Zapiro cartoon draws global protest

2013-11-02 00:00

THE tidal wave of protest against the Zapiro Ganesha cartoon has drawn international reaction.

Since the release of the cartoon done by cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, using the image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha, the local Hindu community have been up in arms with the Sunday Times and Zapiro for publishing the cartoon, calling for a formal apology and retraction of the cartoon.

Now Hindus across the globe are calling the cartoon, published October 27, a trivialisation of their highly respected deity.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement from Nevada in the U.S. yesterday, said it was an inappropriate depiction of Lord Ganesha, who is worshipped by Hindus worldwide, and is therefore hurtful to devotees.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Times Media Group (TMG), CEO Andrew David Bonamour, Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt and Zapiro to immediately issue a formal apology and remove the offensive cartoon from its and Zapiro’s website. He also urged two Hindu board members of TMG to resign in protest if no apology was offered.

“Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled,” Zed argued.

Zed further said: “Such trivialisation of Lord Ganesh is disturbing to Hindus. Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the devotees.”

Rajan Zed asked for urgent intervention of South African organisations, the press ombudsman and the South African Human Rights Commission, in the issue and for them to take appropriate action against the Sunday Times.

“Lord Ganesh is meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in re-imagined versions for dramatic effects or other agenda. Unnecessarily tying Lord Ganesh with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, depicting human sacrifice at his feet and him holding a cricket bat and wads of money in his hands was highly inappropriate.”

In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

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