forcefully imposed on India by the British, how Hindus have been deprived of many rights in spite of their ancient history, in spite of being in their own land. You don’t know this. It is definitely their moment to celebrate, not at the cost of other faiths, but simply to have freedom to follow their hearts to worship what was worshipped in this land since millennia. Lord Ram came initially in the period of Tretha Yuga, that was 2,16 million years ago, so Vedic Dharma, the Dharma of this land, is that old.

India knows how to bow down. In bowing down, the ego melts, heart melts, personality melts and that is a beautiful thing. Most of problems would evaporate in air, if only they learnt how to bow, how to remain humble and how to trust. Not necessarily bow to anybody in particular, but to bow to existence, to let go of the so called control-over-life and situations, to relax a little bit, to flow, to laugh, dance, cry… just being more human and not be in control all the time, to be imperfect sometimes, to accept, to surrender.

You say, «Most believers around the world are probably convinced that faith has made them better people. However, the history of religions and faith communities raises doubts about this. There is often a wide gap between expectations and reality.»

It is FAITH that has carried the generations in India across everything, to overcome such barbaric invasions, torture, massacres, destruction, robberies, devastations. Most of the countries which were invaded lost their identity, their path, their dignity and gave-in to the invaders and their beliefs; losing their heritage and together with that their ancient wisdom, their connection to the source.

India is the only country which survived all of that, and kept her identity alive, like a small burning lamp in a vicious storm and finally that small flame is turning into a bright torch which is spreading light and has immense capacity to show the path not only to people in India but to those who want to wake up and strive for liberation. The future of India has an impact in the future of the whole humanity.

There is so much more to comment, but I will stop here, because to answer your article would require a whole book.

Feel free to meet me for a chai (a real chai) and I can teach you more about this land and many other things you don’t know about Bhãrat, which may really impress you.

Manish Vyas


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