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News ->Hindus in religious uproar

(18 February 2006)

'Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure' by Sarah MacDonaldA new French comedy film that mocks Lord Shiva and an advertising campaign in Greece the depicts images of the Goddess Durga with an alcoholic beverage have Hindus from Britain in uproar about exploitation of their gods. In the past the Hindu community has been incensed by the way Hindu Deities - the pictures of Lord Krishna on shoes and Hindu deities on toilet seats - and Hinduism generally, have been depicted for commercial gain. Even travel book covers like 'Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure' by Sarah Macdonald (pictured) wobble on a fine line between paying homage and religious mockery.

Ramesh Kallidai, Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain, added: “These latest insensitive caricatures of Hindu gods demonstrate extreme intolerance and disregard of Hindu practices and the portrayal of such deities in any context other than the most reverential one is totally unacceptable."

Les Bronzes 3. Les Bronzes 3: Amis Pour La Vie (The Tanned 3, Friends Forever), which set record film ticket sales for an opening weekend in France and is the French equivalent of the Carry on films, shows the main characters in the film swearing, laughing and tearing up images of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being and is the third member of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.

Durga image used to promote Southern Comfort WhiskeyDioramas promoting Southern Comfort Whiskey in Greece depict the Goddess Durga - the multi-armed deity - carrying bottles of Southern Comfort. Two-dimensional wooden displays of the wife of Lord Shiva and a unified symbol of all divine forces were displayed both inside and outside of the Balon Oriental Disco Bar in Athens. However, following protests from Hindus, Brown-Forman owners of the Southern Comfort brand the company has withdrawn the offending images.

Sandhiya Patel, an Executive of the Hindu Forum of Britain, who spoke and wrote to Brown-Forman said: “I wrote to lodge my disgust at the use of the Goddess Durga, especially as it is against the practice of Hinduism to take any intoxication including alcohol. Therefore to depict a Hindu Goddess holding bottles of alcohol is extremely offensive. The fact that the company has removed the images shows that voicing our opinions can make a different, it’s just a shame that businesses don’t do their research before implementing such campaigns.”

The Goddess Durga protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego and the weapons in the hands of Durga such as a conch, mace, sword, disc, arrow, and trident convey the idea that one weapon cannot destroy all different kinds of enemies. Different weapons must be used to fight enemies depending upon the circumstances, for example, selfishness must be destroyed by detachment, jealousy by desirelessness, prejudice by self-knowledge, and ego by discrimination.

Ramesh Kallidai, added: “ The Hindu Goddess holding bottles of alcohol is and the lack of respect shown to Hindus most sacred deities most extremely offensive and blasphemous.

“And to mock the worship of the Hindu religion, as this French film does, does little to increase understanding our different cultures or even help all communities to live together in an harmonious way, so I would urge people to write to Warner Brothers, who are distributing this film, to complain about this blatant exploitation of the Hindus most revered prophet.”

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees and images of Shiva are venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks of Lord Shiva are numerous, he cannot be symbolised in one form.

Those wishing to complain about the film should write to Warner Bros. Distributors Limited, Warner House, 98 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8WB United Kingdom. Or email:


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