Hindu groups in the United States have sought an apology from the niece of Senator Kamala Harris, Meena, for tweeting an “offensive” image, which depicted the Democratic vice presidential nominee as goddess Durga. The tweet has now been deleted by Meena Harris, 35, who is a lawyer, a children’s book author and the founder of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, an organisation that works to bring awareness to intersectional social causes.
‘An apology should come from Meena Harris’
“Your tweeting a caricature of the feminine divine, Maa Durga, with faces superimposed, deeply aggrieved many Hindus globally,” Suhag A Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation said in a tweet on Monday. HAF, which represents the Hindu American community, has issued a guideline for commercial use of images relating to the religion.
Dear @meenaharris, by now you know that your tweeting a caricature of the feminine divine, Maa Durga, with faces superimposed, deeply aggrieved many Hindus globally.
To avoid such an error in judgement, for future reference, please refer to: https://t.co/yXBRCE4xcw
— Suhag A. Shukla (@SuhagAShukla) October 18, 2020
Rishi Bhutada of the Hindu American Political Action Committee said the “offensive” picture was not created by Meena Harris herself. It had been circulating on WhatsApp prior to her tweet and the Biden campaign confirmed to him that the image was not created by it.
“Given that, I personally believe that an apology should come from Meena Harris even though she did delete the tweet and no one else. Our religious iconography should not be used in the service of politics in America — I said the same when the Fort Bend County GOP did it in an ad in 2018, and it holds the same here,” Bhutada said.
Ajay Shah, the convener of American Hindus Against Defamation, said in a statement the image has offended and outraged the religious community.
In the now-deleted tweet, a screenshot of which is being retweeted by some people, Meena Harris says, “I am actually speechless, other than to say that the first day of Navaratri was LIT.” In the image, Kamala Harris, depicted as goddess Durga, was seen killing US President Donald Trump, who was depicted as buffalo demon ‘Mahishasura’. The image also showed Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden as a lion, the ‘vahana’ (vehicle) of the goddess.
Most users on social media were not happy about her use of a morphed image of the Indian Goddess and they slammed her for hurting religious sentiments.
Take a look at some of netizens reactions:
So much for liberal freedom of expression. @MeenaHarris
The great sister of @KamalaHarris uploads an offensive image showing Hindu Goddess Durga as her sister and when we take action he deletes and blocks me. Not unexpected of such odd day Indian & Even Day Black for vote bank. pic.twitter.com/yIQiSLc4vy
— arun (@arunpudur) October 18, 2020
Dear @meenaharris I just came across this image that you tweeted & have now deleted. As a Hindu woman I want to tell you I am deeply offended.Our faith is not for you to mock or use for your political point scoring.Your ignorance about Ma Durga is appalling as is your arrogance pic.twitter.com/ZeqTDT8kLV
— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) October 18, 2020
Born to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, California Senator Kamala Harris, if elected, would be the first woman vice president ever for the country. Kamala’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in Chennai before she moved to the US for further study. Shyamala became a leading cancer researcher and activist. Shyamala was the daughter of PV Gopalan, a high-ranking civil servant.
Over the weekend, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had greeted the Hindu community in the US on Navratri and wished for the victory of good over evil once again.
Source: Republic World