I am concerned about the trend of using the symbols of Hinduism inappropriately and disrespectfully. Previously, Goddess Lakshmi was printed on a swim suit and a Sydney-based radio host made some adverse comments about the beliefs of followers of Hinduism, who consider River Ganges as sacred. Both these matters were tackled and remedied with withdrawal of the offensive actions and an apology.
With this background, I find it very disappointing that Back To Back Theatre, in collaboration with Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, is doing a play “Ganesh and the third Reich” in Melbourne Festival on 29th Sept, 2011. This play is going to use Lord Ganesha as matter for comedy and laughter.
<<<Swsatka >>>>Nazi swastika
Lord Ganesha does not need to go to Germany to deal “one to one” with Hitler! Nazi swastika is a corrupted form of the Hindu swastika and had no similarity with the original swastika which meant “Good luck”, unlike what Hitler was using it for. Nazi swastika was a sign of hatred and evil. Nazi variety has crosses at a 45 degree angle while the original one has horizontal and vertical arms with 4 dots.
One of most widely worshipped deities in Hinduism, Lord Ganesha, is regarded as god of wisdom, good luck and destroyer of obstacles, and is invoked at the beginning of businesses, projects and undertakings. Hinduism is a tolerant religion and respects other religions. It is one of the oldest religions and has been around for more than 5000 years. It is also the third largest religion of the world with more than one billion followers.
I believe that People need to be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of other people. Using Lord Ganesha in this manner is inappropriate and will be offensive to many followers of Hinduism.
Depiction of Lord Ganesha in this manner is going to become an Issue in India and among Indians, and is likely to create a controversy between India and Australia, which is unnecessary.
Further more, agencies which receive public funding in Australia, can’t be associating with any action, commentary, documentary or play, which lampoons the beliefs, deities or feelings of people from any religion.
I urge Melbourne Festival, Arts Victoria, Tourism Victoria, and City of Melbourne to consider the hurt, which people might experience from such parody of one of the most revered deities of Hinduism, and act with sensitivity.
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/19th Sept, 2011