Hindus are disturbed over “inappropriate” portrayal of Hindu goddess Kali in a sexual joke on TBS late night Emmy winning television talk show “Conan” and want apologies from all those responsible for it, including host Conan O’Brien, TBS, Turner Broadcasting System and its parent company Time Warner Inc.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV shows for mercantile greed. Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.
The script of Conan Weeknights episode of October 28 titled “Nazi U Boat Discovered Off The North Carolina Coast”, goes something like: “Are you sick of hooking up with people from your own century? Time Bone gives you access to every hottie who ever lived.” Then it shows images of some well known historical women and goddess Kali, indicating that one can have sex with them using Time Bone machine.
Such trivialization of goddess Kali was disturbing and offensive to the one billion Hindus world over, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said and urged TBS to immediately remove it from all its websites and other links.
Rajan Zed also asked Emmy winner O’Brien, Conan executive producer Jeff Ross, TBS president Kevin Reilly, Turner Broadcasting System CEO John Martin and Time Warner Inc. chairman Jeff Bewkes to tender a public apology for it and urged them not to inappropriately drag Hindu deities to advance the commercial or other agenda in the future.
Zed stated that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Television should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.
Hindus welcomed Hollywood and other entertainment industries to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Zed noted that 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 lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added if Hollywood or other entertainment executives needed any assistance about Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Conan reportedly averages 862,000 viewers with a social media following of over 18 million fans. TBS, said to be available to 101 million households, is part of Turner Broadcasting System, a Time Warner Inc. company headquartered in New York, which claims to be “a global leader in media and entertainment”.