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Uproar in India: Ukraine’s Caricature Of Goddess Kali Unmasks Its Real Face

Kiev’s recent tweet featuring a caricature of the Hindu goddess Kali has caused widespread anger among Indians, with a senior advisor at the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting accusing the Ukrainian Defense Ministry of an “assault on Hindu sentiment.” The tweet included a drawing by Ukrainian artist Maksym Palenko, which depicted the goddess Kali in a sexualized pose reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 movie ‘The Seven Year Itch’. Palenko had reworked an image of a recent explosion in the Crimean port of Sevastopol caused by a Ukrainian drone strike to make it look like the Hindu goddess of ultimate power, time, destruction, and change.

The tweet was swiftly removed but had already been seen by a million people and made headlines in the Indian media. The cartoon was described as “offensive” and “shocking,” with Twitter users expressing their outrage at the “blatant display of Hinduphobia.” Indian users also tagged Twitter CEO Elon Musk and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, urging them to take action.

The Indian government official, Kanchan Gupta, called the post an example of “brazen hate speech” and claimed that a Hindu goddess being “caricatured on a propaganda poster…is an assault on Hindu sentiments around the world.” Gupta also claimed that Kiev’s diplomatic advances towards India were “fakery,” and the cartoon showed the “real face” of the Ukrainian authorities.

India has taken a neutral stance since the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, abstaining from UN votes on resolutions condemning Moscow’s military operation while resisting Western pressure to implement anti-Russia sanctions. However, India has also boosted trade cooperation with Moscow, angering Kiev by becoming one of the top buyers of Russian oil. In December, the Ukrainian foreign minister claimed that New Delhi was benefiting from the “suffering” of his compatriots and therefore needed to do more to help Kiev.

The use of religious figures in political satire and propaganda is a contentious issue, and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s decision to tweet the caricature of Kali has been widely condemned as culturally insensitive and disrespectful. While the post was quickly removed, the incident has sparked a broader conversation about the need for cultural sensitivity and religious tolerance in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

The controversy highlights the importance of cultural sensitivity in diplomatic relations. The tweet by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is likely to further strain relations between the two countries.

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#HinduSentiments #CulturalSensitivity #ReligiousTolerance #UkraineIndiaRelations #KaliCaricature

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