Connect with us

News

Hindu Americans outraged by CNN’s ‘Believer’ hosted by Reza Aslan

Published

on

Religious scholar Reza Aslan has come under scrutiny after the first episode of his new show, “Believer,” aired Sunday night.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The host of CNN’s new show ‘Believer’ and religion scholar Reza Aslan has many members of the Hindu American community outraged over what they say is an attack on Hinduism. The premiere episode aired Sunday and critics question the motivation, timing and focus of their first effort looking at religions from around the world.

 “With multiple reports of hate-fueled attacks against people of Indian origin from across the U.S., the show characterizes Hinduism as cannibalistic, which is a bizarre way of looking at the third largest religion in the world,” the group U.S. India Political Action Committees (also known as USINPAC), said in a statement.

During the first episode, Aslan meets with Aghori babas outside Varanasi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The Aghoris are what many Hindus describe as a small fringe sect of Hinduism.

Aslan bathes with the Aghoris in the Ganges, a river Hindus consider sacred. An Aghori baba smears the ashes of cremated humans on his face. At the Aghori’s invitation, Aslan drinks alcohol from a human skull and eats what was purported to be a bit of human brain.

“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote on Facebook. “It was burnt to a crisp!”

According to Samir Kalra, Senior Director and Human Rights Fellow at the Hindu American Foundation, the show sensationalized Hinduism. He believes by focusing on the Aghoris, Aslan is misrepresenting the majority and the norm of a vastly followed religion.

“Believer devoted copious footage to highlighting stereotypical and sensationalized presentations of Hinduism: simplistic description of karma; conflations of caste/varna/jati; and the pollution in Varanasi and of the Ganga. The show unnecessarily focuses on Aghori ascetics, who are alien to almost all Hindus precisely because they practice austere, even repulsive rituals and prefer to remain shunned. What follows are the titillating scenes of drinking from a skull, wearing a crown of cadaveric tissue and a rather animated ascetic drinking his own urine.” – Samir Kalra, HAF

Aslan also interviewed several non-cannibal Aghori members, some of whom ran an orphanage and a group of volunteers of people who care for those suffering from leprosy.

Critics of the first episode come from divergent points of view and include Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna and the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition, Shalabh Kumar.

The Hindu American Foundation tells Diya TV the CNN episode was highly insensitive given the time we live in. Kalra explains:

“Religious literacy in the United States about Hinduism, as every Hindu American knows, is woefully inadequate. The Pew Religious Knowledge Survey of 2013 found that only 36% of Americans could answer a single question about Hinduism: Whether Shiva and Vishnu were deities associated with Hinduism. When the knowledge deficit is so stark, and minority communities are facing a rise in hate incidents across the US— a Hindu American was killed and Sikh American was shot in likely hate crimes in the past week — why would Aslan and CNN sensationalize the Aghoris as a primetime introduction to the faith of a billion Hindus, most of whom have never seen or met an Aghori?” – Samir Kalra, HAF 

Aslan holds a BA in religious studies from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) from Harvard Divinity School, an Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He’s previously appeared on many cable news network shows as an expert on religion. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife, author and entrepreneur, Jessica Jackley and their three sons.

We reached out to Aslan and have not heard back from him or his team and look forward to sharing their perspective on this highly sensitive issue. 

News

Biden, Modi meet and with the Quad Leaders’ Summit

Published

on

Biden, Modi meet privately & with the Quad | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the White House for the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit.  PM Modi held a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden. PM Modi is on a three-day visit to the United States, his first official visit to the country since Biden took the office. On Thursday, Modi held separate meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris.

President Biden will also nominate Indian American Erik Ramanathan, a longtime political ally and fundraiser to serve as ambassador to Sweden. Ramanathan joins a record 70 plus Indian Americans working in the Biden administration. 

The Houston doctor fired for distributing expiring COVID-19 vaccines instead of throwing them out claims he was punished for giving “the vaccine to too many individuals with ‘Indian’ sounding names. Dr. Hasan Gokal has sued Harris County Public Health for $1 million, alleging that the agency “demonstrated a pattern of discrimination and hostility against Dr. Gokal based on his South Asian race and Pakistani national origin.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

News

Harris, Modi meet in-person for the first time

Published

on

Harris, Modi meet in-person for the first time | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has officially started his U.S. tour and met face to face for the first time with Vice President Kamala Harris.  They discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region at a time when the U.S. is trying to solidify its pivot toward Asia and strengthen ties with allies to take on China’s growing influence in the region. In addition, Modi met with the Prime Minister of Australia and the heads of Adobe, Blackstone, and Qualcomm.

Electric car maker Tesla broke ground on a new production facility in California and will produce the company’s large-scale battery system called Megapack. News of the previously unannounced factory was confirmed by Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal in a Facebook post that was deleted and re-posted. The Indian American Mayor says  “The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community.”

Sony Pictures Networks India has agreed to acquire Zee Entertainment. If the deal materializes, it will bring together two of the largest broadcasting giants in India that run large cable television networks, streaming services, music labels, and own scores of other digital assets, to better compete with companies like Netflix and Disney.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

News

Sachin Gupta to head Timberwolves basketball operations

Published

on

Sachin Gupta named T-Wolves basketball OPS head | Diya TV News

SAINT PAUL (Diya TV) — The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves have promoted Sachin Gupta to interim head of basketball operations. This is a historic move making Gupta the first person of Indian origin to run an NBA basketball organization. Gupta began his career as a special advisor with the Houston Rockets and since then has held several executive roles with other teams.

A  mega drug bust for India .Officials say they seized nearly three tonnes of heroin originating from Afghanistan worth nearly 3 billion dollars amid the chaos following last month’s takeover of the country by the Taliban. Two people have been arrested so far and the investigation is on going.

India’s Fresh Works is getting ready to launch it’s initial public offering valuing the customer relationship software company at more than 10 billion dollars. The company started off in Chennai India but is now based in California, and says it wants to compete with rival Salesforce in the US. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Trending

Diya TV , Inc. © 2017 All Rights Reserved