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Obama is not Christ, Obama is Krishna, holy cow!Hillary as Radha & Barack as Krishna – The rupture and the rapture

Posted on: June 12, 2008

UPDATE: Some fifteen months after its first publication, this post continues to be popular, no thanks to our President Mr. Obama’s personal fame. Now that he got Nobel Prize for not inspiring Peace, we are back to square one with him: who is Obama, what is he, what does he represent to ordinary folks?

Well, Obama may have inherited a world full of conflict, fear, anger and hate, but he certainly did nothing to calm the waters. Nothing besides go around the world smiling, apologizing for America, and continue to give speeches. He is yet to make a substantive change, besides being just physically Present – much like his vote on legislative issues. For some, of course, that is all the difference.

The world media continues to venerate him, his base is only now beginning to wonder about him, and at least some who voted for him now doubt if their faith was misplaced. America swung wildly to the left during Bush’s second term. That it will swing back to right is certain, the only question is when. Smart money is betting on 2010. In the mean time, is he still god, or just a saint. Or, a wee bit human, after all?

One suspects that Obama the legend and the idea, even if not the man himself, and certainly not the presidency necessarily, will have become so deeply ingrained in the collective human psyche, that before long it would be hard to tell fact from fiction, fantasy from phantasm. Obama is indeed man made into myth. For such is the very function of myth, that one’s ideas of Obama say more about one’s self and less about him. Like the critics said, it’s not always about him!!


While Americans were being assured by their media that Obama indeed is a special one, actually the one,  a great master,  a messiah,  a mahdi, or a prophet, and have been well on their way toward the deification of the dear man, Indian press boldly went one step further. Obama is not just any god, but Krishna. And not a boy krishna, or warrior krishna, but the love krishna to boot. The esteemed Times of India published a drawing, variation on a theme of Radha-Krishna, depicting Obama as Krishna playing the magic flute, while an enchanted Hillary as Radha, danced about in joy.

While Indians, specifically Hindus in India expressed outrage for the most part, for the perceived slight to the tradition by depicting the deities in symbolism rather than with such obvious human actuality; educated Indians in USA thought it was ‘oh well’. The sophisticated tribe just shrugged it off, well here come the kooks railing about the cartoons again!   The vigorous forum at Sepia Mutiny burst with approbation, and only a tad consternation.

Tennessee Guerilla Women notes and comments about the news reports that stand-up comic Jay Leno recently made a crass joke about Hillary doing a lap dance.  Do these two developments, while seemingly dissimilar, represent a similar form of excess, albeit each within their own cultural milieu? Is it possible that when it comes to a woman of prominence and power, and possibly independent mind and spirit, the instinctive reaction of society is to imagine her in a subservient, supplicant posture? Could a dancing Indian Radha be that different than a lap dancer? Specially considering that the latter might one day soon be found in a house with a picture of the former!

Reactions to Hillary from all around are cause for worry about the emotional conditioning of men specially, and the state of culture in groups continents apart.

Of the four parties involved here primarily, Radha, krishna, Obama, Hillary – this naughty rendering does most injustice to Hillary. It is unflattering in terms of politics, it is chauvinistic in terms of gender, it is obscene only in the deification of Obama but downright degrading to Hillary in placing her in an obsequious adoring and hence less powerful position. Of all the possible ways of imputing krshna-hood here to Obama, the only one that works is that of butter-thief boy-krishna – he did after all commit caucus fraud, and steal the nomination!

Yes it is essentially silly, but also more offensive to Hillary rather than Hinduism!

Some raw notes after the jump.

Some quotes from the Hindu web site:

Swapnil D.Manjrekar
14 Mar 2008, 14:16
This is absolutely disgusting.

Manjunath R
15 Mar 2008, 04:19
Hello Times of India, your picture of depcting Hilary Clinton & Barick Obama denigrates our Hindu deities. You ignore the basic ethics of journalism of not going against the public policy or norms. This hurts Hindu sentiments very badly. Do you dare to do this to hurt Muslim or Christian Community? We as Hindu population of India demand apology in total terms for having done this heinous act.

Rajat Gupta
15 Mar 2008, 05:39
The picture shows that the TOI is not a responsible company which can actualy take care of the sentiments of Hindus. The company has taken the Hindus for granted.

I don’t think they will ever dare to play with the sentiments of any other so called minority groups.

This also proves the fact that this company has a origin outside India.

I know that this opposition will do nothing and even if it does TOI will just put two lines of appologies. They know how to play with the sentiments. They know that Hindus are basically not aggressive and will be happy after two lines of apology.Had it been any other religion, people and the political contractors would have burnt the TOI HO into flams!

15 Mar 2008, 10:39
This is a very arrogant and disgraceful act of Times of India. We are hurt deeply and we potest this act. We demand immediate apology and assurance that such incidents are not repeated.

Jai Sri Krishna!

vijay ashar
15 Mar 2008, 11:08
To my dismay, none of the protesters above gave a clear and categorical challenge to TOI editors that they, along with their families, friends and neighbors will boycott the buying and reading of the paper until an undiluted apology is printed in the paper for hurting the sentiments of its vast Hindu readership. Moreover, they should pledge to work together to persuade some regular advertisers in TOI to refrain from their continuing patronage. Without hitting directly at the economic interests, these shameless media will not yield an inch by mere inane words.
By e-mail

Bodhi Kaka
28 Mar 2008, 17:02
As Hindus, we are not fundamentalist or doctrinaire as in some other religions. The core of our religion is that we are all one, so we believe in the toleration and love of everyone. As such, we do not take the offence like the other crazy peoples in the other religions do. I found this image amusing and delightful. I really think everyone should stop trying to be offended as enjoy the sense of humor the artist is trying to convey.

