Upset Hindus want Bradford Museums not to display “denigrating” image of Goddess Kali

Upset Hindus have asked Bradford Museums and Galleries (BMG) in United Kingdom not to display an artpiece which, they say, apparently depicts denigrating image of Goddess Kali.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged Lord Mayor of Bradford and BMG authorities not to exhibit the artpiece when it comes back from Neuberger Museum of Art (NMA) in New York where it was currently on loan as it was apparently very hurtful to the feelings of the devotees. Goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshipped in temples and not to be used indecorously.Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added that inappropriate use of Hinduism concepts and symbols was not okay. We did not understand that why this artpiece was allowed at the first place to be displayed in publicly funded museums, Zed argued.

Rajan Zed stated that Hindus welcomed artists to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for improper showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees. Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Artists should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed pointed out.

Meanwhile, Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening has written to Lord Mayor of Bradford and Bradford Museums and Galleries requesting withdrawal of the artwork depicting Goddess Kali at the earliest and saying: Please note that the Deity Kali is revered as the Mother Goddess by millions of Hindus around the world. Depicting the Deity as a gruesome figure as in this painting amounts to irreverence and trivialization of the sacred Deity. It hurts the religious sentiments of the devout Hindu community that looks upon any representation or depiction of a Deity as sacred.

Created by a British conceptual artist as a self-portrait and currently on display at NMA as a part of exhibition “British Subjects: Identity and Self-Fashioning 1967 – 2009”, the concerned artpiece is actually part of the collection of Bradford Museums and Galleries and has been loaned to NMA as part of special exhibition which runs till December 13. Claire Ackroyd is the Interim Manager of Bradford Museums & Galleries which is run by City of Bradford. John D. Godward is Lord Mayor of Bradford City.

Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity.

Sender Name:                    R. Zed