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Even the BBC’s Hindu Bashing has some Karma

Even the BBC’s Hindu Bashing has some Karma

In February 2002 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) along with other international broadcast networks reported on the outbreak of communal violence in Godhra, in the Indian state of Gujarat. From the BBC report one would have got the impression that Hindus were not even victims of the violence. Instead Hindus were blamed for the violence which affected all communities. It is a sad indictment of a one time respected international news corporation that the BBC would target Hindus this way.

However it was far from unique or out of character. In reporting the secessionist terrorism in Kashmir, the BBC has long been sympathetic to the terrorists, refusing to even call them ‘terrorist’. Why? Because the victims of the terror are Hindus. Indeed the BBC averts its gaze from the indigenous inhabitants of Kashmir who to this day languish in refugee camps simply because they are Hindu. The BBC pays at best lip service to the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus from Kashmir.

As hinted at this is far from an isolated occurrence. Only this year the director-general Mark Thomson candidly admitted that some faiths and communities get more favourable and sensitive treatment than others, and that the broadcasting behemoth has to consider the possibility of violent threats should it push ahead with certain types of programme. So there you have it, plain and open. With this knowledge the inherently anti-Hindu nature  of the BBC becomes clear and there are many examples of this bigotry and colonialist racist mindset to choose from. In fact they are legion.

In 2003 at the Hindu Youth UK festival the BBC sent one of its token brown face Indian governors to lecture the youth on how Hindu extremism was a threat in India turning it into a Hindutva Fascist state .When asked to provide proof of this by HHR and why the BBC never reports on human rights abuses on Kashmiri Hindus or Bangladeshi Hindus he reacted in the usual function by looking for the nearest exit and developing a sudden inability to speak.

 In 2005 HHR was asked by BBC Radio 4 to participate in research for an upcoming programme about the commonality shared between different faith communities. It did not take long to transpire that they actually were trying to highlight differences. When HHR did not cooperate the result was an abusive, arrogant rant down the telephone by the programme’s producer, upset at not having found her pliable ‘Gunga Din’ guinea pig.

In 2007 HHR was asked for its input into the BBC World Service programme about religion. Having initially refused because of allegations that HHR was funded by the BJP and RSS (which actually fund and are linked to NHSF, not that is exactly a big secret anyway), the BBC retracted and then became rather more inviting.

Nevertheless as soon as I walked into the interview the whole conversation was moulded around making HHR look extremist. Accusations of damaging MF  Hussain’s paintings were refuted without much difficulty, considering that HHR’s protest was peaceful. Next on being asked my own beliefs, I said there was much enrichment from looking at Sufi poetry and Jewish Kabbalah. Yet this brought indignation as most Hindus would apparently not agree. So in a few minutes I moved from being boxed as a narrow-minded extremist and a broad-minded ‘progressive’, both of which were problematic. No surprise that my entire interview was shelved as HHR was not deemed extremist enough.

Fortunately they found another well known UK Hindu Organisation to be desperate enough for fame that they became the necessary broadcast fodder to ‘prove’ the existence of Hindu extremism later  which later on resulted with their front man wrongly portrayed as a Hindu Fuhrer with connections with the VHP in a widely published British Newspaper.

Above all it was the treatment of the Indian Guru Sathya Sai Baba in the BBC’s ‘Secret Swami’ which was the apex of all its anti-Hindu ideology. First broadcast in 2004, the television documentary vilified one of India’s most revered holy men as money grabbing child abusing sex pest. HHR complained within the time limits set by the BBC’s own procedures. But the BBC claimed to have not seen these emails and hence the complaint was dismissed as being outside the time period. In 2011(?) the programme was referred to in a series of articles on Sathya Sai Baba passing away. HHR again complained but was told it should have complained back in 2004.

When the proof was provided that it actually had the BBC Trust in its appeal them moved the goal posts to dismiss it anyway. Yet the BBC still earns royalties from selling this programme abroad and ensuring that it is seen as gospel truth.

The accusations against Sathya Sai Baba have particular poignancy. Soon after the death of Baba, one of the BBC most loved, respected and famous figures also left his earthly abode. Jimmy Savile (coincidentally born 1926 and passed away 2011 same years as Sathya Sai Baba) was known to millions not just as a radio DJ and television presenter, but as a tireless campaigner in raising millions for charity, most notably the Stoke Mandeville hospital for children.

Savile also raised the recognition of Broadmoor in tackling mental health issues and worked unpaid as a hospital porter. Yet only a year after his death explosive revelations astounded the public. For decades Savile had used his position of celebrity, trust and charity work to beguile to public just so that he could prey on society’s most vulnerable. Teenage girls, boys even younger, and hospital patients were subject to his vicious and unrelenting sexual predatory behaviour for decades totaling around 4-5 hundred alleged victims.

The BBC colluded in his efforts as he held a vice grip over them and was allegedly allowed to run a child sex ring with total impunity within BBC premises . Savilegate was however just the tip of the iceberg. In 2001 veteran BBC broadcaster Jonathan King was sentenced to prison due to getting away with years of child abuse. A brash, arrogant character, King like Savile regarded himself as untouchable. Since Savilegate broke other BBC presenters and entertainers like Freddie Starr, John Peel and Dave Lee Travis have been dragged into the melee, especially as Savile’s collusion in child abuse with Gary Glitter has been revealed.So the BBC has more secrets within it’s dark walls than the secrets it makes upon others .

If we compare the lives of Savile and Sathya Sai Baba it makes an interesting contrast. The former used his fake concern for the vulnerable to gain aristocratic status in the BBC so that he could rape and abuse at random. He was the BBC’s original superstar so much so that it was blasphemous to speak ill of him in the suffocating totalitarian environment. Then there is Sathya Sai Baba who with scant recognition from the BBC has provided fresh water to some of India’s poorest villages as well as high-tech medical care and first class education to poverty stricken millions for decades and his followers continue his social work programmes across the country and abroad. Notice the contrast ?.

Where the allegations of child abuse against Sathya Sai Baba have been unsubstantiated and even retracted, the BBC continues to recycle the old hatred. Yet the very person the BBC promoted as a selfless worker for charity has turned out to have been a serial sex pest who molested and raped for decades with the full knowledge of the BBC.

When Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, speaks of rebuilding confidence with the public, he should perhaps start with this basic anomaly and set the record straight on Sathya Sai Baba and help end to all other Hindu Bashing that the BBC continues to indulge in because it doesn’t look good on the image of the UK when we have British ministers traveling to India hoping to boost trade but at the same time its own media is busy looking at the ‘Hindoo’ through a colonial lens in a country that is a ‘Hindu’ majority.Or like some believers would say after seeing the events with the BBC, that Karma has a good way to catch up sooner or later.

About The Author

Ranbir Singh : Writer and lecturer, HHR chairman : BA (Honours) History, MA History from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London : , Have lectured previously at De Montfort University, London School of Economics, Contributor to various political and human rights discussion outfits.


  1. Krishna Vatsa December 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    The BBC has been anti-Hindu in its content and intent because the Hindus have not pressurized the BBC to mend its ways. It is not because of Hindu tolerance but because of Hindu indifference. The Hindu community shoul be aware of and proactive about how it is being portrayed in the media.

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