- Growing protests by Hindus against ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ show in New York
- ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ show in Starlight Pavilion in New York cancelled after protests !
New York, USA: After cancellation of the film ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ show and panel discussion with this film’s animator Nina Paley in Starlight Pavilion due to prompt and peaceful protests from alert Hindus worldwide, Rohan Narine (the organiser of this show in Starlight Pavilion) was still looking for a venue for the event. Dhanapaul Narine, who is the president of Shri Trimurti Bhavan (a local Hindu temple) and father of Rohan Narine, was supportive of Rohan’s organizing this event, despite the denigrating content of the film. Hence, DhanpaulNarine allowed ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ showing and panel discussion with Nina Paley to be held for around 25 youth at his residence in New York. Read about the initial support from Dhanpaul Narine at: “Animated Debate Is Curtain-Raiser“.
It is learned from sources that Dhanpaul Narine holds the following posts :
- President of Shri Trimurti Bhavan, a Hindu temple in New York
- Public Relations Officer / Media Liaison of Hindu Parades & Festivals Committee, Inc.
- Public Relations Officer /Media Liaison of Federation of Hindu Mandirs, Inc.
Naturally, there were concerns amidst the local Hindu community in New York that their community leader is supporting this film that denigrates Hinduism sacred scripture and Deities. Below is Forum for Hindu Awakening (FHA)’s letter to Dhanpaul Narine, expressing these concerns and his response in agreement that ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ is indeed denigrating to Hinduism. Further to that, DhanpaulNarine has published an apology to the ’Breaking India’ e-mail group. Please see below communication:
Namaskar. We have spoken about your email and this is an apology to you and all others for the aggravation that may have been caused over this movie. You and the other Hindu friends have shown that vigilance and putting the community first can lead to good results and for this we commend you. There are a number of projects that we need to work on in the future, involving our youths and Hinduism and we look forward to your leadership, as well as the others. As we have agreed Hindus should not be against each other. Mistakes were made during the planning of this movie for which we again apologize. Hopefully, there will be no recurrence in the future.
Let us work together to build a strong Hindu community.
2. Communication between FHA and Dhanpaul Narine
On Sun, Jul 24, 2011 Mr Dhanpaul Narine wrote:
Having seen this movie for the first time a few days ago I am in a position to make an informed comment. The movie distorts theRamayana and makes a mockery of what we have held sacred for generations. If Ms. Paley wanted to make a movie about her life based on a love story in popular literature then there are many to choose from, including the works of Shakespeare. West Side Story is based on Romeo and Juliet. The Ramayana does not lend itself to this kind of treatment and therefore her argument about artistic freedom lacks substance. We should intensify our efforts to show that our religion is strong and that these misrepresentations will make us better Hindus. Also we should continue to work to get Youtube to respect what we stand for since ‘millions of our young people live on Youtube all day.’ Ms Paley should be told in no uncertain terms that the New York community does not support this movie and our local media should also be asked to carry our views and criticisms. But equally important let us in our daily lives practice the virtues that Lord Rama and Mother Sita stand for and let us also show that no one can shake our faith. Jai Shree Ram!
From: Forum for Hindu Awakening
Date: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM
Subject: Dhanpaul ji, canceling and apologizing for ‘Sita sings the blues’ showing in your home
To: Dhanpaul Narine
Namaste, dear Shri. Dhanpaul Narine.
Earlier today, I read the Wall Street Journal article about the cancellation of ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ show organized by your son,Rohan Narine in Starlight Pavilion. The article also mentioned that you are the president of a local Hindu temple and are supportive of Rohan’s showing of this denigrating film. Hence, Rohan will now be showing the film privately in your home, where Nina Paleytoo, is invited for a panel discussion.
As the president of a Hindu temple, you have the great responsibility of guiding the temple devotees in Hindu Dharma and representing the Hindu community. However, your support of your son’s showing of this film, which has blatantly denigrated Hindus’ revered Ramayana, Rama and Sita, is contrary to what is expected of a Hindu leader like yourself. It is setting a wrong example for the Hindu community you lead, as it condones denigration of Hinduism’s sacred scriptures and Deities.
As a Hindu, devoted to understanding, living and preserving Hinduism, I urge you to reconsider the decision to hold the showing of‘Sita Sings the Blues’ in your home, to reconsider the decision to welcome into your home the perpetrators of this denigration, such as Paley and the cast of this film. I request you to cancel this showing.
An apology from you to the Hindu community would also set an example of how a Dharmik leader sets aside personal affections, for the sake of his Dharmik duties towards society. It is ironic that this controversy and denigration surrounds this very principle, for which Lord Rama had to let go of Mother Sita.
Spokesperson, Forum for Hindu Awakening