Hindus have welcomed apology by popular Australian radio/TV personality Kyle Sandilands and his radio station “2dayFM” over his remarks about their sacred river Ganga and India, calling it a “step in the right direction”.
In July 29 “Kyle and Jackie O Show” at Sydney’s radio station “2dayFM 104.1″, Sandilands termed Ganga as “junkyard” and India a “shit hole”.
Adam Lang, General Manager of “2dayFM”, in a letter dated August four and emailed by his Executive Assistant Sarah Potts to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, said: “I hope that you feel that Kyle Sandilands and 2DayFM have taken complete responsibility for the offence caused by the remarks made. The offence was not intended but that consequence is absolutely accepted and we do sincerely apologise.”
This letter also says: “Kyle has apologized on air yesterday morning saying….“I’m apologizing….Anyone that’s Indian that listens to this show knows that I love Indians….I just made the mistake that the river which, to me, looks polluted, I said it was a junkyard and did not realize that it was holy.”
Lang’s letter adds: “In the case of Kyle’s remarks, they were directed toward the water quality of the river rather than the spiritual significance of the Ganga to so many people and their religious practices.”
Considering the apology a “step in the right direction”, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that “2dayFM 104.1″ and its owner “Southern Cross Austereo” should put in policies and procedures in place, assuring the hurt community that this kind of denigration would not happen in the future. As radio was a forceful medium, they should be more sensitive when handling faith related subjects, because faith was something very sacred to the devout, Zed added.
Rajan Zed has earlier stressed that Hindus and people of India descent world over were upset about unnecessary denigration of their sacred river and malicious caricaturing of India. Ganga was sacred to one billion Hindus worldwide and such remarks were very hurtful to the devotees. Besides apparently denigrating the religion, it was belittling the entire community.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at, Zed said.
Hindus are for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees, Rajan Zed points out.
Zed urged Sandilands to visit a nearby Hindu temple and make himself aware of Hinduism practices and beliefs. If he needed any help in deeper exploration of Hinduism, he or other scholars would gladly assist him. Zed thanked various organizations and individuals world over who backed the protest.
In Varanasi (a city in India on the banks of Ganga), the protesters reportedly burnt Sandilands’ effigy on August two over his comments.
It is believed that bath in the sacred Ganga purifies one of all sin, and its water if taken daily confers immortality. It finds mention in Rig-Veda; the oldest scripture of the world still in common use. Kumbh Mela has been seeing an influx of about 70-100 million people from world over coming to take a dip in Ganga.
This radio show at 6-9 am weekdays, hosted by Kyle Dalton Sandilands, 40, with Jacqueline Henderson, reportedly airs on selected Today Network stations across Australia and also on Take40 Australia. “Southern Cross Austereo” claims to be the creator of more hours of live content than any other broadcast media in Australia and “First in Entertainment Media Solutions”. Tagline of “2dayFM 104.1″ is “Sydney’s Hit Music Station”.
Recently, a model displayed an image of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi on swimwear at a fashion event held in Sydney, which caused worldwide protests. Swimwear company immediately apologized, halting all its related production, and promising that the protested swimwear would never be available for sale.