Controversy is building over a PS2 game just released in India in which players control Hanuman, a revered Hindu deity, with multiple Hindu organizations worldwide calling for the game to be removed from store shelves.
Hanuman: Boy Warrior is an action game recently published by Sony in India, in which players control Hanuman, a fabled Hindu deity. From what we can gather from Sony’s description of the game, it sounds like your typical action game: you start with basic powers, then unlock weapons and special techniques like “The Slam of the Gods,” which sounds like something straight out of God of War.
In God of War, we have no problem killing the gods of Western mythology, because, for the majority of Western society, very few people believe in them. That’s not the story for Hanuman – plenty of Hindus across the world believe in and worship the characters populating this game, and they’re not happy with it at all. A number of organizations are protesting the game, calling for its removal.
Hindus statesman Rajan Zed has led the outcry, saying that the game “trivialized the highly revered deity of Hinduism.” Zed, who is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has argued that the commercial use of any Hindu figures or stories is unacceptable, as it’s hurtful to Hindu devotees.
Beyond Zed, the Hanuman protest has gained support in Australia, where Vamsi Krishna of the organization Sanatan Sanstha has spoken out against it. Hanuman: Boy Warrior, Krishna said, is “very disrespectful, disgraceful and an insult” and Sony should “remove this videogame with immediate effect…before this causes further unrest in the Hindu community worldwide and issue an apology to all those who have been hurt by this insensitiveness.”
Bhavna Shinde of the Forum for Hindu Awakening also called for Sony to cease publishing the game and for retailers to stop selling it. She also requested that Sony issue an apology to “the Hindu community and Hanuman devotees worldwide.”
Hanuman is a major figure in the Hindu epic The Ramayana, in which he leads an army of monkeys to fight an evil demon king.