Hindus are upset at depiction of Hindu gods in Vancouver (Canada) photographer’s recently premiered photo project “Gods of Suburbia”, calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, was highly critical of Dina Goldstein’s photo project for trivializing the highly revered deities of Hinduism, Ganesh and Lakshmi.
In this photo project, Ganesh is shown sitting on a bench in Fairview Elementary and apparently being bullied by kids. Lakshmi is seen struggling in the kitchen with a snake slithering towards her.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Ganesh and Lakshmi and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and it was not appropriate to unnecessarily drag them around to push your personal interests.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it were painful for the devotees. Artists should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.
Zed further said that Hindus welcomed art world to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. Distorting of Ganesh and Lakshmi was highly slighting of ancient Hindu traditions.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered, Rajan Zed noted.
In Hinduism, Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and beauty and is also known as ‘world-mother’. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.
“Gods of Suburbia” is award-winning photographer Dina Goldstein’s third large-scale project, who lives in Vancouver, and her work is exhibited in galleries and museums internationally.