Hindus Upset Over Asura's Wrath

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Hindus Upset Over Asura's Wrath

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The Universal Society of Hinduism is "upset" about Asura's Wrath, saying the game trivializes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion.

I don't know much about Hinduism or Asura's Wrath, but a quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that the game "takes elements from Hindu mythology and blends them with science fiction." I guess that would explain why Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, is none too happy with the game. In a press release, Zed said that "such trivializing and reimagining of highly revered symbols and concepts of Hinduism was not okay as it is upsetting for the devotees."

Durga, the murdered wife of Asura in Asura's Wrath, is actually a major Hindu deity who destroyed the buffalo-demon Mahisasura, a well-known asura - a power-seeking deity mostly living in ancient South India, again according to Wiki, sometimes considered sinful and materialistic. Zed acknowledged that freedom of expression is "important" but added that faith is sacred, and game developers should be more sensitive when dealing with such matters. If developers cannot "accurately and authentically deliver religious imagery and symbolism," he said, then they should not "unnecessarily poke into religion."

"No faith, large or small, should be plundered," Zed said. Refreshingly, he did not threaten an international boycott of Capcom, Sony, Microsoft or anyone else; instead, he said that he or other Hindu scholars "would gladly provide genuine seekers from [the] videogames industry the resources they needed for their study and research regarding Hinduism."

Hinduism is the oldest and third-largest of the world's major religions, with an estimated one billion adherents around the world. Asura's Wrath has a Metacritic score of 73, and is available now for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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I'm not particularly religious, so I always find it odd that some people who are get so easily offended about it. By this I mean that there are things that I hold in high regard but I don't really care if other people dislike them or disrespect them. But it seems that people are especially touchy when it come to matters of belief.

So they're not upset that the game was bad?

Either way, don't tell them about Digital Devil Saga, they'll have a breakdown.

I read the title as hine-duhs. I was like "WTF is a Hine-duh?". Then I realized how stupid I am /facepalm...

OT: I'm fairly sure that Asura's Wrath isn't 100% associated with hinduism, so they can't really be that pissed off about it...

Okay. Asura's Wrath has us covered on Hinduism. Games like Dante's Inferno and Darksiders incorporate elements from Christianity. Prince of Persia takes at least a few superficial elements from Islam. Games have been borrowing from the ideas of Buddhist monks & Tao philosophy for years. Pokemon is essentially Shinto, and every robots-fighting-humanity story borrows from the Jewish folktale of the Rabbi's golem.

We need a game based off of Scientology if we want to be thorough on this.

Really? Is this really something to get upset about?

Silly Hindus.

Well, knew it was going to piss someone off with the religious based content.

Though considering several of the things on Wiki about Durga, the one in Asura's Wrath is easily one of the most butchered interpretations ive ever seen of a deity.

Hal10k:
Prince of Persia takes at least a few superficial elements from Islam.

The 2008 game pretty directly took a lot from Zoroastrianism, actually. That's not something you see every day.

All they're asking for is for fair portrayal in the media.

No one is "upset", they just want ideologies to be portrayed as they are, not as a loose collection of superficial symbolism and stereotypes. Hinduism (and religion in general) is a big thing, and understanding it properly is a big step towards understanding a lot of people.

This guy's right, all faiths deserve respect. As a Viking descendent I was greatly offended by Too Human.

Shhh no one mention final fantasy to them or else there going to be PIIIIISED

'the game trivializes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion.'

The game takes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion and makes them awesome.

I can understand being upset by this, but at the same time, it's nothing remotely new...every religion has pretty much been raided and tossed about for visuals and etc. It seems to be a bit late in the game to start complaining...

Mr C:
This guy's right, all faiths deserve respect. As a Viking descendent I was greatly offended by Too Human.

I'll raise a flagon to that. I too was greatly offended by how crap it was and how Baldur was portrayed as a slowass mothers bo-...nevermind. Totally accurate. Carry on.

oldtaku:
'the game trivializes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion.'

The game takes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion and makes them awesome.

How? By removing all of the meaning associated with the symbols and using them in a superficial manner?

What's this? A leader in a religion giving a tempered and intelligent response? Don't wake me from the dream!

But yeah, all joking aside, I see what he's getting at, but I personally don't see the point in getting uspet over it at all, course I'm not a Hindu or really very religious at all. But at least he's not boycotting and demanding stuff and is actually providing a rational solution. His response is very refreshing.

Dumbest thing I've read all day. Is it so hard to just ignore things?

Mr C:
This guy's right, all faiths deserve respect. As a Viking descendent I was greatly offended by Too Human.

I think everyone was offended by Too Human

O, go bonk yourself Zed.

This coming from a society with a caste system, forced arranged marriages, and has folks bathing in a river so polluted it makes the sewage pipes near Fox News look like they've been run through a Brita Filter.

It's not like AW was making fun of Hinduism/Indians (SEE: The Simpson's) or abusing & twisting some of the iconography (SEE: Nazi's).

Zed needs to get his panties out of their bunch and chill.

I understand how most people could consider this to be trivial, but I can also see how some Hindus could be bothered.

