Why Are Today’s Gods Angry? Lessons From the ‘Angry Hanuman’ Image
Are our Gods really angry, or is there someone who has a personal agenda in making them look angry?
If you live in a metro city in India, you must have seen this image on car bumpers, scooters, and other vehicles – a picture of Lord Hanuman with an intense, angry expression on his face.
Lord Hanuman is a popular Hindu God and almost every city has temples dedicated to him. His image can be found everywhere – from calendar art, books and movies to cartoons and animation.
But the image of Lord Hanuman that has gone viral on the streets in recent times is not like all the other ones. This Hanumanji is not the ‘kumti nivar sumit ke sangi (The one who removes evil thinking and grants companionship of the noble)’ Hanuman – kneeling before Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman with his hands joined in humility, his eyes dripping with devotion, reflecting his soft heart.
Folktales and religious texts all have a similar images of Lord Hanuman.
Hanumanji is very popular among children as well. Lord Hanuman illustrated in kids’ books and cartoons is non-violent and courteous. Anger is his last emotion.
But the image of Lord Hanuman that have become popular on the streets in the form of stickers is that of an angry Hanuman.
His face is tense, his brows are furrowed, the eyes are angry. The colours used in these stickers are also stark and intense. The humility and peace on his face is gone; he is angry, but the reason for his anger is unknown.
Who Made This Image of Hanumanji?
The image above was made by Karan Acharya of Kumble village in Kasaragod district of Kerala. He drew this image at the request of youngsters in the village who wanted something to put on flags during Ganesh Chathurthi. Acharya drew this image in 2015, and from there – and no one knows how – it ended up as bike and car sticker.
My Hanumanji is not angry, but it’s true that the usual humility, and very often a smile, shown on his face are not there. This Hanumanji has attitude.Karan Acharya, artist
Acharya had never wanted the image to be used as car stickers, but it were to happen and that too without his permission. Since these stickers are being sold on a large scale, there is a considerable amount of money in it, but Acharya isn’t getting any royalties either.
These stickers are now available online with e-retailers like Amazon as well, where they are selling like hot cakes. It is possible that we will see even more of these on the streets.
Are Our Gods Really Angry?
Are our Gods really angry, or is there someone who has a personal agenda in making them look angry? Who are the people who want to take away the peace and humility on Hanumanji’s face? Is there someone who wants to sell anger to Indian citizens?
Or maybe it is the anger spreading in our everyday lives that is reflected in these stickers. It’s true that we see news reports of anger and instigated violence almost every day.
A child beats up his mother for taking away his mobile phone. Yet another destroys all the furniture in the house on being told to study. A mother angry with the father kills all her children. An adult son kills his father with a bat. A slight scrape on the road between cars ended in murder.
A labourer gets beaten up for taking a smoke break during work. An HR manager can get killed for workers’ salaries not being increased. Teachers beat up students and students beat up teachers. Anyone can beat up anyone, swear at anyone, even kill. No relationship is sacrosanct enough to be safe from violence. Anger weighs on all.
Politicians issue angry statements. News anchors often look angry enough to set fire to the sets. Panelists look like they want to bash each other’s heads in. Maybe they do beat each other up once the show ends. It is also possible that they just pretend to be angry on screen while sharing jokes backstage.
Threats Issued on Social Media
People are constantly swearing at each other on social media, threatening to kill or maim, trolling others or getting trolled themselves.
There is an anger in the environment, it is everywhere. Leaders and politicians hitting out in the harshest of words, and those who aren’t speaking foul are often considered weak. A leader who isn’t able to suppress the Opposition is being considered a loser. Leaders now assert strength by raising hell and breathing fire.
Maybe it is this anger that has trickled down to the stickers on rear windows of cars.
It Is Worth Thinking About...
The Gods have been angry earlier too. While Lord Shiva and Maa Kali have always been popular in their angry incarnation, in the 1990s during the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir conflict, the dignified and gentle Lord Ram was depicted with his hair flying open and his bow and arrow raised in anger, advancing forward.
Ram did fight battles, but his popular image was of Raja Ram, or the ‘family man’ Ram. A conflict in 1990 changed all that. Images of an angry Lord Ram began appearing on every banner and poster of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. It seems like the managers of the Ram Mandir movement wanted to spark this anger among a section of the population, and they were successful to a large extent.
Is the same thing happening again? Keep your eyes peeled on the road.
(Dileep C Mandal is a senior journalist. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
(This article was originally published in Quint Hindi)
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