Blasphemy took to fabric recently as Byron Bay based fashion designer Lisa Burke upset Hindus worldwide by printing an image of the goddess Lakshmi on a bikini.
What demographic type of Hindu was outraged by this? According to the Times Of India online, both Indian and Australian governments stepped in ‘following protests by the Indian community in Sydney and right-wing groups in India.’
Subsequently it went worldwide as other right-wing (presumably) Hindu followers joined in the condemnation.
When members of the world’s third largest religion get upset – albeit its right-wing members – it’s a good opportunity to find out more.
Hinduism is generally regarded as the world’s oldest organised religion, according to www.religioustolerance.org. ‘Because of the wide variety of Hindu traditions, freedom of belief and practice are notable features of Hinduism.’
It goes onto say, it has ‘traditionally been among the world’s most religiously tolerant faiths. However, until recently, a Hindu nationalistic political party controlled the government of India. The linkage of religion, the national government, and nationalism led to a degeneration of the separation of church and state in India. This, in turn, had decreased the level of religious tolerance in that country.’
The swimwear issue highlights how religion can promote extremism and intolerance more than justice, equality and love for all.
‘Justice, equility [sic] and love for all,’ is ironically what Rajan Zed’s website says. He’s a self-described Hindu statesman, based in the USA, and is one of the many speaking God’s will against Ms Burke’s bikini line.
As a lot of religious folk like to speak on God’s behalf, please indulge me if I do so on behalf of the late Jewish-American comedian Lenny Bruce. ‘Take away the right to say fuck, and you take away the right to say “fuck the government”.’ I think Lenny meant to add ‘religion’.