French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, has held Deities of Hindus responsible for the deaths of COVID-19 patients on account of inadequate oxygen supply.
The latest edition of this weekly depicts many COVID-19 patients in distress, lying on the ground, gasping for oxygen. The catchphrase: "33 million Gods in India and not one capable of producing oxygen !".
This cartoon received a lot of criticism on social media. On the one hand, there are calls for an outright ban on the Charlie Hebdo, while on the other hand, there are compliments for being the epitome of freedom of expression.
One twitter user corrected Charlie Hebdo by sharing the correct number of Deities in Hindu Dharma - "It's 330 million, and not 33 million ! The Deities have taught us to never give up and to fight."
Another user said, "330 million Deities have their abode in the nature. Countries such as India blindly follow the West and cut down trees in the process. In Hindu Dharma, we worship the trees as Deities."
Devdutt Pattanaik said, "It is quite ironical that while the cartoons of
Prophet Muhammad received support amongst the devout Hindus who are now upset
over the comic depiction of their Deities."
As left liberals and the usual anti-Hindu propagandists cheered Charlie Hebdo's cartoons, some social-media users pointed out the hypocrisy of these 'left liberals', who were just a few months back attacking the same French magazine for publishing cartoons that were allegedly hurtful for Muslims, according to Op India.
The Sanatan Sanstha
The Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindutva group seeking Hindu nationalism in India, commented on its website:
Propagating inappropriate thoughts is worse than drawing cartoons. Devout Hindus would never tolerate this kind of callous attitude. We cannot brush aside this mockery as freedom of expression.
One may wonder what the weekly newspaper has to say in its defense with respect to the accusations of never criticizing the Church for proclaiming - "Your Heavenly Father would help".
Incorporation of 33 core Deities with distinct significations is a testament to the greatness of Hindu Dharma. Each discipline (such as dance, music, drawing and architecture) has a distinct designated Deity. For example, Deity Ganesh augments the vital energy in our body. Most of the Hindus are unaware of these elementary aspects as they lack the basic education on Dharma. This ignorance thus gets exploited by such newspapers.
COVID-19 death toll
India's COVID-19 tally crossed 24 million, reaching 24,046,809, on Friday with 343,144 new cases registered in the past 24 hours, the Indian health ministry said.
The death toll increased to 262,317 with 4,000 more deaths since Thursday morning.
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