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Hindus upset over Newsweek cover showing Obama as Nataraja

By Nairita Das

Nevada (US), Nov 21 (ANI): Hindus are upset over the cover of November 22 edition of American newsweekly Newsweek which depicts US President Barack Obama in Nataraja pose, saying that it trivializes their venerated deity Siva.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Siva was a highly revered major deity in Hinduism meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used indecorously or thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects.

How a mortal could be depicted as Siva, who is the director of our destinies, Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked and added that inappropriate use of Hinduism concepts and symbols for pushing selfish agenda or mercantile greed was not okay.

Rajan Zed argued that it was unnecessary dragging of a Hindu deity in American political wrangles by Newsweek to prove their point of view and urged Newsweek to publish a disclaimer about this on its website and the next issue with proper explanation of Nataraja, Siva, and Hinduism.

Zed stressed that 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 ridiculed at.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus understood that the purpose of Newsweek in this case apparently was not to denigrate Hinduism, but casual flirting like this sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees. Humor was a part and parcel of Hindu society, but there were certain convictions in every tradition, which were venerable and not meant to be taken lightly.

Zed further said that Hindus welcomed media to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for improper showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their commercial or other agenda. Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at misusing it hurt the devotees. Media should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and sacred symbols.

This Newsweek cover page is headlined as "GOD OF ALL THINGS".

Nataraja (Lord of the dance) is a well known iconic representation of Lord Siva, symbolizing his salvific, destructive, and creative roles; when he dances the world to destruction to create it again as a chapter of the ongoing cosmic cycle. Siva, along with Brahma and Visnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Best known depiction of Nataraja is installed in a Tamil Nadu temple in India.

Newsweek, launched in 1933, is published from New York City in four English language and 12 global editions and reportedly has a worldwide circulation of over four million.

Tina Brown is the editor. It is owned by The Newsweek Daily Beast Company with Stephen Colvin as CEO and Sidney Harman as Executive Chairman. (ANI)

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