Hindu community petition against Australian newspaper’s ‘blatant insult of Hindu God Ganesha’

Hindu community in Australia has started a petition against the recent representation of Hindu God Ganesha in a cartoon that appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 4th May 2021.

According to the petition by Gaurav Chauhan, “Australia is a multi-cultural society, and no one has the right to disrespect any faith or religion.” 

It further says that “The Daily Telegraph have insulted Hindu God (Ganesha) which is utterly disrespectful to the faith of Hindus living in Australia and abroad. There are many ways to depict something but why insult someone’s faith?”

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Image source: The Daily Telegraph.

This cartoon appears with an article titled ‘Get our friends home’ (and has been republished elsewhere as ‘The government is preventing its citizens escaping India’s hellhole‘) authored by Louise Roberts.

Image source: Louise Roberts – The Daily Telegraph – website.

The article highlights the plight of Indian-Australians stuck in India due to COVID19 pandemic.

“We need to stop the zero risk mentality. We are stuck on an elimination track, like a needle in the grove of an LP record.”

The petitioners have demanded an apology on the insensitive cartoon that accompanies this piece in the Daily Telegraph.

They have also requested all Australian media houses “to educate their staff about Hindu faith to avoid such things in the future.”

They have also request the Australian Press Council to intervene that such cartoons and articles are not published in future.

The petitioners feel that the APC needs to “et clear guidelines to ban the publishing of Hindu God/Goddess imagery in the wrong way which is insulting to the Hindus around the globe.”

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The petition has set a target of 1,500 signatures and has reached 1,014.

Adelaide based Rajendra Pandey is the President of Vishva Hindu Parishad in South Australia.

He told The Australia Today, “While the article written by Louise Roberts is by itself fine the editor who put it together with the crass sense of humour has hurt the sentiments of close to a million people in Australia who pray to Bhagwan Ganesha.”

Screenshot VHP Facebook page

Government is willing to jail people coming from India, the media is calling India Hell and showing our most important god being whacked on the head – I wonder what’s next, said Mr Pandey

This is a great example of how lack of cultural awareness of Hindu beliefs can hurt the sentiments of our community, I am offering our services to Daily Telegraph in giving them free cultural awareness training to educate their journalists about the Hindu perspective and beliefs.”

People have reacted strongly to this cartoon and commented the following:

The petitioners have requested the Indian community in Australia to sign and forward the petition to local MPs for immediate action.

Australian Hindu Temples Council’s convenor Karthik Arasu says this cartoon is the best example of Hinduphobic, ignorant and culturally insensitive Australian media.

Karthik Arasu, Convenor, Australian Hindu Temples Council

“It’s deeply disturbing to see time and again Hindu God Ganesha being mocked or used in a derogatory manner. This can’t be brushed under as humour or ignorance, we condemn this very strongly and call upon the Author and the Newspaper to immediately withdraw from all platforms its posted this article and apologise to the community.”

Mr Arasu further explained, “This Hinduphobia or Hindu bashing cannot continue, we request the Press Council to intervene and impose mandatory training programs to understand cultural and religious sensitivities.”

Yadu Singh is the President of the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW.
He took it to social media to express his displeasure with the cartoon.

“The cartoon, depicted in your article, is about Hiundus’ revered deity Ganesh. It appears to be inappropriate, insensitive, hurtful & out of place under the current distressful situation in India, which also affects the Indian Australian community”