Hindus are disturbed over distortion of Hinduism concepts and symbols in the “Kali Yuga” episode 14 of Fox’s supernatural Emmy nominated television series show “Sleepy Hollow”, which was aired on January 26 night.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, described it as highly inappropriate portrayal of Hindu goddess Kali and urged public apologies from all those responsible for it, including “21st Century Fox” Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Fox Television Group Chairman Gary Newman, and creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV shows. Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.
Rajan Zed noted that in the show, Vetala (a demonic spirit) was depicted as a demon servant of goddess Kali, while in Hindu beliefs, goddess Kali and Vetala were not connected at all. The episode also showed a goddess Kali statue being used trying to turn a man into a demon, which was unheard of in mainstream Hinduism. It just seemed to be blatant twisting of the facts aimed at ratings and mercantile greed and maligning Hinduism in the process, Zed said.
Such trivialization of goddess Kali was offensive to Hindus world over; Zed indicated and urged Fox to add a disclaimer to the show and not to inappropriately and unnecessarily drag Hindu deities to advance the commercial or other agenda in the future. Fox should also add basics of Hinduism to the disclaimer, Zed added.
Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Television, being a very effective medium, should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed argued.
Hindus welcomed Hollywood and other entertainment industries to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed further said that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added that if Hollywood or other entertainment executives needed any assistance about Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
In its second season, “Sleepy Hollow” (starring Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie) is a supernatural television series premiered in 2013 which airs on Mondays and besides USA, it is also broadcast in many other countries.
Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox Networks are units of New York headquartered “21st Century Fox”, which claims itself to be “world’s premier portfolio of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets spanning six continents” and reaching over 1.8 billion subscribers in about 50 languages daily.