, US, are up in arms against the portrayal of Lord Ganesh in a sex act on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL), titled “The Wrath of Ganesh”, in which Jim Carrey (remember ‘The Mask’?) is part of the offensive skit. (Times of Nevada - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/news/Hindus-upset-with-Jim-Carrey-NBC/articleshow/7303312.cms) India
The outcry is not unexpected just as it is not for the first time. Earlier, we have had Ram-Sita on underwear, other gods on slippers, etc. The Western world has a penchant to shock and titillate none but themselves. The desire to shock and court controversy is inherent in many, and if one can use the sacred in that, then eye-balls are guaranteed. Should we worry?
The Western world has always been obsessed with Ganesha and has forwarded numerous theories about the sexual connotations of the trunk. Ganesha, Shiva, Kali, etc. are some of the favourite with a group of Indologists who have worked very hard to give theories which display their own depravity and short-sightedness and their inability to see the inherent symbolism, which is so poetic.
Democracy, they say is a funny animal. Allow and you can go berserk, stop and you can be accused of stifling creativity. Ban, is a bad word and in the name of creativity and alternate studies, one can get away theorising whatever you want to. As if Democracy was not enough, you now have Internet, to transmit anything that you want to, to scores of unknown viewers and readers. That such media and ideology adds to ones sense of responsibility is lost out on majority of the people.
Should we object? Yes and No.
Yes, by objecting we make a statement that such acts cannot be tolerated as the matter is sacred. Yes, because, not objecting to it could be seen as an act of meekness and could lead to more trouble and further acts of such profanity. Yes, for lack of objection, we might allow the perpetrators of ‘intellectual terrorism’, to take us hostage. Yes, because, by such objections, we can try to educate them and help them see the light of the day. Yes, thru the objections, we can show them the true symbolism behind such gods and their mythical acts.
No, because such profanities do not lead to any major damage as our cultural foundations are stronger. No, because, Hinduism, is not a religion, it is a way of life and every facet is so ingrained in each and every practitioner of this ‘way of life’ that such comments are nothing more than a small speck of dust on an elephant’s back. No, because, prior to this many an Indologist, has tried to ‘re-interpret’ our pantheon, but have not managed to do much damage. No, because it brings out the depravity in such comments of the speaker, and if s/he wants to bask in the glory of one’s stupidity, it should not be our problem. No, a pre-occupation with the Indian mystic, but inability to comprehend is understandable!
Whichever way one looks at it, such acts should not bother anyone beyond a point. However, it still does call for a vote of thanks to Rajan Zed who is leading the protest for a public apology. According to Zed – “Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects on TV series for mercantile greed.” (as reported in Times of India dt. 18/01/11).