CLAIM: A Facebook post claims Indians are throwing away their gods to follow Christ because the deities cannot save them from Covid-19.
VERDICT: The video is dated and has nothing to do with Covid-19. It shows a ritual that is undertaken yearly by Hindus in India.
A section of the Christian community on Facebook is jubilating following a claim on the page Christian Vibes Gh. that Indians are discarding their gods to become Christians.
“Indians are throwing their gods to their river because they cannot save them from #COVID!( they are now ready to accept the salvation of JESUS CHRIST as Lord and Saviour. Praise be to God,” the Facebook post reads.
With 4.7K shares on the social media platform, the majority of the 896 comments on the post shows Christians praising Jesus for the “conversion”. A user even provided a list of some of the gods claimed to have been thrown into the river as “Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Lord Shiva the destroyer, avatars, Lakshmi and many others”.
The video in question is, first of all, not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2015, this same video was posted on Facebook – evidence that it is not a recent video. India’s first case of the coronavirus was reported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 30th January 2020, not in 2015 when the video was posted on Facebook.
The post at the time spoke about a yearly celebration all over India where “Lord Ganesh” idols are immersed in water after the festival.
Another post on Facebook, shared in September 2015 with the same video, suggests that the incident seen in the video took place at River Krishna.
“Don’t share, Like. It is located on the River Krishna in the Telangana state off NH 44 Mehboobnagar district…”
Dubawa found leads in the comments section about the possibility of the video being from a Hindu festival in India.
Our search for Hindu festivals that involve the immersion of idols showed the truth about the periodic immersion of icons of the gods in water. A YouTube video posted on September 29th, 2015 supports this claim. According to the text attached to the video, the video showed how civic authorities wrongfully immersed Lord Ganpati idols in a river in Mumbai.
“A wrong way of Ganapati Visarjan”.
We found that Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is a yearly 10-day festival celebrated in India, usually by Hindus in the months of August or September. On the last day of the festival, the immersion of religious icons takes place. According to the history of the festival, immersing idols into the river enables the god to return to its parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
A report by reuters.com in 2007 reveals that the immersion of idols into water is a long-standing tradition. Therefore, it is not at all related to the coronavirus pandemic. The report suggests rivers have been choked as a result of this tradition of immersing idols in water bodies, leading to environmental issues.
Either way, it is clear that the video has nothing to do with Indians converting to Christianity and discarding their gods because of COVID-19.
Indians are not becoming Christians because they believe that their gods cannot save them from the COVID-19 pandemic. The immersion of the statues is part of a festival celebration done by Hindus as a ritual of renewal.