Ads shows Hindu goddesses facing domestic violence


12:42 pm - September 6th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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More than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence – which is extraordinary for a country that claims to revere women and put them on a pedestal.

In fact, Indian culture features a variety of strong female goddesses that project power and strength (Durga, Kali) and others that bring knowledge (Saraswati) or prosperity (Lakshmi). It’s often asked that if there are such strong women characters in Hindu mythology and culture, why is violence against women so endemic? (I discuss this in my book btw).

Of course, domestic violence isn’t a problem just in India. In the UK around a quarter of women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, while one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.

Now, the NGO Save the Children in India is turning this on its head.

A new campaign called Save Our Sisters urges men and women to act if they see domestic violence before its too late.

Figures published last week said that one woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes (dowry is usually paid at marriage).

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The images feature three bruised Hindu goddesses: Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi.

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It says: “Pray that we never see this day. Today more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to”

The campaign was created by blending traditional hand-painted Indian art, using real models by Mumbai’s Taproot India advertising agency. It has already won multiple awards at ad festivals. (via Scoop Whoop)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Wow. I wonder if there will be any backlash, ‘blasphemy’ &ct?

Hinduism doesn’t have any concept of blasphemy. That’s a strictly Abrahamic thing.

I think this is an excellent tactic. It would be even better if they expanded on this approach to help tackle the rape epidemic in India.

TMISv2 @ 2

Hinduism doesn’t have any concept of blasphemy. That’s a strictly Abrahamic thing.

Yes, but that doesn’t stop extremists citing sacrelidge and insult to the Hindu faith. See the M.F. Hussain ‘Mother India’ affair, for example.

5. Is Mary a Virgin?

Also we could depict Holy Mother Mary, in the act of striptease or in a bikini, holding child Jesus in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, with dark mascaras clouding an already darkened eyes from drug abuse and alcohol addiction. And this having a caption of “Plight of Western Women” Next to this we could have a depiction of the Mohamad’s child wife Ayesha having a bullet hole in her forehead while holding a book and a pen in her hands. And this with a caption “Plight of Middle East Women” Shame on who ever has done this article abusing the images of Hindu Goddesses. This doesn’t in one bit show a genuine concern or outrage for the abused victims but the agenda behind such a kind of article is something more hideous. It is another form of rape. Cultural raping ! Shame on India Today for including such kind of article !

6. Is Mary a Virgin?

Also we could depict Holy mother Mary, in the act of striptease or in a bikini, holding child Jesus in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, with dark mascaras clouding an already darkened eyes from drug abuse and alcohol addiction. And this having a caption of “Plight of Western Women” Next to this we could have a depiction of the Mohamad’s child wife Ayesha having a bullet hole in her forehead while holding a book and a pen in her hands. And this with a caption “Plight of Middle East Women” Shame on who ever has done this article abusing the images of Hindu Goddesses. This doesn’t in one bit show a genuine concern or outrage for the abused victims but the agenda behind such a kind of article is something more hideous. It is another form of rape. Cultural raping ! Shame on India Today for including such kind of article !

I didn’t understand the purpose of this campaign. The team behind the same is not aware of the meaning of the symbolism of goddess Durga, Durga is the symbol of strongest woman, even stronger than men. And can destroy the evil. She can’t be helpless as shown in the visual. (If she is so helpless then why she is shown in ‘abhay mudra? ) if woman can be strong as ‘DURGA’ no one can dare to touch her.

Time has come the walrus said
to talk of many things
of shoes and ships and sealing wax
of cabbages and kings
– Lewis Carroll

First I don’t know how they reached at the figure 65% and what definition of domestic violence they are sticking to. But I do accept that women are not enjoying an equal status in the society and it disturbs to see their absence in various fields. Female infanticide, low female to male ratio, rape cases, dowry related atrocities, honor killing etc are the social ills that we see today in India. I hope with time and more active participation of people in such campaigns consciousness will grow. About blasphemy, I feel yes certain sections of our society will not like such portrayal of these goddesses. Nevertheless its high time to talk now.


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