The augmented reality video game, Pokemon Go, which has achieved cult status among ardent fans, is once again the talk of the town for hurting religious sentiments. And people are questioning how one can get hurt by a game, yaar?
Recently, a Gujarat High Court issued notice to its US-based developers, after a PIL was filed alleging that the game has hurt their sentiments as it shows virtual eggs (part of the gaming process) in temples.
However, this is nor the first time that the game has ‘hurt’ people. In August, a fatwa was issued against the game by Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat in Bareilly, which termed the game violent. At the time, the spokesperson for the dargah, Mufti Salim Noori had said, “We also received questions from Mauritius and Durban. A maulvi from Mauritius asked about the Islamic validity of the game.”
The reactions to such complaints are mixed. Shashwat Gupta, a gamer from Model Town, says, “I feel food and religion should not be mixed, neither should they mix games and religion. As a Hindu, my faith is not defined by what I eat. Plus, it is a virtual egg and the game is bringing young kids to temples. In my opinion, the whole religious cartel should pay Pokemon Go for promoting their branches for free.”
Arnav Narain, a Delhi-based lawyer, says, “These days, religious sentiments are being hurt for the smallest of reasons. It is a misuse of PILs and a really silly issue to bother the courts with.”
However, some support banning the game, for their own reasons. Parents, especially mothers, are glad that action is being taken against the game. Monisha Khetarpal, a resident of Pashchim Vihar, says, “I fear my son’s neck will disappear the way he is bent over the mobile screen all the time. Or he might meet with an accident when he walks around catching eggs and whatnots. Game hi ban kar deni chahiye (The game should be banned)”, she says.
The addictive nature of the game, and the quest to ‘catch ‘em all’, hasn’t gone down well with corporate bosses. Vikram Shankar, an HR manager in a tech firm, says, “Tea, water and loo breaks have converted to Pokemon breaks. Employees are absent from the office citing the absurdest of reasons. Some are upfront, and tell me they want to catch a pokemon. This is crazy!”
While the craze doesn’t seem to fade, there are some who cannot seem to fathom what all the fuss is about. Jigyasha Prasad, content manager at a start-up, says, “It’s unnecessary to create so much fuss, it’s just a game. We have better issues to address than filing a case for such a trivial issue.