Hindus in the United States and the United Kingdom have objected to the hosting of a contentious play titled ‘Hindu Times’ at the Edinburg International Festival (EIF) in Scotland.
As per reports, the play ‘Hindu Times’ is written by Scottish Indian playwright Jaimini Jethwa and directed by Caitlin Skinner. EIF has decided to host it at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh between August 20-21. The play mocks the religious beliefs and shows revered Hindu deities such as Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Lakshmi in a bad light. Reportedly, the play begins with a warning that goes as, “Contains strong language and adult themes.”
While condemning EIF’s decision, Hindu Statesman Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindu Gods and Goddesses are meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines. He emphasised that they should not be portrayed as looking for alcohol in Dundee and breaking into closed shops for liquor. Zed lambasted EIF for sacrilege, ridiculing the Hindu community and belittling other traditions. He has called upon EIF to apologise for its inappropriate selection of a play.
Hindus object to the hosting of derogatory play by EIF
Rajan Zed, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has written to EIF’s Board Chair Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive Fergus Linehan, Executive Director Francesca Hegyi and Royal Patron HRH The Earl of Wessex. He has urged them to train its executives for ‘cultural sensitivity’ and re-evaluate the systems and procedures in place to avoid selection of plays such as ‘Hindu Times.’ He has urged the partners and funders of EIF such as British Council, Scottish Government, UK government to rethink their association with EIF.
The Hindu Statesman added that the community supported artistic freedom but sacrilege hurt the followers of the religion. He stated that that Brahma-Vishnu-Lakshmi are divine to the Faith and innapropriate depiction not only hurt the sentiments of Hindus but create false impression in the minds of non-Hindus about the religion. “Attempts at distorting of Hindu gods and goddesses would be slighting of ancient Hindu traditions. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly help if industry needed any assistance in exploring Hinduism,” he said.
The play has now drawn the ire of the 1.2 billion Hindus for deliberate mishandling and depiction of the Hindu Faith. Reportedly, one of the scenes also showed Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Brahma using the ‘F-word’. “We request EIF to listen to the Hindus and to not show this play,” remarked Nandini Singh of REACH INDIA (UK). Kuldeep Shekhawat, Overseas Friends of BJP UK, added, “We request EIF to withdraw this play if it is making derogatory remarks.”
Review of ‘Hindu Times’ by the Guardian reveals the objectionable portrayal of Hindu deities
The denigration of Hindu deities was such that The Guardian review claimed, “Gods Vishnu, Lakshmi, and Brahma become street-smart hedonists…Jethwa’s divine beings find themselves at an accidental lock-in at a Spar shop on a night made for partying.”
It further added, “Vishnu and Brahma, meanwhile, have shown up in their trainers as Vince and Barry, determined to remind Lakshmi of her true nature in between the banter and the drug talk…You wouldn’t call it pious, but somehow, as it juxtaposes big thoughts about timeless love with the realpolitik of everyday survival, it makes it seem that Dundee’s No 1 rule about casual sex – “Nae ridin’ and bidin’” – has something to do with Sanskrit philosophy.”