Knowing it might irk Americans and needle a few Christians, today’s Newsweek pulp cover features Obama as the Hindu god, Shiva. And not until the cover offended Indian American’s did it become a potential ‘problem’ for Newsweek.
Side note: As this ‘issue’ continues to spread, it becomes rather obvious that Newsweek was unaware Lord Shiva is known as ‘the destroyer of the world.’ How fitting.
Sacred images such as Lord Shiva, who is sometimes manifested as Lord Nataraja, are used in pop culture without understanding their spiritual relevance. As Rajan Zen, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism in Nevada points out,
(Fox) Nataraja is highly revered and meant to be worshipped, not indecorously thrown around. Zed, who is known for his work on interfaith dialogue, said it is not OK to use Hindu concepts and symbols for profit or self-serving purposes.
Suhag Shukla, managing director and legal counsel of the Washington-based Hindu-American Foundation noted that,
Hindu images are frequently used in media as caricatures because of a fundamental lack of understanding about the very complex religion, said it’s impossible to retract the image since the magazine reached mailboxes on Friday. However, her organization will contact Newsweek on Monday. Newsweek, which could not be reached for comment, did not have the image posted on the magazines website on Sunday.
ps #1 – SHN waited 3 days to post this ‘news’ since it was somewhat difficult to believe and needed more verification.
ps #2 – Assuming there are at least 3 closet-subscribers to Newsweek, we’d like to share some of their past award-winning covers with the rest of our readers.