Image of Hindu goddess Kali, to which Hindus objected saying that it gave the appearance of a porn-star, seems to have been removed from the home page of official website of online action video game SMITE, being developed by Georgia (USA) headquartered Hi-Rez Studios.
A look at the website today revealed that Kali’s image has been replaced by a dragon like character.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest calling such depiction of goddess Kali as highly inappropriate, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed the removal of image as a “step in the right direction.
Thanking the company for understanding the hurt feelings of Hindu community, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Hi-Rez Studios to show some responsibility, respect and maturity and remove the Kali and other Hindu gods (Vamana and Agni) from the game completely as it trivialized the highly revered and sacred deities of Hinduism.
Rajan Zed has stressed that such portrayal of goddess Kali was quite disturbing for the devotees who worshipped her in temples or home shrines on a regular basis. It was denigration and belittling of the entire community.
Moreover Catholics, Jews and Buddhists had also come out in the support of perturbed Hindus on this issue. Well known Roman Catholic leader in Nevada Father Charles T. Durante, prominent Jewish leader in Western USA Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer and distinguished Buddhist leader from Nevada Reverend Jikai’ Phil Bryan have issued separate statements backing the cause of protesting Hindus. Reverend Bryan commented: “Shame on the game-makers for denigrating these Supreme Beings”.
Zed has stated that in a video game set-up, the player would control and manipulate goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, which was highly inappropriate as in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities. Reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed pointed out that video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and no faith, larger or smaller, should be trampled. As these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people; such inappropriate depictions would create more misunderstandings about Hinduism, which was already a highly misunderstood religion in the West, Zed argued and added that purpose of online games was to entertain and not to offend a large chunk of world population.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Hi-Rez Studios described SMITE as an “online battleground between mythical gods” in which players choose from a selection of gods.