Both the BBC News website and The Times newspaper published articles relating to the Rozabal tomb in Kashmir during the Easter period. How balanced and fair was the analysis by these two media giants of the UK and what important details did they leave out all together?
This Easter there have been two articles published in the mainstream UK media detailing the Rozabal Tomb in Kashmir and the belief that this is the tomb of Jesus. Neither article has been very positive about the belief, nor presented even a fraction of the supporting evidence for the theory. The BBC article in particular contains several negative comments and suggestions about the theory, where as The Times articles is more objective.
Firstly it should be said that it is a huge triumph for the supporters of the Jesus in India theory that these stories appeared this year. The research around the tomb has been gaining more momentum over the past 10 years and there have been a number of recent books and documentaries. This information is starting to spread far wider than it has before. The BBC news article was entitled 'Tourists flock to Jesus' tomb in Kashmir' - a very interesting idea and observation.
Is this theory related to tourism and the economy? When we look at when these traditions were actually first documented and talked about we see that the idea of the Rozabal being the Tomb of Jesus dates back many centuries. This website contains document that date back many years giving details about the tomb and it's special position.
1st Century Source?
The most interesting of documents on the website, The Bahavishya Mahapurana, documents a figure known as 'Isa-Masih' teaching and preaching a 'religion of love' in the Kashmir area around 100AD. This figure said he was born of a Virgin, that he was called the Son of God, that he fled persecution from a foreign land and came to minister to the people of Kashmir. Was this actually Jesus? The description seems to fit, yet neither of the newspaper articles say anything about this source, but instead make it sound like the theory is a recent invention.
Is Yus Asaf the same person as Jesus?
Neither article really gets in to the identity of Yus Asaf and why people believe him to be Jesus. They do not highlight that:
1. The grave is in the Jewish direction of East-West facing
2. There are carved foot prints next to the tomb showing what appear to be Crucifixion scars
3. There was an inscription at a local Temple that in the year 54AD Yus Asaf claimed to be Jesus, the Prophet of the Israel
4. Kashmir contains tribes that call themselves 'Bani Israel' and claim to be descendants from the Lost Tribes of Israel
5. Yus Asaf was a local preacher and healer who taught in parabels, including one about a 'sower of seeds'
Who Believes in the Theory
According to the BBC news article the list of people who support this theory are restricted to a specific subset of people, as follows:
"..according to an eclectic combination of New Age Christians, unorthodox Muslims and fans of the Da Vinci Code, the grave contains the mortal remains of a candidate for the most important visitor of all time to India."
Yet a simple look at the list of researchers and scholars listed at this website, who have contributed to the theory over time, will show they span the religious and social geographic spectrum. Why are people with such different beliefs in agreement about something like this?
There is no reference in either article that since 2001 there have been three major documentaries covering this theory and that Hollywood plans a film on the topic also, based upon another source (again, not mentioned in either articles) The Aquarian Gospel.
Once more I repeat my happiness that two major newspapers have given good coverage to the Kashmir tomb this year, complete with bold colour photographs, I just hope and pray that subsequent news coverage will present a bit more depth. The media coverage will definitely increase people's awareness of the subject and I hope many are being brought to the website and theory for the first time following these two pieces.