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Home   Save Hinduism   Protest denigrating play ‘Ganesh Versus Third Reich’ at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis USA

Protest denigrating play ‘Ganesh Versus Third Reich’ at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis USA

Status of protest: In progress

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Scenes denigrating Shree Ganesh from the play ‘Ganesh versus the Third Reich’:

Denigrating image of Shree Ganesh in the play

February 3, 2013 (Pousha Krushna Saptami, Kaliyug Varsha 5114)

O Hindus, ask who was consulted about showing ‘Ganesh Versus the Third Reich’ !

Namaskar, dear Hinduism supporter.

 

Here is an update on the protest campaign that Forum for Hindu Awakening had begun against the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (USA) for showing the denigrating play, ‘Ganesh Versus the Third Reich’. There was no response from the play organizers to the initial email sent by our volunteer on 20th January 2013. Hence, we appealed by email to Hindus worldwide to protest peacefully. On 31st January 2013, we also put up this appeal on change.org, a petition site. Ever since, protests are pouring in from hundreds of Hindus, requesting the organizers to cancel the play.

 

When a proud Hinduism supporter from Texas called the Walker Art Centre’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Mr. Ryan French to protest the denigrating play, Mr. French said he understood the viewpoint of the protesters, but the Walker Art Centre had asked some local Hindus and temples how they felt about the play, and that none of them complained about it. Mr. French refused to disclose the identity of the so called Hindu leaders or organizations that they have “consulted”. This raises questions about the credibility of Walker Art Centre’s claim of having consulted Hindu leaders or organizations in this matter ! Mr. French also said that he had received calls from around 90 others about this denigration and that he was amazed about it. In another call, Mr. French reiterated that they will not cancel the play. This shows his complete disregard for the serious concern this denigration is for Hindus !

 

It is now up to supporters of Hinduism to ask Mr. French to disclose which organizations or leaders of Hinduism they consulted and why they would not disclose this crucial information, or to be taken for fools ! Should you gain this information, we request you to pass it on to us as well, so we too, can educate those organizations as to the denigration in this play.

Below, you can read some of the responses we received from alert Hinduism supporters.

I think it is important to respect everyone’s religion. No doubt you would not make fun of Catholic religion unless you wanted huge protests. Because the Hindu community is smaller in the US does not mean they do not deserve the same respect we show other religious groups. – Johnny H., Colorado

 

“This play denigrates our revered Deities and brings them down to a ‘character’ by humanizing them. This will adversely affect the faith in the hearts of the next generation. They will not have same faith unto God as they have laughed at Him in the form of a ‘character’. This is a great loss to our society given the increase in depression
and stress due to external adversities.” – Mrunal N., Minnesota

 

“Depicting such things without knowing the significance hurts the sentiments of Hindu people” – Lalitha B., Dearborn, Michigan

 

“It offends God, and mocks Spirituality in general. Religions should be respected” – Frederick A., BRASíLIA, BRAZIL

 

Petition can be found at
http://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-walker-art-center-management-appeal-to-cancel-the-play

 

Humbly,
Sadhaks at Forum for Hindu Awakening
www.HinduAwakening.org

 

January 29, 2013 (Poush Krushna Trutiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5114):

|| Shree ||

Namaskar, dear supporter of Hinduism,

 

We have received complaints from several Hindus about a play ‘Ganesh versus the third Reich’ to be showed at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA from 31st January to 2nd February 2013. The play’s website and poster depicts a man dressed like a Sumo wrestler, wearing an elephant head, posing as Hindus’ revered Deity, Ganesh poised against Hitler. This portrayal of Lord Ganesh is contrary to the way Hindu Scriptures describe the Deity’s form or how the Deity is depicted in Hindu temples. In this play, our revered Deity is being used in a fictitious context and trivial manner. The portrayal of Lord Ganesh in this play is highly objectionable to the Hindu religious sentiments.

 

Below are the various contact details to register your peaceful protest against this blatant denigration of Lord Ganesh, to all the organizations involved in the showing of this play.

 

Organizer: Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA

Address of the center: McGuire Theater, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403 U.S.A.

Director, Marketing and Public Relations: Ryan French, 612.375.7699, [email protected]

Assistant Director, Public Relations: Rachel Joyce, 612.375.7635, [email protected]

E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Website: http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/out-there-25-back-to-back-theatre

 

Please do cc [email protected] or inform us of your protest, as we strive to keep you updated about the progress of this protest by the Hindu Community.
We have also published below our correspondence with the organizers of the play, for your reference.

 

“Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha | (Dharma or God protects those who protect Dharma.)”

 

Sincerely,

 

Sadhaks at Forum for Hindu Awakening (www.HinduAwakening.org)


Our e-mail correspondence with the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA

To the Walker Art Center management,


We are writing this letter to let you know that we have received a number of complaints from Hindus that the obscene play (Ganesh versus the Third Reich) which denigrates and insults Hindu deities Lord “Ganesh” and Lord “Shiva” is scheduled to be shown in your esteemed theater from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.  This play had caused lot of anguish and had hurt the sentiments of Hindu community when it was screened in Melbourne, Australia last year. 

There were widespread protests by Hindus and Hindu community leaders against this blatant disregard for Hindu sentiments in this play. In spite of promises given by the play director and the assistant director Alice Nash to remove the objectionable parts; the promises were not kept. Hence we are convinced that the play authorities were not really sensitive to the issues of Hindu community and that they are more interested in their own commercial implications.

Kindly find below, some of the objections in the play which upset the Hindu community.

  • Forum for Hindu Awakening’ strongly believes that the very theme of this play is flawed; as it denigrates Hindu deities by humanizing them. The play uses descriptions of Hindu deities that are contrary to those in Hindu Scriptures.
  • Lord Ganesh is shown captured by the Nazis and is threatened by a knife.
  • Lord Ganesh is trivialized as He is shown talking about His relationship, where He ate and drank wine.
  • He is compared with fictitious comic characters such as ‘Spider-man’ and ‘King Kong’.
  • The character within the play (Brian) who plays Lord Ganesh, frequently takes off the Ganesh mask and utters obscenities like suck my d**k etc.
  • The play has an obscene innuendo surrounding Lord Ganesh, wherein one character asks another, whether the length of Lord Ganesh’s trunk is long enough, and the audience laugh.
  • A man with board shorts, no shirt and a garland plays Lord Vishnu in the play
  • Lord Shiva is portrayed in poor taste and there is a scene where he plucks a human being into two

I would also bring to your notice that a total of 13 Hindu organisations in Victoria state alone, in Australia were against this play and had strongly registered their protest. Please refer to the link below for details of the protests concerning this play.

https://forumforhinduawakening.org/dharma/campaigns/2011/09/12/protesthindu%E2%80%99s-deity-shree-ganesh-trivialised-in-a-play-at-melbourne-festival-5/


Hindu Dharma (Hinduism) considers art as a means for universal upliftment of human values and a medium to merge in to the Divine. However this play cannot be termed as art if it tramples upon emotional sentiments of Hindus, in the name of entertainment of a few.

In view of the above facts, it is quite regrettable that the play is now being featured in your theater. We are sure, it will anger the Hindu brethren in USA, due to its content and utter disregard to sentiments of Hindus towards their revered deities Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. Hence, it our sincere request to you to please consider the cancelling of this play to avoid any further controversy.



Sincerely,

Srinivas Shakelly, a Hindu 

Volunteer, Forum for Hindu Awakening

www.HinduAwakening.org

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