More often than not, High Fantasy or Sci Fi plot design seems to work with a kitchen sink approach to flesh out the initially laid-out world. Tolkien liberally borrowed from Celtic and Norse mythology for Lord of the Rings, everyone knows how Narnia's steeped in Judeo-Christian symbolism and more often than not, Japanese developers tend to sprinkle elements from Shinto into some of their JRPG plots. It probably comes across as giving a more grounded feel to the game's plot, at least from the point of view of a Japanese audience. The same happens when they borrow from Christian iconography, which happens very, very often.

Religion is a cultural product. It shifts in shape and tone as time passes. It makes sense for us to try and pluck elements from it and to try and insert it into new mediums, seeing as we've been doing that pretty much forever. It creates new areas where these faiths can reach new audiences - people that normally wouldn't be touched.

So in essence, it's sad that Asura's Wrath butchered Hinduism, but that alteration process at least has the merit of garnering interest in Hinduism to begin with, which is what matters most. People who are honestly interested and who want to learn more about that religion are likely to use the game as a drop-off point and start their own research from there.

In an ideal world, nobody would ever feel the need to spin religion around at all. Nobody's faith would ever be bothered, and beliefs held sacred wouldn't be open to reinterpretation. The fact is, however, that since none of the above is likely to happen any time soon, it creates a living, breathing ground for reception and interpretation - which is actually what's needed for religions to survive.

Taking a mythology and making it go out of whack is one thing; but reinterpreting or revisiting it - while creating interest in the same process - is another.

Maybe Zed and the dev team should really talk this over, maybe over a burger or someth... oops :P

usmarine4160:
Maybe Zed and the dev team should really talk this over, maybe over a burger or someth... oops :P

Now that there was purposeful insensitivty as a joke :p.

See, I would be very interested to see what his notion of 'accurately and authentically deliver religious imagery and symbolism' is, because such a vague description could mean anything from a in-game lecture on Hinduism to a propaganda piece. In terms of Asura's Wrath, I have no problem with it. They took some religious symbolism and used it as a part of their narrative structure. It's counter to the actual teachings of Hinduism, but so what? Religious symbolism has constantly be used in media for concepts other then the religious intentions (Look at George R.R. Martin's work, his religions borrow heavily from actual faiths like Catholicism). I mean, you can argue that it was used poorly in regards to the narrative, but rejecting it out of hand because it didn't fulfill the exact specifications of what the religion entails is a pretty poor reason.

Case in point, how many Christian anime viewers are upset that this cross is filled with guns?

Probably not many. Cause Wolfwood is awesome.

Hal10k:
We need a game based off of Scientology if we want to be thorough on this.

Dead Space?

oldtaku:
'the game trivializes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion.'

The game takes the symbols and concepts of the Hindu religion and makes them awesome.

Exactly whats the point of all those temple guardians and having so many arms with spears and swords if you're just going to stand in door ways and on alters.

Formica Archonis:

Hal10k:
We need a game based off of Scientology if we want to be thorough on this.

Dead Space?

Not enough spaceborne B-52s.

Dasick:
No one is "upset", they just want ideologies to be portrayed as they are, not as a loose collection of superficial symbolism and stereotypes. Hinduism (and religion in general) is a big thing, and understanding it properly is a big step towards understanding a lot of people.

Actually, "upset" is exactly the word used in the headline of the press release sent out by Zed, and then again in the body. Which is why I used the word, I didn't want to misrepresent them as angry, pissed off, annoyed, irritated, aggravated, etc.

If you ask me, you are doing something wrong if you don't offend someone.

I think the game could have been better than it is (havn't played it, nor do I intend to) if they actually had some Hindu professionals on the matter, help them out with the lore. That being said, I think the difference would have probably been minor and the kind of thing you find in the "extras" category.

I think what everyone should take from this, is that Hindus are pretty chill about a game that borrows their faith. If this was Christianity, some American organization would call out for boycotts and Fox would say how bad the game industry is. If this was Islam, there would be many an angry jihadist.

Slightly off-topic: I am excited for this year's Draw Mohammed Day :D

C'mon, it's a game, geez

Dear Universal Society of Hinduism,

Welcome to the club. Every religion I know that has been used as a game is simply used as a baseline and rarely gets the full perspective of the actual religion, bibles, or various religious texts.

From Christianity, to Islam, to Judaism we kinda need new material for us to be engaged with.

Oh, please. They got off quite easily, look at Yu-Gi-Oh! they turned the Egyptian Gods into dragon's. Osiris became a red dragon with two mouths that shoots lightning and can wrap around a blimp 4 times and still extend upwards to 20-30 feet.

But in all seriousness, they should take it with a grain of salt. Video games are a lot less offensive to religions then what people online will do/say. With a video game the religion's usualy just used for aesthetic, with the internet it's just pure hate and trolling.

Though, I wouldn't be shocked if their was a game made to attack religion.

I'm kind of conflicted on this one... On the one hand, there's plenty of other religions that games get junk wrong on, but on the other hand, Hinduism has some of the most interesting stories going for it if you get it RIGHT, so why not go for accuracy?

There are a lot of people who misuse religious, cultural, and national symbols because they don't know much about them - and I applaud any group offering to help with such matters.

But unless the game is particularly cavalier about it I'm not sure if it's something worth getting upset over. Disappointed? Sure. Maybe even irked. But getting angry or upset is counter productive. I haven't played the game but I'm skeptical it's worth the strong wording.

Because all other religions get such fair treatment.

Tangential learning. people may play this game who never had any interest in Hinduism, and may use the ideas put forward in the game to educate themselves further.

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