By “Hindus” Do You Mean “A Guy”?
Hindus are outraged about the new Sony game that allows gamers to play as Hanuman, one of the most prominent deity who, according to wikipedia scriptures lead a giant monkey army to defeat evil. Lead by the Universal Society of Hinduism, Hindus around the world are rising up and Sony are being forced to muster an apology. Something we actually reported on ourselves previously, only with our child like and cynical tone.
At least, that’s what the news is reporting. We here at NG also got the press release from Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, sent from his gmail. Gmail? How odd… which got me thinking. Normally, press releases from these types of organisations come from proper email address. It looks like some further journalism is required.
A quick google search for “Universal Society of Hinduism” quickly backs up my suspicions. The only results are people reporting the out-rage the Universal Society of Hinduism is apparently spouting. The first result, from March last year, talks about a report in which the formation of the Universal Society of Hinduism is discussed. The author however points out that “the formation of the organization was not reported by any prominent newspapers. Neither was I able to locate the website of the organization.”
The article also mentions the Universal Society of Hinduism’s first big story, when they campaigned against the film The Love Guru starring Mike Myers.
When GamePolitics originally covered the story, they referred to Zed as a “U.S.-based Hindu spokesman”. Hmm, sure. Still, apparently he has enough weight behind him to make even Sony begin to buckle. From his press release;
Replying to the communiquÃ© of Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening, Keita Sanekata of Sony Electronics Inc wrote, ‘œWe will review this issue, and get back to you as soon as possible.’
Or does he? Who is Bhavna Shinde and what is the Forum for Hindu Awakening? It sounds super important. Well, it’s not. It’s a website that is “devoted to awaken society to the unique spiritual science behind Hindu Dharma concepts and practices”. According to Alexa it gets basically negligible traffic. And Shinde’s connection? I can’t find any, save for her name appearing at the bottom of the protest letter posted on the site. Searching the site for more information just leads to the same press releases which refer to her as being from their.
The news outlets have fallen into the all too common trappings of the impressive looking press release. Something old Jacky Thompson was incredibly good at. If you can make yourself look like more than just one guy with a few connections, you really can get your cause noticed.
Now, I am open to the possibility that the Universal Society of Hinduism is more than just a guy (I’ve emailed Zed to get more details), though to be honest I think it’s fairly unlikely. Even Gaming Indians aren’t taking him seriously, and they know about this sort of stuff.