Friday, August 05, 2005

One Hindu-York minute??

Not that I had paid any particular attention to this blasphemy by italian designer Roberto Cavalli a year ago, which probably suggests one of two things (a) I am not a devout Hindu (b)I think fashion is fashion is fashion, and that any form of artistic expression (movies,paintings,fashion design) unless intentionally abusive/blasphemous etc, should not be forcefully revoked ;well one way or the other, I didnt really care back then.
Then I moved to New York City.Glitzy,Glamorous,Encompassing-it-all NYC.Everything goes. Everthing goes well within bounds and regulation, yet everything goes.The city that "signs off" on what qualifies as the haute couture.

Ok.So I amble into one of the new,upcoming 'hip' neighbourhoods of NYC.The Lower-East-Side. The once infamous, dingy, drugged, LES, now among the more hip, young, artsy neighbourhoods.As I settle in to Moby's TEANY for Scones and Earl Grey Tea, I watched as this tall, very well endowed young woman walked in.What do you know...our very own Shivji, the one whose almost life size picture hung in my grandmother's room till she lived, to whom my entire family bowed and worshipped lay nestled between this young lady's fabulous breasts,across her tank top, and spanned across her sexy, high butt.It was the very same picture, the blue sky behind, the serpent on his head, the half closed eyes, the raised hand...everything.

I bet this lady had never had anybody stare at her assets with as much horror and dismay as I did that day..but then..why ?

Sharma, a relegious public relations officer argues and I quote ..
"As an Italian and most likely from a Catholic background, I wonder if he would have even considered putting a saint or the image of Mother Mary on a bikini,?" Did Nirvana not have the bible on the lead singer's crotch ? But that said, I started pondering over a bigger question, while I am neither an atheist but I am not exactly very relegious either,yet I can't help wondering why I felt queasy when I saw Lord Shiva resting on the lady's butt and breasts? Is it because this reverence got inculcated in me, by seeing my parents, grandparents bow to this picture ?

On the other hand,Indian designs,fashion and fabrics, shoes are all becoming fashion statements in New York. Glory be to the Mira Nair's,Gurinder Chada's and New York's own Vikram Chatwal who appeared in 'The Vogue' for glamourising the Sikh Turban, and the relegious Sikh tattoos!!(Perks include getting to party with none other than Paris Slutty Hilton !!!)

Guess religion just showed up in the couture along with everything else ! I think the reason lies in the fact that the Gods of few other religions are done up as ornately as the Hindu Gods.The jewellery,the clothes,the colors might be mundane and every-day for us,but for designers here it seems to be a great blend color and design. Its glamorous, its hip, urban and bohemian.Probably the reason why an upscale garments store in SoHo,NYC, with all French women as the Sales people, looked like the Mandir close to my home in India, replete with the picture of Shri Krishna-Radha on a raised platform and the old family pictures of an Indian household. The clothesline at this store was of the skimpy, all-skin-net variety as well, and as I have known it, Shri Krishna just didnt fit in.
[My dear freind however argued, that the store probably belonged to a Gujju whose enterprising son thought this might pass of as 'cool' especially since they chose SoHo as their location...honestly, I dont know about that!]

Should we be proud or should we be offended ? Is this intentionally derogatory ? Should religion be tied so much to respect that we cannot keep that respect to ourselves and have to stop the Roberto Covalli's from 'glamorising' the religion ahead of time, without even really intending to do so ?


At 1:08 PM, Blogger GREATBONG said...

It is symptomatic of Western perception of Hinduism ---cow-worshippers with ornate exotic Gods who never protest at anything hurled at them. Try putting a picture of Muhammed (an imaginary portrayal) and there would be a fatwa on their heads before you could say "Booty".

George W Bush celebrates Islamic festivals in the White House but when it came to Diwali it is given a miss. Official reason: "Hinduism is religion-specific and not country-specific"....HELLO ? Does Id/Christmas/Hanukkah sound country-specific?

As an aside...could we see more pictures of this blasphemy?

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Bubbled said...

Welcome to my blog! (Haa, atlast! :))..somehow or so, Hinduism is supposed to be the more 'convenient' of religions.
While you have so many Christians and Muslims 'marketing' and 'pitching' their religion to gather more 'supporters'(which kind of makes it less of religion and more of a cult of some sort, interesting..), we (hindus) dont pitch for our religion.
Religion is a way of life, and in that, I think our Geeta does a fine job! It does not dictate any thing presumptuous about the religion itself, it only sort of advocates following some 'best practices'.
That said, lets have something from you on this on your blog !

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Bubbled said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger GREATBONG said...

Yes its something I have wanted to blog Hinduism is not a "religion" in the conventional sense of the word---it is an identity.

Incidentally on a diff note, remember you saying that its ok to go upto a woman and introduce you to her. Well evidently not. The Blank Noise Project (google this term) says that walking upto a woman and wanting to talk to her is harassment.


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