Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 29, 2011 — 27 Comments

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • In your Hindu coverage you overlooked the recent very high profile intimidation campaign waged by the Forum for Hindu Awakening (the same folks who, along with Rajan Zed, went after Sacred Source last Summer). This story has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, the Seattle Post Intelligencer

    The Forum for Hindu Awakening succeeded in preventing a public showing, in New York City, of the film “Sita Sings the Blues”, an animated film by Nina Paley based loosely on the ancient Sanskrit classic the Ramayana. This was not only a very ugly turn of events, but it was something new on the American religious scene.

    When a bunch of Christian fundamentalist tried to shout down Rajan Zed as he delivered the opening prayer in the US Senate back in 2007, they failed to silence Zed. Now Zed’s associates at the Forum for Hindu Awakening have successfully shouted down a fellow Hindu who wanted to hold a public showing of a film based on an Indian classic.

    • Sita Sings the Blues is a fantastic film, I wish it was able to be shown here.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Thank you for providing links, Apuleius.

      Jason, I agree with Apuleius that, if you think events in the Hindu-American world are important enough to cover in The Wild Hunt, the antics of the Forum for Hindu Awareness deserve mention.

      • In my opinion the Forum for Hindu Awakening is highly unrepresentative of Hinduism and Hindus. But together with Rajan Zed they have proven to be spectacularly successful in promoting themselves in the public eye far beyond any semblance of their actual significance. And they have begun to be taken increasingly seriously (in a positive light) within the Hindu community itself based on the success of their rabid self-promotion campaigns on teh interwebs.

        There is a real pattern here that doesn’t stop with censorship and intimidation, but includes explicit approval for acts of religiously inspired violence on the Forum for Hindu Awakening’s website.

        “Sita Sings the Blues” has been shown many times in the US and around the world, and there is nothing new in some Hindus not appreciating this movie. What is new is that an American based Hindu group has succeeded in shutting down a public showing of this film not just in the US, but in New York freaking City. And the showing was being organized by a Hindu-American!

        I tend to be sympathetic toward the Hindutva movement (including the BJP, the VHP, RSS and also figures like Narendra Modi) and I have in the past and will in the future challenge claims about “Hindu fundamentalism” which in 99.9% of the cases is a completely bogus idea. But, sadly, these jokers are the real deal.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Apuleius, I just strolled through the FHA website — skimmed, really — and found it edifying. I loved the line “Lisa Blue takes down offensive swimsuit” and appreciated FHA sharing a picture of said suit.

          Seems to me FHA combines serious discomfort at the erotic lushness of pre-Mogul Hindu culture (comparable to Christian discomfort at the Song of Solomon), with discovery of the power of censorious rallying in American society. In the latter they are catching up with the Legion of Decency, Women Against Pornography and the Harry Potter haters.

          What I didn’t spot was any approval of religious violence. Could you be specific on that point, please?

          • I think you have them pretty well pegged, Baruch. I read a very succinct description of the FHA recently: “They look like a group of Hindus who feel inspired by the Catholic League.”

            As far as sourcing goes, I just did a blog post linking to two FHA articles (one from April, and one from last week) that praise anti-Christian mob violence in the state of Maharashtra in India: Hindu Intimidation Campaign Stops Film Showing In New York City.

            The violence involved includes three separate cases of physical assault, one book burning, and one act of vandalism against a car (belonging to one of the assault victims). Two of the physical assaults were against groups of people, and one of those took place in a private residence that had been forcibly entered by the Hindu mob involved. The praise one finds for these acts of violence at the FHA website must be remembered when one reads their warning that if the film showing was not canceled “we would be forced to intensify our protests.”

          • Charles Cosimano

            Well, that was New York. It would be fun to arrange a showing here by heavily armed Christians.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            They sound like religious storm troopers all right, by their own testimony. And while they may not yet have pulled anything like that in the USA, their rhetoric clearly carries a threat of that if they aren’t obeyed within the Hindu-American community.

    • I haven’t overlooked it. Some stories take longer to develop.

      • I just noticed that the Forum for Hindu Awakening is still targeting Sacred Source! Link: Perturbed Hindus ask for immediate recall of inapropriate statues of Hindu deities.

