American online interactive entertainment company, Hi-Rez Studios, has developed SMITE, an online battleground of mythical gods features a number of Hindu Gods and Goddesses such as Kali, Vamana and Agni, the Fire God. Upset Hindus, who recently urged these online game developer to remove Hindu gods from action game SMITE saying it trivialized revered deities, are further shocked now on the developer's announcement of adding even more deities.
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Hi-Rez should be more understanding of the hurt feelings of Hindus worldwide over the mishandling of deities like Kali. The purpose of online games was to entertain and not to offend a large chunk of world population, he said. Moreover, portrayal of goddess Kali, who was highly revered by Hindus, appeared like a pornstar in the SMITE game, which was quite distressing for the devotees.
Zed said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the movements of goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities. He stated that video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and no faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered. As these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people it would create more misunderstandings about Hinduism, which was already a highly misunderstood religion in the West.
When urged to remove the Hindu gods Agni, Kali, and Vamana, Hi-Rez issued a statement explaining why they will not remove the characters from the game: "SMITE includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse," Todd Harris, Hi-Rez's COO said. "Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret all the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer."
What do you think? Please post your comments below and have your say.