In yet another incident of Hindu deities being depicted in controversial poses, Kerala-based photographer Dia John’s Navratri themed photography has triggered a big furore after it depicted a Hindu goddess drinking alcohol and smoking weed.
The controversial series had model Dr Athira Harikumar wearing a red saree and holding a lotus in one hand and a trident in the other. She had vermillion marks on her forehead and a conch shell next to her.
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But the same series also showed her holding a rolled weed in a smoky background and holding an alcohol bottle.
Dia’s scandalous Facebook post was accompanied with a caption that read: “A woman is considered a goddess but what is she treated like? Often made to seat on a pedestal of purity, innocence and tolerance, she is stripped of her individuality. Isn’t it time that we accept her humanity?”
The photoshoot did not go down well with netizens who found the posts extremely offensive of Hindu deities.
Kochi-based Mukkootil Bhagavathy temple filed a complaint against Dia for hurting Hindu sentiments. Joining the protesting chorus, Hindu Aikya Vedi that works for the protection of Hindu faith filed another case.
In the wake of the storm, the photographer deleted the controversial photographs from the series.
Tendering an apology on Facebook she wrote: “I am extremely sorry that some sentiments have been inadvertently hurt by a recent photoshoot which I did a few days back. I respect all religions and it would never be my intention to disrespect any…On behalf of the entire team, we do sincerely apologise… Happy Navaratri.”
She and the model also deactivated their Instagram profiles.
While freedom of expression is guaranteed by our Constitution, one needs to know where to draw the line. One cannot misuse the provision to insult different religions.