Hindus are upset over reported parading of Hindu deities at a Lundi Gras parade associated with Mardi Gras celebrations on February eight evening in uptown New Orleans, calling it highly inappropriate.
According to reports, Krewe of Proteus presented the “The Hindu Heavens” themed parade which featured various Hindu deities; including Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati, Hanuman and Kali.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Hindu deities were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be trivialized in carnival type parades. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for entertainment and other agendas was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
What was the purpose of unnecessarily dragging Hindu gods, whom Hindus venerated and seriously addressed their prayers, in an extravagant carnival type atmosphere associated with Mardi Gras? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked.
Rajan Zed urged organizers of this parade involving Hindu gods to offer a formal apology.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed further said that 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 were disturbing for the followers, Zed added.
Krewe of Proteus, founded in 1882, said to be the second-oldest parade krewe in New Orleans Mardi Gras, reportedly claims to be still using the original chassis from the early 1880’s for its floats. Lundi Gras happens on Monday before Mardi Gras Day (last day of the carnival season, which was February nine this year). The origins of Mardi Gras go back to medieval Europe and it was openly celebrated in New Orleans by 1730s, reports suggest. Parades are a major part of Mardi Gras celebrations. Krewe of Proteus reportedly had 230 men and 20 floats in this parade.