‘Kaali’ poster row: Canadian museum regrets offence caused to Hindu community

(ANI): The Toronto-based Aga Khan Museum, which landed in trouble for the inappropriate depiction of Hindu Gods, has expressed deep regret for “inadvertently causing offence” to members of the Hindu and other faiths.

In a statement, the museum said Toronto Metropolitan University brought together works from students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, as part of Canadian multiculturalism for the project ‘Under the Tent.’ The museum said one of 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu community.

“Toronto Metropolitan University’s project presentation was hosted at the Aga Khan Museum in the context of the Museum’s mission to foster intercultural understanding and dialogue through the arts. Respect for diverse religious expressions and faith communities forms an integral part of that mission,” the statement.

“The Museum deeply regrets that one of the 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post have inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu and other faith communities,” it added.
Indian High Commission on Monday urged Canadian authorities to withdraw the disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods showcased as part of the ‘Under the Tent’ project at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto.

“We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw all such provocative material,” the Indian High Commission in Canada said in a statement.

A poster for a documentary directed by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has drawn flak on social media for hurting religious sentiments with the depiction of Goddess Kaali.

The Madurai-born, Toronto-based filmmaker had earlier taken to Twitter to share a poster of her film which depicted a woman dressed in a costume portraying the Goddess and smoking. A flag of the LGBT community is seen in the background. “Our Consulate General in Toronto has conveyed these concerns to the organizers of the event. We are also informed that several Hindu groups have approached authorities in Canada to take action,” the release added.

Meanwhile, Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has landed in legal trouble after a police complaint was filed against her for hurting religious sentiments through a poster of her documentary ‘Kaali’.

The portrayal of Goddess Kali in the poster did not go down well with a section of social media users who have demanded the poster be withdrawn. Some even demanded strict action against her and the hashtag ‘#ArrestLeenaManimekal’ is trending on Twitter.

Activist Rahul Easwar has called it a “hate poster” and stated that “this is spreading hate against the Hindu community and defaming our deities.”

Speaking to ANI regarding the controversy, Easwar said, “Liberty comes along with sensitivity, freedom comes along with responsibility, can we live in the world without being sensitive, respectful and responsible? What happened with the Kali poster is that Leena created a hate poster against Hindu community. She’s purposefully demeaning, defaming one of the most revered deities of Hindus, Kaali Maa.”