Incredible India scandalized by a movie poster, again!

Of all the nations of the world, there is perhaps no other nation as diverse as India. Be it language, customs, traditions or even religion, the level of diversity is simply staggering.

Take the example of the Hindus. While nearly 80% of Indians are Hindus, the form and manner in which they practice Hinduism varies by geography. A Hindu from Punjab welcomes the new year differently than a Hindu from Tamil Nadu or Bengal. Not only does the way they celebrate a single festival vary, but some festivals are celebrated on different days across the country. While Bengali New Year, also called Nobo Borsho, is celebrated on the first day of the first month of Baisakh, the people of Gujarat celebrate the same festival one day after Diwali.

It’s not just about celebrating a festival, but there are times when Indians contradict their own mythology. Even in the 21st century, women in many parts of the country are not allowed to enter temples or attend religious functions while menstruating. A myth that women are impure during their period is still believed to be true. Meanwhile, at the same time, the people of Assam celebrate a menstruating goddess. The Kamakhya Devi temple located in Assam has no idol and the place witnesses the celebration of the annual menstrual cycle of the goddess.

It is safe to assume that a wide variety of customs and traditions define Hinduism for different people. There are no two identical versions. What may seem unreasonable to a person from North India may be perfectly logical to an individual from Bengal. However, our country has often been involved in conflicts on several occasions. Let’s take a recent example. A poster of a documentary, “Kaali”, which was posted on Twitter not only enraged netizens, but an FIR against filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, producer Asha and editor Shrawan Onachan was also filed by police in Uttar Pradesh. The poster which shows Maa Kaali (Goddess Kaali) smoking a cigarette has offended many across the country. Several people took to social media and claimed the poster hurt their religious feelings. Although many people also believed that everyone was free to open up their thoughts and ideas, a movie poster made headlines.

However, this is not the first time that an incident like this has offended a particular group of people. An FIR was filed after a Netflix series, A Suitable, released in 2020, showed a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl in a temple. Madhya Pradesh police registered the FIR, filed by BJP youth leader Gaurav Tiwari, for allegedly hurting religious feelings. It wasn’t the only time a simple scene was accused of hurting religious feelings. There have been many similar cases in the past too. Screening of the film ‘Oh My God’, released in September 2012, was halted in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and other locations in Punjab following a protest alleging the film made derogatory references to the Hindu gods.

In the end, it all boils down to one question: aren’t we mature enough yet to accept the fact that people’s idea of ​​following a religion may differ from our idea of ​​the same? Is our idea of ​​God so narrow that a simple poster or movie scene can shake our beliefs?