Letter from GHHF to New York Times – A Diwali Gift to Hindu-Americans?

Deepavali is a celebration of Good over Evil and of Light over Darkness. But no victory is ever realized with a battle. So it is even more important to celebrate the battles and the valor of warriors who fight these battles to protect their motherland, Dharma and culture.

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier
lights a candle inside a bunker on the occasion of Diwali, at the
India-Bangladesh border on the outskirts of Agartala, October 26, 2011
Reuters/Jayanta Dey

Readers know that we have been waging a sustained campaign to identify, bring to light and fight against what we see as deep seated bias in the New York Times against “Hindu” Dharma and Indian culture. Our efforts have been both public via this Blog and private. Readers have rewarded our efforts with kind words of support. Now we are beginning to see an awakening among Indians in America & India and a determination to let the New York Times know how they feel.

On September 21, we published a letter to the New York Times from a reader in Mumbai in our article A Reader’s Letter to the New York Times about Anti-Hindu bias and …

This week, we received a copy of another letter to the New York Times from Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF). We include the letter below with the kind permission of GHHF.

We regard these two letters to the New York Times as evidence that Hindus are waking up to the need to combat the deep seated prejudice and bigotry we see in U.S. Media. Not only are Hindus waking up but they are beginning to fight with the best and most noble of weapons – Satya or Truth.

The Mundak UpaNiSad created the eternal and famous declaration:

  • Satyam Ev Jayate or Truth Alone Wins.

Mahatma Gandhi invoked this great declaration of Eternal Dharma in his just war against the physical slavery of British occupation. Our reader from Mumbai and GHHF are fighting the war against mental prejudice in the New York Times and much of U.S. Media.

We thank them for their gift to Hindu-Americans – their efforts to Take the New York Times from Darkness of Bias to the Light of Satya.

Letter from GHHF to the New York Times

Dear Sirs:

            “These men ask for just the same thing,
fairness and fairness only. This, as far as in my power, they, and all
others shall have.”
Abraham Lincoln

On behalf of Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF), we write this letter to express our dissatisfaction and displeasure regarding your article entitled, “Campaign for Prime Minister in India Gets Off to Violent Start
published in New York Times (NYT) on September 17, 2013. Many people
have expressed their outrage and disappointment over the content of the
article that is considered biased, prejudiced, unfair, and partial.  The
correspondent, Mr. Gardiner Harris has shown Muslim community as victim
in the hands of Hindus while questioning the integrity of the Hindu
community.  The correspondent seems to lack the historical perspective
of the atrocities Muslims have committed for over seven centuries
against Hindus, their Temples, their Deities, their riches, their women
and their children. If he had visited the sacred places such as Mathura,
Benares, Ayodhya, Somnath and other cities where the destruction numbs
the mind of any person of any faith, he would have a better grasp of the
history of these perpetual riots.   There are more than 2000 Hindu
temples converted to Mosques by using the Temple’s stones and Deities to
demonstrate their superiority. Suffice it to remember Will Durant, who
said “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.

It is worth remembering the core values of The New York Times published under “Company Policy and Ethics in Journalism.”  They are as follows:

a) “enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.”
b) “Content of the highest quality and integrity: This is the basis
for our reputation and the means by which we fulfill the public trust
and our customers’ expectations.”
c) “our goal is to cover the news impartially and to treat readers,
news sources, advertisers and all parts of our society fairly and
openly, and to be seen as doing so. The reputation of our company rests
upon that perception, and so do the professional reputations of its
staff members.”
d) “strives to maintain the highest standard of journalistic ethics.”
e) “protect the impartiality and neutrality of the company’s newsrooms and the integrity of their news reports.”
f) “In case of conflict, the policy with the higher standard shall apply.”
g) “Whatever the medium, we tell our audiences the complete,
unvarnished truth as best we can learn it. We correct our errors
explicitly as soon as we become aware of them…. We publish corrections
in a prominent and consistent location or broadcast time slot.”
h)  “it is essential that we preserve professional detachment, free of any hint of bias.”
Keeping these guidelines in mind, we want to point out some of
biases, partialities, and preferences toward one community, which we
feel may have compromised the Company’s high standards, high quality,
integrity, reputation, truth and professional detachment.

1) Title of your article is misleading

Your article title “Campaign for Prime Minister in India Gets Off to Violent Start
is not only misleading but it is maligning BJP, Mr. Modi, Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindus. Let us look at the implication of the
title. First of all, Congress Party has not yet announced its candidate
for Prime Minister.  Only BJP announced its candidate – that is Mr.
Modi. That means Congress Party has not yet started its campaign.