(There can be many other ways in which humor can be very effectively conveyed. Why use Hindu gods only for entertaining people? All such denigrations are etched on the minds of public and generate very unholy feelings. Can you imagine the effect it will have on the minds of the younger generation? Tolerance to the level where it becomes a reason for self destruction is foolishness. Is this tolerance due to a lack of courage to oppose this? )


Gurudutt Kamath
16 May 2008, 15:18
Times of India which was established in the year 1838 during the British Rule what more can one expect from it?

    Some Quotes From Sepia Mutiny

4. Zen:
“Flouting Convention”

10. Dizzydesi:
Hinduism has a long tradition of taking itself lightly; often gods are made fun of. So there is no gut reaction in most Hindus against images like this one.

That said, anything that uses Hindu icons or uses affects Hinduism’s image. The image of Hinduism affects the atmosphere, in which Hindus live – an atmosphere where Hinduism is held in low regard creates doubts and misgivings and a feeling of incompleteness among its followers.

To put it bluntly this atmosphere makes Piyushes become Bobbies and makes neighbors and colleagues feel that since you follow a weird religion that there’s something a bit off with you.

America pays a lot of attention to political correctness, but it expects the norm for political correctness to be imposed by protests and activism. India is heading the same way.

So when I see something like this illustration I ask myself WWJD, WWCD, WWMD – what would Jewish / Christian / Muslim activists do.

So based on the Chocolate Jesus controversy, I would say I find this image offensive.”

(Rahul: Three Cheers to Competitive Intolerance)

13. Al beruni:
literal meaning of krishna in sanskrit – black, he is literally the black god.
Both Rama and Krishna are black in the ancient indian imagination. Because of more and more northern peoples invading/visiting/settling in india, they have become lighter skinned over the last 1000 years..

28 Yogi:
Barack: I think you should get out of the race now
Hillary: I will after I collect some more cash to pay off my campaign debts

36 Manvantara:
Personally, this portrayal is utterly meaningless and in bad taste; I’d just ignore it.

55. Karmabyte:
Of the people taking offense, is it on behalf of all hindus or is there something personally offensive in that? Fail to see anything offensive.. bad analogy maybe, but then what do you expect from TOI.

66. BridgetJones:
It is just a “cartoon” and not offensive. There are probably many other more offensive “products” for both trivial and non-trivial reasons.

71. dio:

Is this picture offensive…

I don’t know…if this piece is about the possibility of running on a joint ticket…it’s actually kind of funny. But if not, then its just annoying cause then its not even witty-someone just wanted a cheap laugh.

I don’t mind the use of hindu icons in satirical pieces (and I say this as someone who considers herself a practicing hindu) but at times when it just seems gratituitous, then its irritating.

As for the person who is from Bombay-that’s great if westernized indians in bombay like to mock religious figures, do what you like…but India is a large country and there’s still quite a few places where people still do respect traditional religious iconography, I don’t see how it’d kill anyone to be more respectful of that.

73. SP:
See, I think that’s just funny, and Indian newspapers regularly put different celebrities into deity-like poses. These are desis making fun of American candidates, or putting them in a desi cultural-religious framework, *not* an American making fun of desis, and is meant for desi consumption, so those “what will my neighbours think of my religion now” concerns in the States hardly seem relevant.

I can’t see why this would be considered offensive except in the context of competitive American “so you think it’s OK to make fun of us because we’re a minority religion” stakes. Conservative Hindu websites and especially conservative Hindu identitarian associations in the West would probably get offended by a basic temple statue if it were made by a firang. I don’t take them too seriously.

89. RahulS:
We don’t live under Sharia law or believe in it, so it shouldn’t be offensive.

Hillary to working class: “Sure, Obama uses his words very cleverly, but you can see he’s clearly to my right!”

Hindus don’t have much of a persecution complex, at least not to the extent of some of the other religious groups. That can be a good thing when it comes to trivial things like this picture, but it’s troubling in other circumstances. It’s one of the reasons why you don’t hear too many Hindus complaining about what’s going in the North-East, with groups like the NLFT.

i wonder if the indians have more of a problem if the deities were depicted as blacks. then, they’d probably get even more angry. these hindu gods look italian and germanic to me! they’ve got blue eyes and white skin. that offends me, because it sends out the message that depicting the gods with brown skin and brown/black eyes is not good enough.
i personally think that the hindus are angrier to the fact that the god is depicted as a black man vs. a white man.

find myself offended by the Europeanization of Hindu gods/goddesses. Why couldn’t they be depicted as having curly hair, flatter noses, and brown/blacker skin?

148 Ashwin:

It didn’t really evoke any response.

I think that Indians, specifically Hindus, tend to be more self-deprecating than other cultures and honestly have no qualms about a few jokes here and there. If it was written by a Hindu, there’s all the more reason to let it pass.

Has anyone ever read “Kumarasambham” by Kalidasa. It sensuously describes the relationship between Shiva and Parvathi without being crude. And this is the Kalidasa we’re talking about. So, people tend to let it go.

I’ll be honest and say I don’t get the reference, though. What’s the message their trying to get across?


2 Responses to "Obama is not Christ, Obama is Krishna, holy cow!Hillary as Radha & Barack as Krishna – The rupture and the rapture"

Amazing!! What is wrong with journalists these days?

Hahahahahahahaha !

This caught my attention..

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