"Not funny two and a half thousand years ago, not funny now." via video screenshot

“Not funny two and a half thousand years ago, not funny now.”
via video screenshot

Conservative Hindus take umbrage at the depiction of Lord Ganesh ostensibly partaking meat

A Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) ad promoting lamb as acceptable food of everyone independent of religious affiliation has attracted flak from conservative Hindu groups. The latter's bone of contention: the advertisement depicted Lord Ganesh of the Hindu pantheon sitting at a table with other Gods of other religions where everyone tucks into lamb preparations. As per Hindu mythology, Ganesha's dietary habit is vegetarian.

Other than Ganesh, sitting at the table was a number of prophets and other religious figures like Jesus, Zeus, and Thor. The agnostic host of the purported celebration declared a toast, “to lamb — the meat we can all eat.” Ganesha is a vegetarian God. Ram Bansal, president of Indian Society of Western Australia, protested against the advertisement. He said, “It is painful to see Ganeshji being portrayed as a meat eater, wine drinker and in search for a new marketing strategy for himself. Meat and Livestock Australia has shown total lack of respect and understanding of the Indian culture and values”

The advertisement narrative is a funny and clever one. Multiple gods of different religions are sitting at a dinner table. Only lamb is served as it is the only meat which all the gods can enjoy without the censures of their own religion. Similar to other dinner table conversations, participants joke with each other. A dating website sends Aphrodite numerous texts. Ganesh is perturbed when another god mentions the presence of an “elephant in the room.” Muhammad calls and says that it was impossible for him to attend. The only aberration in the place is an agnostic human who has no religious affiliation. Even Jesus becomes the butt of a joke. The Gods are having fun and getting along.

Majority of the audience understood and appreciated the humor. A number of conservative Hindu groups clearly did not. They termed the advertisements “senseless,” “irresponsible” and “unacceptable.” These conservative groups want the advertisement to be taken off air.

Rajan Zed, the Hindu activist based in the United States, also chimed in, “Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed.” 

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