Fact Check: Gayatri Mantra at Pak PM’s swearing-in? No, this 2017 clip is from a Holi event in Karachi

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After a contentious election, amid allegations of fraud, Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) became the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the second time on March 4.

In its aftermath, a video of a woman reciting the ‘Gayatri Mantra’, a Hindu holy chant, was widely shared, with many claiming that this was from the Pakistani PM’s swearing-in ceremony. In the video’s backdrop, a poster of Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was visible.

A Facebook user wrote while sharing the video: “Pakistan prime minister’s swearing-in ceremony starting with ‘Gayatri Maha Mantra’ by Smt. Naroda Malini sahiba. Now Pakistan has officially recognised the importance & it’s recited in all functions.” The archive of this post can be seen here.

India Today Fact Check found that the viral video is not from the Pakistani PM’s swearing-in ceremony. It is from a 2017 Holi celebration where then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was present.

OUR PROBE

We reverse-searched keyframes from the viral video and found the clip shared on X on March 18, 2017, which read, “Hindu Girl recites highly revered Universal Gayatri Mantra in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Holi Celebrations in Pakistan”. Its archive can be seen here.

Nawaz Sharif could be seen in both clips, clapping as the Gayatri Mantra recitation ends. This made it clear that the video is not recent but at least seven years old.

Using this information, we searched with relevant keywords and found a news report in Pakistan’s Dunya News, in which Nawaz Sharif could be seen attending the same event as the viral video. In the video there we observed the Jinnah poster seen in the viral video. It said: “Happy Holi. Warm Welcome to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (Prime Minister of Pakistan)”.

According to this report, the event took place on March 14, 2017, in Karachi, on the Hindu occasion of Holi. Nawaz Sharif had joined the festivities.

To further corroborate the facts, we contacted the singer Narodha Malni, whose name was mentioned in the viral post, who also introduced herself in the viral clip. Her official Facebook page, which features multiple videos of her performances, mentions that she lives in Karachi, Pakistan.

Speaking to India Today, the singer recalled her performance from 2017 when she recited Gayatri Mantra in front of Nawaz Sharif. Talking about the viral claim, Malni said, “The viral claim is fake news and it is an old video from 2017”.

Malni had previously spoken to the BBC about her Gayatri Mantra performance in a 2017 interview. As per a Dawn report, Nawaz Sharif spoke at the Holi event and said about Pakistan’s Hindu community, “A very Happy Holi to everyone. Two years ago, I became yours and you all became mine and today our bond has become even more stronger”.

It is thus clear that this video doesn’t show the Gayatri Mantra being recited at the swearing-in ceremony of the Pakistan Prime Minister.

Published By:

Sahil Sinha

Published On:

Mar 14, 2024



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