OpIndia staff writer shares  an incident where Hindu deities are being subject to insult and denigration under the guise of “artistic freedom.”
In a play entitled ‘Hindu Times,’ to be shown August 20-21 at the Edinburgh International Festival, many Hindu deities have been reduced to mundane, earthly characters with modern-day vices, including crass language & propensity towards debauchery, stripped of any redeeming or sacred attributes. The creators feel absolved of any transgressions because of the convenient banner of artistic freedom typically waved at such events. Despite the outreach by the Hindu community to express their hurt and dismay, the festival organizers continue with their plans to host the play.
Not surprisingly, none of the other faith groups – Muslims, Christians, Jews – have been singled out for such an outrage at the event that aims to promote the beauty of the performing arts across diverse cultures.
Here’s a brief summary of the OpIndia article:
- Hindus in the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed strong objections to the play ‘Hindu Times’ scheduled to be hosted at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) in Scotland.
- The play, authored by Scottish Indian playwright Jaimini Jethwa and directed by Caitlin Skinner, has been criticized for its mockery of Hindu religious beliefs and its portrayal of revered deities like Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Lakshmi in a negative light.
- Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has called out EIF for sacrilege and ridiculing the Hindu community. He demanded an apology from EIF for the play’s inappropriate content.
- Zed also urged EIF to provide cultural sensitivity training to its executives and re-evaluate their systems and procedures for selecting plays like ‘Hindu Times.’ He called on EIF’s partners and funders, including the British Council, Scottish Government, and UK government, to reconsider their association with EIF.
- While supporting artistic freedom, Zed emphasized that sacrilegious depictions hurt the sentiments of Hindus and create false impressions about the religion among non-Hindus.
- A review by The Guardian highlighted the objectionable portrayal of Hindu deities in the play, describing them as street-smart hedonists in a party-like setting.
- The play has sparked anger among the global Hindu community, with demands for EIF to withdraw the production due to derogatory content and depictions.