A Hindu group is urging Rome and Paris museums not to display iconic Barbie doll as goddess Kali in their Barbie exhibitions, calling it highly inappropriate.
“Barbie The Icon” exhibition at Museo delle Culture in Milan, which reportedly carried an Argentinean artists’ created Barbie portrayed as goddess Kali with a dagger and plate carrying a severed head, is ending on March 13. It was said to be moving to Complesso del Vittoriano gallery in Il Vittoriano monument in Rome (April 15 to October 30) and Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris (till September 18).
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged the museums to not include Barbie-ized Goddess Kali in the exhibitions as it trivialized the highly revered deity of Hinduism.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the feelings of devotees. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to a Barbie character.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Artists should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.
Zed further said that Hindus welcomed art world to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. Barbie-fication of Kali was simply improper and out of place.
No faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered, Rajan Zed noted.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism, according to Zed.
“Calling her a doll would be belittling. Barbie is a global icon, who in her 56 years of life manages to knock down every linguistic, cultural, social, and anthropological barrier,” the Milan exhibition announcement says.