        This is currently listed on their website as a “protest in progress”. In fact, it is close to the top (third) of their list of “protests” against “instances of denigration”. (look here)

        Especially after the recent discussion of how Christians love to portray themselves as the victims, it is more obvious than ever that these folks at the “Forum for Hindu Awakening” are modeling themselves on the American Religious Right.

    • Hinduism Today actually ran a fairly positive multi-page article on that movie. I personally thought the animation looked pedestrian and have never seen it. But yeah…this is a case of being overly “butthurt,” and probably does more (in the long run) to promote the thing than actually stop it…

    • The intimidation campaign being waged by the “Forum for Hindu Awakening” against the film “Sita Sings the Blues” did not stop with the cancelation of the film’s scheduled showing on July 21 at Brooklyn’s Starlight Pavilion. The “Forum” was enraged that the film was shown anyway in a private residence that evening. They went after the man whose home it was shown in, demanding that he make a public apology, which he did under pressure from the group (which has used its website to praise acts of religiously inspired mob violence in India). This weekend the “Forum” organized pickets on the other side of the US, at a museum in San Jose that showed “Sita Sings the Blues” (the San Jose Museum of Art) on Saturday.

      This is a genuinely new phenomenon in the US: reactionary Hindu bigots taking a page from the Moral Majority’s playbook. Obviously everyone should be free to express their opinions about this film or any other film. But campaigns to silence artistic expression in the name of protecting a religion from being “offended” need to be opposed without exception. I think it is especially important for Pagans who feel a strong affinity for the Hindu religion to make it clear that we can have nothing whatsoever to do with this kind of thuggery.

  • EdthePagan

    I love these round-ups. They are great.

  • I wish I would be able to make it, but unfortunately, it’s a long trek from here to CA. Best wishes to the Conference; I hope it is a success.

  • Jason, didn’t you KNOW that the Christians invented the concept of evil and wrongdoing!? Where would we benighted pagans and heathens BE without their heavenly wisdom and their commandments!? 😉

    • Guest

      There for a minute I read that as “didn’t you KNOW that the Christians invented evil and wrongdoing”. Coffee helps…

      • Pagan Puff Pieces

        It’s funny. Norway gets caught off guard, losing their innocence, so to speak, and a flood of “They should be more like us. This shows it,” comes over the internet (then again, this IS the internet, a most wretched hive of scum and villainy).

        …but the state of the country up until now is nothing to ponder. Nope, not at all.

    • Anonymous

      Colson was a dishonest, scumsucking piece of garbage who helped a corrupt president commit numerous illegal acts and got prison time (and not nearly enough) for it. This was the guy who actually authored Nixon’s enemies list and who even proposed firebombing the Brookings Institution to Nixon. If you are such a person, it is a great comfort to be told, as Christians will, that all mankind are “fallen” and thus have just as perverse a nature as you do. One can almost pity him. For a broken man like him, Christianity may seem the only way. His advice on how we are to deal with the horrors of the world is best viewed as the whimperings of a broken man than as something worth taking seriously.

  • There’s an early bird special for registration for the Conference online. $40 for the morning and afternoon sessions. That will not include lunch, but luncheon is only $15.

  • Congrats to the Hindus of Hamtramck – Jai Mā Durga!

    Love the NPR piece “How to Photograph Hindu Deities.” Reminds me of the Pierre and Gilles photograph of Nina Hagen as Mā Kali :

    • Moggie_cat

      Nina Hagan as Kali…I always loved that picture!

      • Moggie_cat

        Hagen…typo, sorry.

  • Congrats to the Hindus of Hamtramck – Jai Mā Durga!

    Love the NPR piece “How to Photograph Hindu Deities.” Reminds me of the Pierre and Gilles photograph of Nina Hagen as Mā Kali :

  • Mr Willow

    “without [a] Christian understanding of fallen human nature, the people of Norway are left in mourning, but without an explanation for the horror that has befallen them.”

    Wait. . . the horror that has befallen them came about because of Christianity. Perhaps it should be considered that Christianity itself is responsible for ‘fallen human nature’.