By: Sattwik Biswal
THE Edinburgh International Festival has been urged to withdraw a play because of alleged sacrilege, where it shows rebirth of hindu gods as Dundee wideboys.
Rajan Zed, founder of the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Hindu Times has trivialised the deities Brahma, Vishnu and Lakshmi.
In a report in The Times, Zed adds that misrepresentation would confuse non-hindus and “insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols”.
His remarks were based on a review of the play, which said that Vishnu, Lakshmi and Brahma became “street-smart hedonists”.
In response, Jaimini Jethwa, the writer of the play was quoted as saying: “The Hindu gods are not only being respected, they are inhabiting characters to bring light to the world, showing they have agility in offering solace anywhere it is needed and will do what it takes to save a soul.
“This play poses the question: what would happen if the gods came to Dundee in the avatars of Dundee people? This is a question, a creative idea, explored with good humour and a heartfelt message.”
A spokeswoman for the Royal Lyceum and Pitlochry Festival Theatre, who commissioned Hindu Times, said: “Theatre is an art form that encourages debate and we celebrate the opportunity to explore a diverse range of topics and themes with our audiences, as well as an artist’s right to express their personal, authentic interpretation of those themes.”
An Edinburgh International Festival spokesman said: “We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase this theatrical work. We have not been approached by any concerned groups on this piece.”
“It’s just an opinion. Why should a play be withdrawn because of (Zed’s) opinion?” Prem Kumar Alamanta of the Hindu Temple of Scotland was quoted saying in The Times report.