An outraged Hindu group is demanding a public apology by online gambling company Endorphina for Durga Slot, one of the online slot games it created and distributed to multiple online gaming sites. In a press release, Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the company to withdraw the game because it incited immoral behavior and online gambling.
The goddess Durga is one of the many deities in Hinduism and it symbolizes the positive divine forces represented as the goddess Shakti. Durga is also a radiant warrior goddess who fights against the evils and demonic forces that threaten the peace, prosperity, and good. These qualities, along with her relative popularity among Hindus, has been probably the reason why the Czech casino games software developer Endorphina has decided to create an online slot inspired by Durga.
Her divinity, however, has also become the reason why the Universal Society of Hinduism is protesting against the slot game. According to a press release by the religious group, which is strangely based in Reno, Nevada, the Hindus are now upset by the virtual game called Durga and urging Endorphina to immediately recall the slot from all online casinos where it is hosted. The organization describes the online slot as inappropriate.
The inappropriate use of Hindu symbols, deities and concepts for commercial purposes “hurts devotees”, Rajan Zed explains, adding that Durga should be worshiped in temples and home shrines. It should not be used for “inducing susceptible” people to online gambling for the company’s “mercantile greed”, he also says. According to him, associating the goddess with gambling is exceptionally insensitive and he wants Endorphina and its CEO to publicly apologize.
As the software company is licensed the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Hindus also demand actions to be taken by Malta Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services Silvio Schembri, Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) Board Chairman Joseph Cuschieri, and MGA CEO Heathcliff Farrugia. According to Rajan Zed, the MGA should be responsible for the integrity of the games it licenses.
One of the Many Criticisms by the Hindu Group
There is not much information to be found about the Universal Society of Hinduism, except for the fact that it was created in 2011 by its current president Rajan Zed. It was established in Reno, Nevada, a city known for its many casinos, the city, which was the first gambling capital of the United States before the rise of Las Vegas. Despite the vague information about the religious organization, there is plenty about its creator, the Hindu cleric, and Indian immigrant Rajan Zed.
In fact, Zed is regularly in newspapers’ headlines for his constant outrage at companies that use any images and concepts from Hinduism in their products. One of his first controversial appearances was in 2007 when he was invited as a guest chaplain and gave the first official Hindu prayer at the United States Senate. There were protests against him, as well as negative responses from Christian religious groups, family issues-related organizations, and others.
He is currently accusing several companies and businesses in the United States and abroad of greed and using revered Hindu images and symbols for commercial purposes. Most notably, a brewery in the East Midlands, England, was forced to withdraw a beer with a picture of a Hindu goddess on the label. The same happened to a Missouri brewery, which also had added inappropriate and offensive images to the label of its beer.
In July, the Springfield Brewing Company had to pull the label with Lord Ganesha and offer an official apology to Zed and all Hindus. In its statement, the brewery said that it was not its intention to offend anyone.