Community protests CNN’s weird version of Hinduism

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CNN protest in Chicaogo downtown addressed by Dr Bharat Barai.

CHICAGO: Members of Hindu community at large across the world have been so much enraged and upset at a blatant and one sided version of Hinduism aired during a documentary by CNN three weeks ago that there are protests and protests against CNN everywhere, and the Chicagoland community could not be an exception.

There was a simmering of anger and a strong urge for action on the part of the enlightened community members here to make CNN officials aware that their ill conceived documentary had hugely hurt the religious feelings and beliefs of millions of followers of this oldest religion and that they should take steps to discipline the person responsible for creating this documentary for reasons best known to him.

To voice their grievances and anger, hundreds of demonstrators braved rains and inclement weather on Sunday March 26 and staged peaceful demonstration in front of CNN office in Chicago Downtown. The near two hours long march and demonstration was so peaceful and organized despite seething anger that even a members of the Chicago Police paid compliment to organizers for not letting emotions get better of reason.

Members of the Indian community from far and wide, not only from Chicagoland but also from neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin, came to participate forgetting all their differences of , caste , creed, class, gender, or regional affiliations. Their sole aim was to have their voice heard at the right quarters in CNN so that either they come out with a corrected version or do not repeat the same mistake again in future

Reza Aslan from CNN, who claims to be the religious scholar, went to Banaras, India and showed most weird and grotesque practices of select five individuals: eating human flesh,

drinking alcohol and urine from skull as portrayal for over a billion practitioners of Hinduism while projecting them as fighters against Hindu caste system. Without consulting any authority or a scholar, he painted a completely inaccurate and unsubstantiated picture of Hinduism.

Hinduism is a religion, or a way of life found most notably in India and Nepal. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Santana Dharma, “the eternal law,” or the “eternal way, beyond human origins. Today 1.25 billion Hindus all over the world comprise world-renowned scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, businessmen, medical doctors, engineers, software engineers, accounting professionals and so on.

Dr Bharat Barai, senior community leader stated, “Instead of trying to show all positives elements of Hinduism, it showed extreme and cannibalistic practices of only five individuals as Hinduism. The grotesque practices of five individuals have nothing to do with Hinduism; they are not part of any Hindu scriptures or Hindu teachings. The caste system was based on the profession, not birth when it started 5000 years ago. After Independence, Hindu society in India has been reforming itself. The Constitution of India treats everyone as equal and in fact the so-called Dalits today enjoy special opportunities in education, employment and elected bodies.”

“CNN and Reza Aslan have responsibility to make accurate, fair and balanced presentation on any topic. This was a highly biased and extreme presentation to sensationalize the practices of few isolated people as Hinduism. CNN and Reza Aslan had plenty of resources available to know about over billion Hindus worldwide, their scriptures, their practices and their real lives.” said Dr Shamkant Sheth, President of VHPA-Chicago. He demanded CNN to consult the scholars and immediately apologize for this gross blunder.

The protest was actively supported and attended by many highly respected community leaders including Shalabh Kumar, Vandana Jhingan, Krishna Bansal, Hemant Patel, Jitendra Diganvker, Jitendra Bulsara, Sailesh Rajput, Amitabh Mittal, Nirav Patel, Shridhar Damle, Amar Upadhya, Haribhai Patel, Narsibhai Patel, Ramanbhai Patel, Santosh Kumar, Hina Trivedi, Sunil Shah, and many more.
Suresh Bodiwala also contributed to this report

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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