Indian Americans Criticise CNN for Offensive Portrayal of Hinduism

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Ever had a rough day at work? Imagine encountering sour milk in your coffee or having your ideas stolen and pitched to your boss. Well, CNN presenter Reza Aslan took it to another level when he faced a small Hindu tribe, the Aghori, whose holy man threatened to decapitate him and later offered what was claimed to be a piece of human brain for him to eat.

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This bizarre encounter unfolded on the show “Believer with Reza Aslan,” where the host questioned the Aghori leader about the fear surrounding the group. The conversation took an unexpected turn towards consuming human flesh, culminating in Reza supposedly eating the brain, which he later described as tasting like “charcoal” in a Facebook post.

The premiere episode, aired on March 5 2017, sparked controversy, with Indian ministers expressing concerns about potential hate crimes and prejudice incited by the show. The US-India Political Action Committee criticized the portrayal of Hinduism as cannibalistic, stating that it could contribute to a negative perception of Indian Americans in an already charged environment.

In defense of the show, Reza acknowledged that each episode was bound to upset someone. Reflecting on the intense encounter with the Aghori Sadhu, he admitted feeling unsafe during the ostentatious displays of self-pollution and even requested to be taken out of the situation, emphasizing the need for a “safe word” in future episodes.


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