Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Newsweek Depiction of Obama as Lord Shiva Upsets Some Indian-Americans

Newsweek Depiction of Obama as Lord Shiva Upsets Some Indian-Americans

Newsweek put President Obama on its latest cover depicted in the image of the U.S. president as the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. This has pissed off some Indian Americans.

The Newsweek cover shows Obama with several arms carrying policy issues while balancing on one leg. The headline reads: "God of All Things" with a subtitle, "Why the Modern Presidency May be too Much for One Person to Handle."

Shiva, who is one of three pre-eminent gods in the Hindu religion along with Brahma and Vishnu, is considered the destroyer of the world, which must end, metaphorically speaking, in order to be reborn as a more universalistic place. However, the god's purpose is not to foretell an apocalyptic ending.

Shiva is often manifested as Lord Nataraja, who has multiple arms and balances on one leg, and is viewed as dancing in a representation of the rhythm and harmony of life.

Devote Hindus feel that Nataraja should be revered and meant to be worshipped, not indecorously thrown around. Zed, who is known for his work on interfaith dialogue, said it is not OK to use Hindu concepts and symbols for profit or self-serving purposes.

I don’t think Newsweek was being malicious or trying to offend Hindus. "Hinduism's sacred images are too often appropriated in popular culture without understanding their spiritual relevance to Hindus," Shukla, an attorney for a Hindu right organization said. "For Hindus, the iconography gives insight into the divine realm, and each aspect of representation is replete with profound symbolism that is lost and even debased by such attempts at humor."

Shukla, who noted that Hindu images are frequently used in media as caricatures because of a fundamental lack of understanding about the very complex religion, said it's impossible to retract the image since the magazine reached mailboxes on Friday. However, her organization will contact Newsweek on Monday.

Casually using images, or anything else, which is sacred to any peoples religion is ruse, at the very least. Newsweek really should have known better. In a world full of problems and hostility, why do some people insist on insulting others for no good or necessary reason?

A trained acrobat says his rights were violated when he was ticketed for riding his unicycle on a New York City sidewalk. Kyle Peterson says in a federal lawsuit that plainclothes officers pulled him over on a Brooklyn sidewalk at 3 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2007. The summons was promptly dismissed. But now Paterson is seeking $3 million in damages. City code prohibits bicycle riding on sidewalks. But the suit says the law only refers to a "two- or three-wheeled device."

On this day in history: William Buckley's Birthday (1925); Lee Harvey Oswald is shot to death by Jack Ruby (1963) and in 1989 the Communist Party resigns in Czechoslovakia)
My wife and I were eating in a restaurant the other day, when A fella walked up to me and through a prawn cocktail over me, I said what was that for, he replied, "thats just for starters"

Live Long and Prosper....

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