Background Information / Press Release
DRINKING, DANCING DEITIES: AN ATTACK ON HINDU DHARMA
The latest trend in the Indian-American subculture is the rise of the Indian-theme bar and nightclub a place that combines Hindu deities and Indian art with the drinking of liquor, smoking, and dancing to the latest Western music. The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition (AHADC) is shocked at this misuse of sacred Hindu symbols to promote nightclubs and alcohol-serving establishments.
The latest club to follow this trend was opened in Chicago in early August by a partnership of two Indians and one American. This club features an extravagant display of religious icons in compromising environments: for example, pictures of Lord Shiva and Krishna intermixed with pictures of men and women in “sexy” outfits occupy the wall of a bar, behind a number of bottles of liquor. A giant Shiva Nataraja stands in the midst of a smoke-filled dance floor, the same symbol that is sacredly worshipped in temples and homes of Hindus everywhere. A man wearing a mask with three heads that appears to represent Lord Brahma is scantily clad and dancing erotically on a pedestal, seducing the patrons to this “exotic environment”. And a statue of Lord Ganesha beckons people into the club the same God that bestows an auspicious entrance to temples everywhere. The underlying theme here that is upsetting to many is the presence of symbols of holiness and purity within environments that are far less than holy and pure.
AN EROTIC DANCER WITH 3 HEADS–IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE OUR WISE LORD BRAHMA?
Many Hindus and non-Hindus alike have frowned at what is seen as a sacrilegious attempt to profit from exoticism. A university student who wishes to remain anonymous, had this to say: “Placing icons in a club implies that it is okay to associate worldly pleasure with divine bliss. The Nataraj, Ganesh, etc. are aids to help one destroy, not strengthen, one s worldly attachments. This act tells me that these people are ignorant and blind of a true understanding of Hinduism.” A friend added, “This clearly shows that a Hindu s worst enemy is a Hindu. If we have no respect for ourselves, how do we expect others to respect our rich tradition?” One young non-Hindu businessman who attended the club on its opening night declared, “You would never go into a Western club and find people dancing around a statue of Christ. A Muslim would not think twice about placing any art in a club reflecting any ideal of Islam.”
SHIVA NATARAJA STANDS TALL AMIDST A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM OF DANCING, DRINKING PEOPLE IGNORANT OF ITS HOLINESS.
An overwhelming majority of those interviewed feel that the owners of this nightclub, named Karma, have gone too far by misrepresenting and exploiting Hindu culture and religion. Their sentiment is for all to take action against this act because “if we do not, we are passively accepting this denigration of our culture.” One of the owners, Srinivas “Sarin” Reddy, who spear-headed the formation of this club, could not be contacted by phone despite repeated attempts. There is also another Karma club in Boston which is raising similar conflict. Certainly, then, this issue is of concern to Indians and non-Indians everywhere. The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition (AHADC) promises to take action against this club and urges all Hindu temples, organizations, and individuals to join its efforts in countering the trend of denigrating Hindu dharma for profits.