By Kishan Bhatt
As many of you know – the BBC Spooks Television show has portrayed the Hindu community in a derogatory manner. After taking into consideration a variety of opinions from NatCom we have decided that I will provide a letter – this can be sent from all of you on your individual’s behalf and not from the behalf of National Hindu Students Forum. As a result I have put together a letter – please see the letter as attached and as pasted below after the end of this email.
Why did we decide to take action?
It was defamatory to the organisations mentioned – if it was a fictional storyline they could have used fictional organisations rather than mentioning some of the most resepcted organisations that have helped built the foundations of the Hindu community. The facts they mentioned were inaccurate and incorrect – including references to Godse and sanskrit text.
Following the success of the Hindu Times conference I hope that NatCom are well aware of the common myths and misconceptions of the Hindu faith and how easy it can be for organisations such as the BBC to display such misconceptions without adequate or sufficient research. As students entering into the new generation of Hindu leadership I urge all of you to stand up and serve to protect and preserve your Hindu dharma during such a time – because we should be united together on these important issues and this is regardless if you agree or disagree – I leave the sending of this letter in your hands…
Where to send this letter? – To send by post and by email (both are important)
To send by post to: BBC Complaints, PO Box 1922, Glasgow, G2 3WT
To send by email to: https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/
Complete the above form – and paste the letter below – It is highly advisable to use this letter as a template to begin with as it is carefully constructed – by all means use all the facts – but it is recommended to change and alter the style to send a compalint from you to avoid similar letters being sent – having said that – the very fact that you as an individual will send this letter off means that this is an extra number (it is all about increasing numbers – like a petition)…Please ensure you change the bottom signature.
RE: BBC 2 Spooks Programme Series 8, Episode 7, screened on 16th December 2009 – Complaint over negative depiction of the Hindu Community
I am writing to declare an official complaint about the negative depiction of the Hindu community and the inaccurate, unnecessary and unwarranted portrayal of the Hindu faith. I write this complaint fully acknowledging the freedom and the right that the show has to display artistic fiction for entertainment purposes. I also write with the full knowledge of our rights as audiences to provide constructive complaints as guaranteed by the BBC Trust and as provided for under the Editorial Complaints Unit Rulings. I write with regret and great disappointment that the BBC has chosen to specifically target the Hindu community in a derogatory and unwarranted manner. I have several reasons for why the BBC must immediately declare a public apology for their actions and justify their reasons if there is a suitable reason for such a justification, bearing in mind a full acknowledgment that the Hindu community have been offended.
Firstly, an inaccurate reference to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and British Hindus had duly been made in Series 8 Episode 6. The VHP is a respectable Hindu organisation and with others form the foundations of a respectable and affluent Hindu community around the world. It has been responsible for uniting the Hindu faith to work on common values such as charity, community cohesion, ahimsa (non-violence) and peace and to develop a strong minded youth that learn and educate themselves within the Hindu faith to help improve the community and the world around them. VHP-UK is a UK registered Charity with a focus on social service and on providing religious education on Hindu Dharma, working under the strict guidelines of the Charity Commission of the UK.
The organisations have constantly attempted to work with other faiths to help improve relations. A lot of the youth are angered and disappointed at the show and will ultimately be asking questions. I do not think that the BBC realise the power that fictitious storylines can create on people. Many will be ready to believe what the programme is telling them, especially if it is from a respectable organisation such as the BBC, thus slurring and maligning the good name of these organisations, influencing falsely the thinking of your viewers. Misconceptions by the media is a problem we already face as British Hindus.
The Hindu Times Conference recently hosted by the National Hindu Students Forum (UK) sought to tackle the misconceptions and myths of the Hindu community that the BBC has evidently displayed. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg all endorsed the conference by video and by letter. By video Tony Blair referred to the tackling of these misconceptions and the contributions that the Hindu community have made to Britain. He even went further to mention Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakama, the Hindu dharmic belief that the whole world is one family. If the BBC are to put everything right after the display shown on the BBC Spooks show I urge them to collaborate with the National Hindu Students Forum (UK) to show these videos and do a documentary on the conference they held.
I would like the BBC to think about the consequences of portraying the British Hindu community inaccurately and in a derogatory manner. Whilst the Hindu faith relies greatly on the universal values of peace, independence, and free will – it is also a faith widely respected and intolerant of extremities such as terrorism or indeed any other criminal activity that of course go against the fundamental laws of karma. The portrayal of Hindus acting in such a way despite significant contributions to Britain (is a disservice to British Hindus) by the BBC when deciding to use this as a storyline. It creates a negative depiction that can potentially cause an unnecessary stir between the Hindu and Islamic communities and as the show attracts the attention of the youth it is clear that the show can be misinterpreted and result in conflict between the two communities. It is with great disappointment to see that while the Hindu and Muslim communities are working hard to unite in peace and cohesion – it is the BBC, the most respected and official British television channel that has sought to bring up an unnecessary storyline which may regrettably seek to bring up questions and issues between our two communities again.
Thirdly, the confusion and misinterpretation that the show has created on Sanskrit is laughable to the point that it is hurtful and unnecessary. Sanskrit is the ancient language meaning perfect language and is recently endorsed by a British school to use it for all subjects within the ancient learning of Devanagri – the best way to learn some subjects such as Mathematics. Sanskrit scholars can provide with ease precise meanings to interpretation rather than confused ones such as which the show attempts to create. One of BBCs major aims in their recent proposals has been to educate their audiences properly and in a reliable and precise manner – they have failed to do this in their show on a number of levels. We strongly urge the BBC to consult a great number of reliable Hindu organisations that are available to them such as VHP, HSS, Hindu Council (UK), the Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies, the Hindu Forums of Britain or the National Hindu Students Forum (UK) if they are unsure on any aspects of the Hindu community or the Hindu faith before using it to cause offence. I am sure that we can all work together to create the best outcome.
There has also been an unfortunate reference to Nathuram Godse and his association with the organisations mentioned. Firstly, it was unnecessary to mention this figure without reasonably justifying the man as someone inherently opposing the beliefs as grounded within the Hindu faith. Godses actions were put forth by his own accord and his actions have never been supported by any Hindu organisation in the past or even in the present.
The BBC have found themselves to be conveniently fortunate in displaying the Hindu faith in such a manner as it will not create warranted outbursts against the BBCs actions as by our nature we are ready to listen, ready to talk and as always ready to improve relations for the better not the worse. However, whilst this is the case we shall all await for what action you will be ready to take for the misguided representation and portrayal of the Hindu community on the Spooks show. I certainly hope it is one that is sufficient, appropriate and communicated well to the public so there are no longer any misinterpretations of the Hindu faith and so all are educated correctly and with preciseness.
[YOUR NAME HERE]