Some Indian-American’s are upset after Newsweek’s latest cover that depicts President Obama as the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.
The cover shows Obama with several arms carrying various things while balancing on one leg. The headline reads: “God of All Things” with a subtitle, “Why the Modern Presidency May be too Much for One Person to Handle.”
Lord Shiva is one of the three pre-eminent gods in the Hindu religion along with Brahma and Vishnu, and is considered the destroyer of the world.
Suhag Shukla, managing director and legal counsel of the Washington-based Hindu-American Foundation, said that her group doesn’t think Newsweek was being malicious or trying to offend Hindus, but “the cover was in line with the media’s comfort of utilizing Hindu symbols or deities to symbolize an issue.”
Shukla understands that it’s impossible to retract the image since the magazine reached mailboxes on Friday, but her organization will contact Newsweek on Monday (11/22).
“Hinduism’s sacred images are too often appropriated in popular culture without understanding their spiritual relevance to Hindus,” she said. “For Hindus, the iconography gives insight into the divine realm, and each aspect of representation is replete with profound symbolism that is lost and even debased by such attempts at humor.”
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