Hindus are upset at the depiction of Australian cricketer Shane Warne as Lord Ganesh in many Fairfax Media publications dated March third, including Sydney Morning Herald, calling it trivialization of their highly revered deity.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was inappropriate depiction of Lord Ganesh who was worshipped by Hindus world over and was thus hurtful to the devotees.
Moreover, indicating (in the article) Lord Ganesh as “paunchy bogan hero of yesteryear” was highly denigrating, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Bogan is an Australian derogatory term described by Oxford Dictionaries site as “an uncouth or unsophisticated person, regarded as being of low social status”.
Rajan Zed urged Fairfax Media CEO Gregory Colin Hywood and its Board Chairman Roger Corbett to immediately issue a formal apology and remove the objectionable article from the websites of Fairfax Media publications, including Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Canberra Times, Brisbane Times, WAtoday, etc.
Zed pointed out that Lord Ganesh was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects or other agenda.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed argued.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Lord Ganesh was disturbing to Hindus. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the devotees, Zed added.
This objectionable painting in the article “It’s been a big week in art… with Jim Pavlidis” in various Fairfax Media publications shows Warne as Ganesh sitting cross-legged and wearing a dhoti with naked belly; complete with trunk and eight arms-hands carrying cricket balls, pencils and a small mirror, instead of Lord Ganesh’s usual objects, like conch shell. A picture of Lord Ganesh is also given below apparently for comparison.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
Fairfax Media Limited headquartered in Sydney (Australia) calls itself “a leading multi-platform media company in Australasia. The group…serves its audiences through high-quality, independent journalism…”. For the financial year ended 24 June 2012, Fairfax Media reported underlying revenues of $2.33 billion.
Shane Keith Warne, 43, is former Australian international cricketer considered one of the greatest bowlers.