A Hindu reform organisation in the US has opposed the growing protests by Hindu groups against upcoming Hollywood film The Love Guru, saying that calling for a ban on the comedy starring Mike Myers would be going too far.
Navya Shastra, the organisation based in Troy, Michigan, which earlier spoke out against astrology, female foeticide and Dalit discrimination, has argued that hyper-sensitivity over inaccurate or distorted religious depictions in mass media erodes the tradition of tolerance of criticism in the Hindu faith.
"Hindus have a remarkable history of freedom of thought and expression. Unfortunately, this is being eroded these days by hypersensitive and misguided chauvinistic pressure groups, perhaps taking their cue from more chauvinistic traditions," Gautham Rao, Navya Shastra's research director, was quoted as saying in a press release.
It said while it respects the right of the groups in the US and elsewhere to protest against the film, it strongly believes that calling for a ban on the comedy goes too far.
The reform organisation further notes that in the era of electronic media, monitoring and controlling religious depictions and imagery is a daunting, near impossible task.
"Hindus should set a spiritual example for others by combating social ills and discrimination," said Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra chairman.
The protests against the film, which opens June 20, have been spearheaded by Rajan Zed, Hindu leader based in Reno, Nevada. On watching the film's trailer some weeks ago, he started accusing the film of lampooning Hinduism.
At this behest, the film's producer Paramount Pictures has agreed to pre-screen the film for Hindu leaders. It is, however, not clear whether they will make necessary changes, if any, to make it palatable for Hindus audiences.