A six-year-old photo showing Muslim scholars engrossed in reading while a copy of Atharvaveda - one of the four Vedas - lies in foreground is being shared on social media with a caption falsely claiming that Muslims are 'rewriting' Hindu scriptures.
BOOM found that the photograph is from Al Mahadul Aali Al Islami seminary in Hyderabad, Telangana. We contacted the deputy director of the seminary who rubbished the viral claims and said that this was a part of religious studies at the seminary.
The viral post shares a picture of, what seems like, a library. Men wearing skull caps can be seen reading or writing.
A Hindi caption with the post translates to 'Pay attention, what is happening in our country. The adulteration of our religious texts is going on in full swing. After 20 years, coming generations will read these adulterated Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads wherein it would be written that character building is a useless thing. Brahmacharya is a useless topic. There is no such thing as religion and unrighteousness. Policies of Charvaka are extremely beneficial, there is nothing as ethics. You will get all misinformation in pure Sanskrit. It will be done in the same as Macaulay and Max Mueller contaminated our Manusmriti etc'.
(Hindi: देखो और ध्यान दो और क्या हो रहा है हमारे देश में हमारे धर्म ग्रंथों में मिलावट करने का कार्य जोरों से चल रहा है,,,,आने वाली 20 साल बाद हमारी अगली पीढ़ियां ये #मिलावटी वेद ,पुराण , उपनिषद पढ़ेंगे। ,,,जिसमें लिखा होगा चरित्र निर्माण बेकार की बात है | ब्रह्मचर्य एकदम फालतू जैसा टॉपिक है । धर्म और अधर्म जैसी कोई चीज नहीं । चार्वाक जैसी नीतियां अत्यंत लाभकारी है ,,,संस्कार जैसी कोई चीज नहीं होती । आदि आदि फालतू बातें मिलेंगी ,,,,यह सब बाकायदा अच्छी और सुद्रढ संस्कृत में मिलेंगी | बिल्कुल उसी प्रकार जिस प्रकार मैकाले और मैक्स मूलर ने हमारी मनुस्मृति आदि को मिलावट करके दूषित किया)
The post is also viral on Twitter with the same narrative.
देखो और ध्यान दो और क्या हो रहा है हमारे देश में 🤔🤨— प• रामेन्द्र शर्मा🇮🇳 (@RaamendraSharm3) July 22, 2020
हमारे धर्म ग्रंथों में मिलावट करने का कार्य जोरों से चल रहा है 🙄
आने वाली 20 साल बाद हमारी अगली पीढ़ियां ये #मिलावटी वेद ,पुराण , उपनिषद पढ़ेंगे
और बोलेंगे की👇
धर्म और अधर्म जैसी कोई चीज नहीं#हिन्दू_विरोधी_गतिविधियाँ pic.twitter.com/7lX2nN1FEB
देखो और ध्यान दो और क्या हो रहा है हमारे देश में 🤔🤨🤨🤨🤨🤨हमारे धर्म ग्रंथों में मिलावट करने का कार्य जोरों से चल रहा है,,,, 🙄🙄🙄— Rï†wïk §ïñgh ।धर्मार्थम् हिंसा परमो धर्मः। (@RAJPOOT_HUNK) July 21, 2020
आने वाली 20 साल बाद हमारी अगली पीढ़ियां ये #मिलावटी वेद ,पुराण , उपनिषद पढ़ेंगे। ,,,
जिसमें लिखा होगा चरित्र निर्माण बेकार की बात है🦹 pic.twitter.com/ZJk8zxfC7C
BOOM ran a reverse image search on the viral picture and found an old article titled 'Best of both worlds' published by The Hindu in 2014 carrying the same photograph.
A caption with the picture shared in the article reads 'Students at Al Mahadul Aali Al Islami studying the Vedas to understand the common attributes in Islam and Hinduism. This seminary has more than 1000 books on other religions at Hyderabad. PHOTO: G_RAMAKRISHNA'.
The article published on April 2, 2014 mentioned that the seminary is located in Hyderabad, Telangana.
According to the report, the seminary was going to impart Islamic as well as modern education to its students from the upcoming academic year.
BOOM also contacted the deputy director of the Hyderabad-based seminary, Osman Abedeen, who rubbished the viral claims.
"The photograph was captured some six years ago and the scholars are reading in a library. I do not remember clearly, but the viral claims are absolutely baseless and nonsense," Abedeen told BOOM.
"We have a department 'Studies of Religion' under which we study religions in India - Christianity, and Judaism. It is the research methodology to consume information from the first source and not from second or third sources. For instance, misunderstanding among the communities has been created because people did not read the religious text as they are. Either they did not read or misinterpreted the texts. This method is wrong. The right method is to read from the first source. We are the first of a kind institute in India where we have Vedas, Upanishadas, Bhagwat Gita, Guru Granth Saheb, and Bible. We encourage our scholars and students to read original books to understand religion," Abedeen explained.
"We also had a teacher of Sanskrit," he said and added, "Vedas are not new, who can change Vedas? It is evident that a library is called complete when you have all the sources of a subject. We have nearly 1,500 books written by original writers," he said.
BOOM also contacted journalist JS Ifthekhar who had written the article.
Ifthekhar said that the photo was taken in the seminary's library which had books from many religions including Hinduism and Sikhism. "It's kind of a course in comparative religious studies," Ifthekhar told BOOM.
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