Twitter post falsely claimed the Urdu words on the map depicted ‘Islamic Republic of Nepal’

On September 3, 2022, Apil Gurung, a Twitter user (@apligrg), shared a map of Nepal with Urdu captions on his timeline. The text accompanying the map purportedly read:  ‘Islamic Republic of Nepal’. It was followed by another sentence: “Only a few years away from coming to your doorstep.” 

The post linked the Urdu words on the map to Islam and suggested that an “Islamic Republic of Nepal” would turn into a reality in a few years. 

Gurung also shared the post on his Facebook account, which has 335 followers. A Facebook page called Hindutva Nepal, with 1,600 followers, re-shared Gurung’s post along with multiple other Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Nepal Check fact-checked the map, which includes the names of the country’s provinces and districts in the Urdu language. Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, is also spoken in other South Asian countries, including India and Nepal.

To fact-check the text, we consulted a native speaker of the language. Pakistani journalist Lubna Jerar translated the names of the provinces into English. She couldn’t translate the names of the districts on the map as the letters were too small to read. She, however, translated the words outside the map.

Pakistani journalist Lubna Jerar translated the names of the provinces into English.

Nepal Check also sought help from Shamshad Ahmad, a Muslim rights activist. He connected us with Mahmud Jalil Qasmi, a graphic designer from Mahottari district, the man behind the map. Qasmi told us that he produced the map with Urdu captions several years ago. The 40-year-old said he had prepared the design as an educational material for Urdu speakers. “People from the Muslim community, who speak Urdu, may not know the names of the districts and provinces. So I made it to help them,” he told Nepal Check. “But I never thought it would be used to mislead people [on social media].” 

He told us that he first produced a map with the names of districts in Urdu in 2002 and updated it after Nepal released the new federal map. Qasmi said the map circulating on social media was prepared two years ago. “This is my hobby. I made it to educate people,” he said. The viral map still identifies Lumbini Province as Province No. 5 and Madhesh Province as Province No. 2. Province No.5 was renamed in October 2020 and Province No. 2 in January 2022.

Contrary to the claims made by social media users, including Apil Gurung, the map doesn’t depict Nepal as an Islamic country or anything close to it.

The map of Nepal with an Urdu text aimed at raising awareness about the districts and provinces of the country was circulated by social media users with claims that it depicts the ‘Islamic Republic of Nepal’. The posts on Twitter and Facebook are misleading. The Urdu words identify the districts and provinces of Nepal.

A map of Nepal with the words in Urdu reads “Islamic Republic of Nepal”.Social media usersMisleading
Nepal Check verdict on social media posts that claimed the map shows “Islamic Republic of Nepal”.