Hindus have urged Sony Corporation to withdraw the newly released “Hanuman: Boy Warrior” video game for PlayStation2, saying it trivializes the highly revered deity of Hinduism.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the destiny of Lord Hanuman while in reality the believers put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating Lord Hanuman with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Lord Hanuman was not meant to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to solidify company/products base in the growing economy of India.
Rajan Zed further said that as a PlayStation2 video game, Lord Hanuman would be in the company of America's 10 Most Wanted, Bad Boys, Barbie, Britney's Dance Beat, First Kiss Stories, Guitar Freaks, Jackass, Killer7, Looney Tunes, Mafia, Mercenaries, Midnight Club, Mister Mosquito, Nicktoons, Psychonauts, Scooby Doo, Truckers, etc.
Zed explained that Lord Hanuman was greatly revered and his worship was very popular among Hindus and there were numerous temples dedicated to him. Son of wind-god, besides incredible strength and changing shape at will and flying, he was believed to be a perfect grammarian, great scholar and excelled in all the sciences. According to a legend, even while he was still an infant, he intimidated the sun. In Mahabharata war, flag on Arjuna’s chariot driven by Lord Krishna displayed Lord Hanuman. According to a belief, all the planets were under his control.
Rajan Zed pointed out that as Sony was said to be a socially responsible and ethical corporation, it would effectively understand the feelings of Hindu community on this issue. According to PlayStation Network website: “This game is a “growing up” story of Hanuman, where he starts as a powerless being and regains his powers through the game.”
Zed suggested that India and all other countries of the world should come up with national content rating organizations for video games as these seriously affected the outlook and thought process of our next generation. Till India came up with such organization, Central Board of Film Certification should be given the authority of rating and deciding whether the particular video game was suitable for public distribution in India.
Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encouraged peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people.
Hindus welcomed entertainment industry to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed. Hindus would gladly provide genuine entertainment industry seekers the resources they needed for their study and research regarding Hinduism, Zed stated.
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 plundered, Rajan Zed said.
Sony, founded in 1946, one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world with consolidated annual sales of about $89 billion, is headquartered in Tokyo (Japan). Howard Stringer is the Chairman.