      When you say that Campaign gets off to a violent start, you
are implying that the BJP candidate MR. Modi’s campaign was responsible
for riots in Muzaffarnagar. That is totally false and biased. The title
of your article is illogical, ill intended, misleading and deceptive
only to create negative opinion about Mr. Modi’s campaign.

2) Time line does not match the title of the article – Campaign for Prime Minister in India Gets Off to Violent Start.

Muzaffarnagar riots, which took over 50 lives, started on August 27,
2013. However Mr. Modi was announced as BJP’s Prime Ministerial
Candidate on September 14, 2013. This announcement was made 19 days
after the riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar. That means the riots broke
out way before the announcement. How can you attribute the riots to the
announcement of the candidacy?  Do you mean that riots broke out way
ahead of time with the knowledge that Mr. Modi may be nominated as the
candidate of BJP?  Your title of the article would have been highly
appropriate if the riots were started after the candidacy of Mr. Modi
was announced. But that was not the case.

      What is the reason behind the title of the article?  What are you implying?

3) NYT is wrong in identifying the reason for riots.

     The article says that “…. mass rioting broke out last week
in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and politically important state,
after a legislator from Mr. Modi’s party circulated a fake video of two
Hindus being lynched by a Muslim mob.”

This is a biased and inaccurate reporting for the following:

a) On September 6,
it is reported that two Hindu girls were molested when they were
returning from college. These girls were being sexually
groped/brutalised en route almost daily by Shahnawaz Qureshi – a Muslim
of the same village.” (Atlasshrugs). NYT never mentioned about this
incident. One wonders why?
b) NYT never mentions the name of the legislator who belongs to Mr.
Modi’s Party. Why his name was not mentioned in the article. Is it
because you are trying to hide from the facts, or you wanted to foam
more tension in the community, which already became the victim of
religious tensions?
Is it ethical on the part of NYT to write up something that is not backed up by facts or evidence?

4) Your statement that Mr. Modi “is unapologetic Hindu Chauvinist
is against your philosophy, which states, “fundamental purpose is to
protect the impartiality and neutrality.” When you make statement like
that are you saying Mr. Modi should apologize for being a Hindu. Why
should he not be “unapologetic?” Why should he apologize for being a
Hindu? What do you mean by “chauvinist?” Are you implying that Mr. Modi
is a bigot, extremist? 

a) Do you also say that any body, who says that he is a Muslim, or he is a Christian, will be called “unapologetic Muslim chauvinist
or “unapologetic Christian chauvinist.”? Mr. Modi never said any think
like what Omar Abdulla said in 2009 in the Parliament: “I am a Muslim and I am an Indian, and I see no difference. “ Basically he is equating India and Muslims as one and the same.
b) Compare the above quote with Mr. Modi.  Asked whether the ‘real Modi’ was a Hindu nationalist leader he said, I’m
nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I’m a born Hindu. Nothing
is wrong. So, I’m a Hindu nationalist so yes, you can say I’m a Hindu
nationalist because I’m a born Hindu.”

c) If Hindus are as chauvinistic as you seem to
imply, how come you don’t even find one Hindu country? India is a
SECULAR country, not a Hindu country. Compare this with approximately 57
member states whose Islamic interests are espoused by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. 
d) As you all know that the Hindu population is
dwindled to negligible numbers (less than one percent) from about 18
percent at the time of Independence in 1947 in Pakistan and less than 6
percent from over 25 percent in Bangladesh since it’s Independence. Are
the Hindus chauvinistic?          

5) Hindu Nationalist Party Benefited from Violence?

You observed, “critics also say he and his Hindu nationalist
party have benefited from past violence between Hindus and Muslims,
using it to paper over Hindus’ historic differences over caste and get
them to vote as a bloc along religious lines

NYT has become prisoner of Congress Party mindset toward vote bank
politics.  What evidence do you have to say that Hindu party benefited
from the violence? If you look at the elections over the years, more
than 90 percent of Muslims voted for Congress party. If you look at
Hindus, majority of them voted for Congress. How can you make a
statement based on the perception of critics, who have no proof of
evidence?  Why NYT has not even looked at the facts of elections? 

6)Modi made anti-Muslim Slurs?

NYT stated that: “By choosing Mr. Modi, a fiery orator who once
peppered his speeches with anti-Muslim slurs, the Bharatiya Janata Party
has raised the prospect that this election could be the deadliest in

a) Can you identify Mr. Modi’s speeches that were peppered with anti-Muslim slurs?  
b) What makes you think that the elections would be deadliest? Are
you supporting and siding the views of Congress Party, who have vested
interest in destroying the country with corruption and tolerating the
terrorists? Are you also supporting the divide and rule policy of
Congress party for their failure to stop the Islamic terrorists and take
appropriate action against Pakistan, the country that exports terror to
c) It is sad to see that NYT is becoming a vehicle for fomenting fear among the readers.

