Hindu festivals, rituals and gods have quite recently been the target of mockery, fearmongering and hatred by the so-called ‘secular liberal’ intellectuals of India. When blatant disregard and insult and mockery do not work, liberals proceed to stoke the ‘guilty Hindu’ psyche. They try to project Hindu festivals and rituals as something to be ashamed of. Diwali becomes the sole cause of air pollution and swimming pool loving liberals become suddenly conscious of water wastage on Holi. Rakhi, Karwa Chauth and Bhai Dooj are the symbols of patriarchy and Jallikattu becomes atrocity against animals for boastful beef-eaters.
Recently, we witnessed how the sudden popularity of the ‘Rudra Hanuman’ image by Karnataka based artist Karan Acharya had pushed liberals into a frenzy. There were tweets, posts even editorial pieces on how the ‘Angry Hanuman’ image is a symbol of militarised Hinduism and it was even accused of spreading hatred and causing communal discord.
Recently Ganesh Utsav was celebrated with much vigour and enthusiasm all across the country. Incredible as it may sound but certain individuals have found excuses to spread subtle Hinduphobia over Lord Ganesha too. Journalist Anindita Ghose shared an image of an idol of Lord Ganesha riding a tiger and wearing tiger skin. She named it the ‘militant Ganesha’.
Riding a tiger, wearing tiger skin. I do not recognise this militant Ganesha at all. pic.twitter.com/2gaTyIWhBy
— Anindita Ghose (@aninditaghose) September 15, 2018
As anyone who has even a basic idea of Hindu culture would know, Lord Ganesha is the son of Goddess Parvati, whose avatar Goddess Durga rides a tiger and Ganesha’s father is Lord Shiva, who is sometimes depicted as having dark (blue) skin and wearing tiger skin as his attire. So this representation of Lord Ganesha was a mere attempt to depict him as an embodiment of his powerful parents. It was reminded to Anindita by many people on Twitter, but the representation was just not ‘peaceful’ enough for her.
Some other persons had a similar line of thought too.
In addition, as with Rudra Hanuman, it was a subtle attempt to claim that a ‘peaceful and friendly’ god is unnecessarily being depicted as violent. The truth behind the proposed idea was shown to the journalist by many Twitter users.
Ganesha, the leader of the Ganas, slayer of Madasura, Mohasura, Ahamkarasura, Mam, Kamasura, Lobhasura, Matsrasura, Krodhasura is too militant now!
Dhimmis and their attempts to box our multi-faceted Gods into their made up categories could be symptomatic of inferiority complex? https://t.co/Mr4UO0vqFe
— Neha S (@neha_aks) September 17, 2018
‘Militant Ganesha’. Terrible choice of words.
Also, I guess she forgot the whole ‘remover of obstacles’ thing about him.
Or is he supposed to remove obstacles by endlessly arguing about them while sipping cups of chai? https://t.co/lhL0XTrTZd
— Shaunak Agarkhedkar (@ShaunakSA) September 17, 2018
Also, the confinement and branding of Hindu gods as frendly, peaceful and violent was objected to by many.
Ganesha also carries a weapon: kuthar (an axe).
He is also the vanquisher of many asuras like mohasur, gajamukhaasur
This is what happens when you learn your scriptures from Karl Marx, dear de-racinated brown sahiba https://t.co/nwPVLI9xXt
— Roshi CBG-san (@OnlyNakedTruth) September 16, 2018
The attempts to associate guilt and condemnation with Hindu festivities and ideas are nothing new. In India as well as in the west, people of a certain mindset misrepresent the diversity, versatility and nuances of the Hindu faith by mocking our Gods and ways of worship. However, social media has been levelling the playing field and providing a platform of people with a better understanding of the religion to present facts and counter the agenda driven maligning of Hindu customs and festivities.