Why is a Hindu temple like a Soho phonebox?


by Sunny
29th September, 2006 at 3:24 pm    

I’m not asking it, but an irate PP reader emails in pointing to this article in last week’s Times newspaper asking that silly question. Is there a better example of modern religious Orientalism? – ‘Ha ha, these Hindoooos with their pornographic temples are so funny’. There is just too much nonsense in that article to take apart.

However, our reader asks: “Are people going too far in the desperate attempt to test their rights for freedom of speech?” – Well, no. Going too far would be to incite violence or hatred against Hindus, this article does neither. So you can complain to the Times but the writer should have the right to their freedom of (uninformed) speech.

This ties in with something else. Some people are complaining against London’s Blag club using idols of Ganesh inside as decoration. [Hat tip: Rakhee]
As ever I think it’s important to understand the issues here.

1) People have the right to be offended.
2) They have the right to protest (peacefully), lobby or boycott the club in order to show their displeasure.
3) But just because you are offended does not give you the right to dictate how others should behave towards you.
4) Saying the other person should change their behaviour out of respect is appealing to their conscience. But if they don’t want to that is their democratic right. The point about freedom of expression in religion or politics is that it applies across the board and to everyone – not just those think they are in the right.
5) Hinduism is a lot more tolerant than is given credit for, even by many Hindus. There have been plenty of movements that rejected idols or embraced a completely non-ritualistic expression of the Vedas. People need to stop fantasising about the Al-Ghuaraaba crew when organising protests.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Civil liberties






24 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. Don — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

    Mr Kealey has a book coming out on this topic.

    The book

    Couldn’t be looking for a little cheap publicity, could he?

  2. Bert Preast — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

    Good find Don.

    “Sex, science and profits”, well two out of three ain’t bad.

  3. Vikrant Singh — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    “idol” IS a misnomer. Idolatry is worship of a stone in belief that the stone itself is god. Hindus worship murtis as symbols of God.

  4. sonia — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    Good point Vikrant.

  5. Clairwil — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

    Why didn’t he just write I saw some titty in a temple and it’s just too exciting not to share? As far as I could make out that seemed to be the point of the article.

    Next Week: Why is sitting next to a large breasted lady in church a bit like visiting Stringfellows?

  6. Bert Preast — on 29th September, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    Clairwil – is the answer “all you can see are tits”?

  7. Chris Stiles — on 29th September, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Sunny -


    Consequently, DNA testing has confirmed that upper- caste females in India are genetically indistinguishable from lower-caste females, because pretty hoi polloi girls have always been imported into the palaces. But the upper-caste males of India — who are the descendants of the Aryan conquerors of 5,000 years ago — have never allowed male proles to marry their daughters, and they remain genetically distinct. They have, therefore, retained the spoils of conquest for themselves and their sons.

    It would appear that the author of the article fails to grap basic biology.

  8. Don — on 29th September, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

    It seems the difference between print journalism and blogging is that on a reputable blog you are expected to know what you are talking about and provide references.

    Chris, that point semed odd to me, but I didn’t have time to get my head around it. Quite apart from the fact that it’s a wise child …

    Incidentally, I wonder what conclusions he would have drawn about the inhabitants of Newcastle based on their stone iconography;

    http://www.xlab.co.uk/images/vampire-rabbit.jpg

  9. soru — on 29th September, 2006 at 6:52 pm  

    It would appear that the author of the article fails to grap basic biology.

    Not necessarily, mitochondrial DNA is passed down through the maternal line, Y-chromosone DNA the paternal.

    See, for example:
    http://batzerlab.lsu.edu/Publications/Bamshad%20et%20al.%202001%20Genome%20Research.pdf

  10. ZinZin — on 29th September, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    Do they serve Burgers?

  11. sunray — on 29th September, 2006 at 9:51 pm  

    your article is stupid and racist as ever sunny.
    I dont know why you are preaching peace and tollerance when no violence or abuse has taken place.

    Im sure this is not what you preach the Muslims when they get offended.

    Im not sure which is worse, your pathetic article or the article in the the Times.

  12. squared — on 29th September, 2006 at 10:09 pm  

    I love that hindu temples can show the human body naked without feeling shame. They can show sex without shame.

    They can exhibit physical love without shame.

    In fact I love anyone who can do that.

    Shame over our bodies is a totally stupid emotion magnified by religions that tell you to cover up, and that writer’s just repressed.

    I’d say to him what I’d say to anyone who goes into an art gallery full of nudes and complains about pornography – get some fucking perspective.

