Don’t use deities of Hinduism inappropriately and disrespectfully!

I am concerned about the trend of using the symbols of Hinduism inappropriately and disrespectfully. Previously, Goddess Lakshmi was printed on a swim suit and a Sydney-based radio host made some adverse comments about the beliefs of followers of Hinduism, who consider River Ganges as sacred. Both these matters were tackled and remedied with withdrawal of the offensive actions and an apology. 

With this background, I find it very disappointing that Back To Back Theatre, in collaboration with Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, is doing a play “Ganesh and the third Reich” in Melbourne Festival on 29th Sept, 2011. This play is going to use Lord Ganesha as matter for comedy and laughter.

 <<<Swsatka                                               >>>>Nazi swastika

Lord Ganesha does not need to go to Germany to deal “one to one” with Hitler! Nazi swastika is a corrupted form of the Hindu swastika and had no similarity with the original swastika which meant “Good luck”, unlike what Hitler was using it for. Nazi swastika was a sign of hatred and evil. Nazi variety has crosses at a 45 degree angle while the original one has horizontal and vertical arms with 4 dots.

One of most widely worshipped deities in Hinduism, Lord Ganesha, is regarded as god of wisdom, good luck and destroyer of obstacles, and is invoked at the beginning of businesses, projects and undertakings. Hinduism is a tolerant religion and respects other religions. It is one of the oldest religions and has been around for more than 5000 years. It is also the third largest religion of the world with more than one billion followers.

 I believe that People need to be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of other people. Using Lord Ganesha in this manner is inappropriate and will be offensive to many followers of Hinduism. 


Depiction of Lord Ganesha in this manner is going to become an Issue in India and among Indians, and is likely to create a controversy between India and Australia, which is unnecessary.

Further more, agencies which receive public funding in Australia, can’t be associating with any action, commentary, documentary or play, which lampoons the beliefs, deities or feelings of people from any religion.  

I urge Melbourne Festival, Arts Victoria, Tourism Victoria, and City of Melbourne to consider the hurt, which people might experience from such parody of one of the most revered deities of Hinduism, and act with sensitivity.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/19th Sept, 2011


31 thoughts on “Don’t use deities of Hinduism inappropriately and disrespectfully!

  1. @Mr.Yoni – I would run the risk of concluding that all Hindus are humourless and reactionary.

    Had the same been portrayed on Jesus or Mohammed, would that community bear your logic of humor ? Or lets say, your own parents projected in a funny way ? Hindus treat God and Religion with GREAT respect. For anyone else, it will be a good laugh. If somebody makes fun of your parents, you will not be able to tolerate. But will you be able to understand still, that it was just awesome humor for someone else ? Ask yourself.


  2. With respect, Mr Singh, you do not have enough information without having seen the play. If you have an issue with the marketing material, offer your views in relation to that. I saw this play – in fact it was so marvellous that I saw it twice. I thought it asked some very serious, explicit and entirely respectful questions about what rights artists have to appropriate the stories of others – and how they go about it.
    I refrain from making a set of assumptions based your comments. If I were to generalise from them, and take you as having the right to speak for all Hindus, I would run the risk of concluding that all Hindus are humourless and reactionary. I know many Hindus, however, and know this not to be true.


    • Thank you. We reacted based on the info in the websites and their publicity material. At the time of reactions, that was all we had to base our reactions on. I am glad to read that things were not bad when you saw it. Please do note that the organisers had made some changes and removed many offending parts, after protests were made known to them. They conveyed this to people who met with them before the play was shown.


  3. so who has seen this disrespectful play? who of you knows anything of it?
    spare us the multicultural freedom of faith or whatever.
    freedom is a rare commodity in today’s world. and there seems precious little of it about.


    • We have enough info without even seeing the Play. They have put up a press release. Multiculturalism does not mean they should ridicule Hinduism or use deities of Hinduism for politics, joke or comedy.


  4. Generally speaking we Indians are tolerant people,however when some one is making fun of our faith,culture and way of life then we are not going to sit and watch.


    Ahmed Hyder JP.MIAME.


  5. Good on you, Yadu. I am glad you are introducing some ‘spine and spunk’ to destroy the Indian attitude of “Sub Chalta Hai”.

    Anand Sinha.


  6. Dr Yaduji,
    You are the leader and I have been noticing your great contribution to ensure not only the beliefs of more than billions are not hurt but the great contribution to maintain healthy Indo-Australian relations by acting wisely and in time.
    Please keep up your great work, which one day I hope, might succeed disturbing other Indians who are enjoying the deep sleep.
    Vivek Bakal


  7. Pingback: “No Elephant-Headed God-Men Were Killed, Mistreated, Or Blasphemed In The Making Of This Play” | Popehat

  8. Dear Yadu ji,

    I appreciate your efforts in highlighting wrong traditions being adopted by misleading people in Australia about Hindu dieties, e.g., Lord Ganesha in Melbourne. I believe Indians living in Melbourne will not allow the so called play “Ganesh and the third Reich” to be staged on 29th September 2011. Such traditions should be discouraged, as they leave a very bad impact on the younger generation, especially when we want to keep our religeous beliefs alive.


  9. Dear Dr Yadu Singh,
    Please continue your brilliant work.we are firmly behind is important we raise our voice against this nonsense.othewise we and our precious culture will be taken as a thing to be trampled upon.can they say this sort of thing against islam or any other religion?


  10. This is absolutely disrespectful act …. If you don’t know the real meaning of such a sacred symbol and its relation to millions of its religious devotees, then don’t even think let alone attempt to mock in such a disrespectful way. Ms Nash Should be condemn for such disrespectful act toward the God Ganesh and his swastika symbol


  11. Dear Yadu
    I admire your tireless endeavour to defend our motherland,our values and religion. I know how much of time and efforts it involved in your busy professional life. We need more community leaders like you.


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