NEW JERSEY, U.S., March 13, 2017 (Press Release): Hindu students from all over the United States have expressed strong disappointment and opposition towards CNN's "Believer" Episode on Hinduism, which aired on March 5th and showed a heavily derogatory and out-of-context depiction of Hinduism and India. In the episode, contributor Reza Aslan visits the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, India to learn about Hinduism and ends up focusing on the stereotypes commonly associated with Hindus, while eating brain parts and covering a tiny sect that is supposedly cannibalistic. Aslan also declares the holy river the Ganges as "one giant toilet" and the city of Varanasi as the "City of the Dead."
"Reza Aslan's 'Believer' uses images of a 'cannibalistic Baba' for the sake of shock value, risking conflation of 'extreme practices' with mainstream Hinduism, much like what happened with 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,'" remarked Parth Parihar, Hindu Students Council (HSC)'s General Secretary, who also wrote an article in the Huffington Post critiquing the Hinduism episode. "Worse, by continuing to refer to the Aghoris as the unique sect trying to 'upend the caste system embedded within Hindu spirituality,' the episode continues to spread the idea that caste discrimination is sanctioned by and inherent in Hindu practice - a blatant falsehood."
HSC sat down with noted author and public intellectual Rajiv Malhotra (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB9JqlUiYUk) to analyze various clips of the episode and show why such over the top, inaccurate and inflammatory depictions do nothing more than spread hatred and misconceptions about a tradition that many Americans are vaguely familiar with. Shyam Bhatt, the president of HSC at Stony Brook University expressed his concerns. "Aslan's 'Believer' painted the already misrepresented Hinduism in a barbaric light. On a college campus with a liberal climate where someone like Aslan is revered, his words had a huge impact on reinforcing the misunderstanding and prejudices already faced by Hindu American students."
More at "source" above.