7) Gujarat Riots in 2002   

Your statement that, “In 2002, less than a year after he was
appointed the state’s chief minister, riots swept Gujarat and killed
more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims
a) Do you know how the Gujarat riots started and who were the
culprits of this atrocious act? As you may know or may not know that the
rioting erupted after a group of unruly and hateful Muslims torched a
train carrying Ram sevaks in Godhra burning alive 58 people, mostly
women and children.
b) Do you think that nearly 21 percent of Muslims would vote for Mr.
Modi in 2012 elections, if they feel that he was responsible for the
b) Why did not the article even recognize it?

8) Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

NYT stated that RSS “espouses a muscular religious nationalism.
Indeed, a former member of the R.S.S. assassinated Mohandas K. Gandhi,
the nation’s founding father, in 1948

            a) Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) definitely espouses
nationalism. It means that they feel proud of their Indian heritage,
advocate patriotic duty of every citizen to protect their country from
outside forces, and encourages self-government with full loyalty.
            b) Mr. K T Thomas, a former Supreme Court Judge and a
practicing Christian observed that RSS has primary commitment to the
nation, not to any group.  He continued by saying that, “In this matter,
I very much admire. I am a great admirer of this organization I say the
smearing campaign must end in this country. Otherwise it will be really
unjust on the part of any one.” Please remember he had observed RSS for
more than 20 years before he expressed his admiration.
            c) When every body was playing dead and obeying the
Emergency declared by Mrs. Indira Gandhi and every body’s freedom was
trampled, the only organization that stood up to the Emergency was RSS.
Hence Justice Thomas said: “We owe very much to this organization for
sacrificing many lives and many of the pleasures of life for the purpose
of regaining what our leaders gained for this country, mainly the
fundamental rights of this country.”
            d) It is unfair and unethical to imply that former RSS
member was responsible for Mahtma Gandhi’s assassination. Justice
Khosla, who conducted the hearings in the court, completely exonerated
RSS as having anything to do with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Then why did NYT inject such hateful statement in the article?
            e) Would NYT say that since a Jewish person assassinated
Jesus Christ, that the whole Jewish Community is responsible for his
death? Do you identify the religion or membership of the assassins of
Dr. Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and others? 
            f) Is there an intention on the part of the journalist to flare up the animosity between the communities?

9)        NYT stated that Mr. Modi never apologized for the 2002 riots.

The question is what do we mean by apologize and who should
apologize?  Generally an apology is rendered by a person who expresses
regret for something that he has done wrong. Mr. Modi has done every
thing possible to contain the riots and took all necessary steps to see
that every citizen is protected. The highest court of the land, The
Supreme Court of India, absolved Mr. Modi of all the baseless charges
against him.

            When would NYT honor the judgment of Supreme Court, the
highest court in the land and stop being the sidekick of the Congress

10)     Why only Muslims were interviewed?

If we read the article it looks so bizarre that not a single Hindu
was interviewed. Why? Were there no Hindus living in Muzaffarnagar to be
contacted and interviewed? Did NYT find no Hindus to be interviewed? It
looked like a preplanned anti-Hindu article.

            According to 2011 Census, there are 49 percent Hindus
and 47 percent Muslims who live in the city. We are sure if the
correspondent wanted to be objective, impartial and present the article
in a fair manner, he could have interviewed and reported their
assessment of the magnitude and frequency of the riots. Unfortunately,
the correspondent failed the fairness test, which requires one to look
at both sides of the issue. The correspondent interviewed only Muslims
and failed to interview Hindu residents. He should have interviewed the
family of the girl who was molested and harassed by Muslims.

What do we request?

1) We request you to respond to each of the ten concerns expressed
in this email so that public trust is established and the long cherished
reputation of the newspaper is restored.
2) We request New York Times to apologize for highly slanted article
and accusing Modi and Hindus as the cause of Riots in Muzaffarnagar.  
3) We request New York Times to publish this article with all the
corrections removing all the biases and prejudices, following high
ethical standards and publish only unvarnished truths.
4)Assign journalists to India, who are equipped with historical
perspective of the country, and who can grasp and appreciate the
diversity and richness of the land.
The New York Times is known for its quality journalism, the high
standards it maintains, integrity of its correspondents, and balanced
coverage it upholds. It is also committed to enhance society by
providing accurate information. We sincerely request NYT take
appropriate action to publish all the corrections in a prominent place
in the newspaper.

If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you.


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