My Email To Maiya Devotees: 2/27/2004
Dear Maiya Devotees:
Jai Mata Ki
First of all let me thank you all for your support and complete agreement with us on this issue. Here is an update on the subject. As many of you suggested we had sent a letter to Mr. Merchant to protest his casting Tina Turner as Maa Durga in the upcomming movie "The Goddess". Mr. Merchant has dismissed our protest by calling us narrow minded. Mr. Merchant is an elder ( BAJURAG), who is in a movie business for 42 years and the Elders can say anything. ( BARON KI BAAT KA BURA NAHIN MANNAINGE HUM) We are not offended by his saying so. In fact he tried to justify Tina Turner is supreme choice for the role. Well this can be argued at length. Anuradha Dutt of The Pioneer, a reputed paper writes on Feb 12,04 in her article on the subject "The sex symbol, lovingly referred to as Lady Long Legs by her fans, is expected to sing and dance on a tiger's back in this film. If this was not so very offensive, it would be funny". http://www.southasianmedia.net/index_opinion.cfm?category=Religion&country=India#Now%20Goddess%20Kali%20excites%20interest
The sad part is that Mr. Merchant is an Indian from Bombay, if he does not want to understantd the feelings of fellow Hindus, then who will. He will have to make the change in his decision to cast Tina as Maa Durga. I have visited her web site www.Tina_Turner.com and saw her pictures which convinced me to agree with Anuradha of The Pioneer. Do we want to see our Maa Durga/Shakti represented by some one who is known for her long legs or as a sex symbol. I afraid not.
What I fail to understand why is the Hindu Dharma so week. History tells us our religion has always been the target of attacks may it be Mahmood Gazbnabi who looted us centuries ago, or very recently Christians, who are trying to convert Hindus or some Bar in Chicago who is posing Lord Shiva with a bottle of wine in the hand, or some American Business trying to sell Lord Ganesha on Chappal or on a Toilet Paper, or some Southren baptist Church parying to Jesus on Diwali to guide Hindus to the light out of Darkness. We have constucted big Temples all over the world and argue that we are trying to save our religion and culture. Can we realy save it, if we let every one attack our religion. Think about it. Would any other religion let you attack them, no way. Only Hindus, my friend only Hindus.
Media all over the worls has covered this story and I am giving you the links below:
At Local level a prestigious paper India West has covered the story.
We need to have a joint effort, we need to join hands and protest this very strongly. This is very offensive, this is very degrading to the Hindus all over the world, specially devotees of Maiya. We have always worshiped Maiya in the form of a KANJAK and we won't let Tina take a place of Holy Mother. We have nothing against Tina Turner of Ismail Merchant, they are wonderful human beings and God Bless them, but we will not let them use Maa Durga, her image for pure commercial purposes. I urge all of you to write to Mr. Merchant, organize a protest in your Temple, pass resolutions and send it to me, so we can take this matter further. We need your help, your support, your suggestions in this matter. We are in a process of setting up a web site, so devotees can vote and register their views in this regards . we need volunteers for that also. Please pass on this info to your friends.For those who are getting this info for the first time, I have attached a copy of our letter to Mr. Merchant.
Jai Mata ki
President & Founder
Jai Jagdambe Foundation
Jagran TV Chicago
|ARTICLE BY ANURADHA DATT OF THE PIONEER Now Goddess Kali excites interest |
|Anuradha Dutt Thursday February 12, 2004 |
|Source : The Pioneer |
The Tuesday city supplement of one of the Capital's English dailies carried a report about American singer Tina Turner being slated to play Goddess Kali in a Merchant-Ivory film called The Goddess. The sex symbol, lovingly referred to as Lady Long Legs by her fans, is expected to sing and dance on a tiger's back in this film. If this was not so very offensive, it would be funny. The Goddess Kali, who came to be understood better by the West through the story of Dakshineshwar's great sage Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his brilliant disciple Swami Vivekananda, commands a huge following in India and Nepal. She is as much the focus of reverence for devout Hindus as any of their important gods. The promised celluloid adaptation by Merchant-Ivory amounts to sacrilege.
Ismail Merchant, of the production house that bears his name, should have known better, being of Indian origin. If philistines in America or England emboss Hindu deities on napkins or toilet lids or garments, their ignorance of an alien culture is supposed to exonerate them. But when Mr Merchant plans to reduce a divine figure to a pop diva, whose last memorable achievement was crooning the theme song for a sexist James Bond film, then the lapse is magnified. Worse, the author of the report seems to find no cause for offence in the proposal. It points to the increasing deracination of urban Indians under the combined Hollywood-MTV onslaught.
The earlier screen portrayal of Goddess Kali in a foreign film that outraged Indian sensibilities was in the Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In this far-fetched recreation of the Hindu ethos, the polarities of good and evil, a Judeo-Christian concept, were projected by pitting the dark goddess against Shiva. In the film, Kali is Satan's Hindu counterpart while Shiva is Jesus Christ's. The worshippers of this evil goddess are the thugs of Bengal, relocated for greater effect to a Bangkok palace. They draw their malevolent powers from Kali.
This is carrying creative licence too far as Kali is popularly worshipped as Shiva's wife and equal half. She is immeasurably powerful, and not evil, the universal mother who protects her devotees. The stories about her depict her emerging from Goddess Durga's brow as the latter battles the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha, generals of Mahishasura, who is destined to be destroyed by Durga. Kali, contrary to Merchant's image, which approximates to the Greek sirens who lured sailors to their doom, is described as being of a fearful appearance: "Emaciated, with a wide mouth and lolling tongue, and deep sunken eyes. She proceeds to decapitate Chanda and Munda, two demon warriors, and then destroys the terrible Raktabija, from whose every drop of blood spring thousands of combatants." Kali's stratagem is to devour every drop of blood and then kill him.
For this feat she is awarded an exalted place in the Hindu pantheon, in time emerging as the principal deity in Tantra. Her cult accords a subordinate place to Shiva, though the two together are seen as granting liberation to the dying at cremation grounds. The image of Kali with a foot placed on Shiva's body as he lies at her feet, is meant to symbolise Maya, the delusive creative power that brings forth the phenomenal reality, subdued by the unmanifest absolute. Conversely, the latter is powerless without his shakti. This portrayal, replete with meaning, has been interpreted by a curious American commentator as the renegade black goddess dancing on Shiva's corpse! Another writer, a born-again Christian, has sagely observed that she is "not the sort of girl you'd wish to bring home to mother." This growing interest in Hindu goddesses in the West has been credited to the revival of witchcraft , which accord the central position to feminine power. These exist in secret, fearful of Christian scrutiny.
The popularity of so-called Tantric sex among orgiastic and gay groups is an index of the superficial understanding of eastern religions in a pleasure-seeking society. Myriad internet sites promise unimagined joys through Tantra to seekers. An extremely difficult spiritual regimen, meant for the select, has thus been reduced to a novelty or even witchcraft. It is viewed with acute fear and suspicion by the majority White Christian community, which still sees the doomed Marilyn Monroe as the epitome of submissive womanhood. Therefore, at the heart of this failure to comprehend the Hindu goddesses is the inability to reject a demeaning sexual stereotype.