  13. squared — on 29th September, 2006 at 10:10 pm  

    I dont know why you are preaching peace and tollerance when no violence or abuse has taken place.

    Im sure this is not what you preach the Muslims when they get offended.

    Do you actually read what sunny writes? :S

  14. Katy — on 29th September, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

    That is a very strange article – the one in the Times, that is. It doesn’t really seem to have a central argument. I can’t say that I read it as hostile to Hinduism, but then I couldn’t really work out what the point of it was at all so I could be wrong.

  15. Raju — on 30th September, 2006 at 8:55 am  

    A ‘rebuttal’ article I found on this subject:

    Why a Hindu temple is NOT like a Soho phonebooth:

    http://www.hinduvoice.co.uk/Issues/9/Soho.htm

  16. Chris Stiles — on 30th September, 2006 at 10:43 am  

    Don –


    Chris, that point semed odd to me, but I didn’t have time to get my head around it. Quite apart from the fact that it’s a wise child

    That’s largely because it’s nonsense. He’s saying that the child of an Aryan man and a non-Aryan woman would be pure Aryan if it was male and half Aryan and half non-Aryan if it was a female. This is even before we get to the dubious basis of the discredited Aryan invasion theory.

    The entire article read like one of those rants that the Times occasionally uses to pad out certain sections of their newspaper during quiet periods.

  17. Kismet Hardy — on 30th September, 2006 at 6:53 pm  

    ““idol” IS a misnomer. Idolatry is worship of a stone in belief that the stone itself is god. Hindus worship murtis as symbols of God.”

    Then so do Muslims. The Holy Kaba, last I checked, is big block of stone.

    Vikrant, you might know this but some people reckon the Kaba’s actually a Hindu temple:

    http://www.hinduism.co.za/kaabaa.htm

  18. sunray — on 30th September, 2006 at 9:06 pm  

    Ive heard rumours about there was a shivling at the site but this article goes about proving it is indeed a fact.

    from the link put up ^

    Glancing through some research material recently, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a reference to a king Vikramaditya inscription found in the Kaaba in Mecca proving beyond doubt that the Arabian Peninsula formed a part of his Indian Empire.

    The text of the crucial Vikramaditya inscription, found inscribed on a gold dish hung inside the Kaaba shrine in Mecca, is found recorded on page 315 of a volume known as ‘Sayar-ul-Okul’ treasured in the Makhtab-e-Sultania library in Istanbul, Turkey. Rendered in free English the inscription says:
    …………………………….

    this text exists in “Makhtab-e-Sultania library in Istanbul, Turkey”? Is this true?

    The whole article is amazing read.

  19. Don — on 1st October, 2006 at 12:25 am  

    Kismet,

    The guy also asserts that; ‘the Papacy was “a Vedic priesthood” until Constantine the Great killed the Vedic pope to replace him with the head of the hitherto unimportant Christian sect. This instantly ensured the Europe-wide triumph of Christianity because of the “sacred sway of the holy hoary Vedic priest known as the Shankaracharya”‘

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.N._Oak

  20. nydesi — on 1st October, 2006 at 6:29 am  

    “I love that hindu temples can show the human body naked without feeling shame. They can show sex without shame.

    They can exhibit physical love without shame.”

    word…

    sexual behavior/intimacy is an EXTREMELY important aspect of our lives-and thus they were included in scenes of everyday life.

    I do think westerners make a big deal about it mainly because religion and sexual behavior are totally separate in Abrahamic traditions.

  21. jp — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:43 am  

    Completely agree with nydesi in #20. I believe it all goes, either knowingly or unknowingly, back to Adam and Even in Genesis:

    002:025 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

    003:007 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

    From that point on, in the Abrahamic world, it became shameful to display anything to do with sex.

  22. Chris Stiles — on 1st October, 2006 at 1:58 pm  


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.N._Oak

    So basically he’s a Hindu version of the ‘Everything is indian’ chap from “Goodness Gracious Me”

  23. Vikrant Singh — on 1st October, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

    P.N Oak is basically a Hindu version of Zakir Naik.

  24. Sahil — on 2nd October, 2006 at 8:49 am  

    I do not get the times article. Is he trying to say that religions in general promote prostitution? Or is he saying that princes would use religion as a means to control trade and pretty girls for their own use? And for gods sake if he gets a boner from seeing statues (whilst many are artistically stunning) then he needs to get laid or something. CHeck out this article about dogmatic atheisism:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/theo_hobson/2006/09/secularism_must_reject_its_dan.html

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.