Newsweek Depiction of Obama as Lord Shiva Upsets Some Indian-Americans

Newsweek’s depiction of President Obama on its latest cover has irked some Indian Americans who, fresh off Obama’s visit to the world’s largest democracy, are not happy with the image of the U.S. president as the Hindu diety, Lord Shiva.

The Newsweek cover shows Obama with several arms carrying policy issues while balancing on one leg. The headline reads: “God of All Things” with a subtitle, “Why the Modern Presidency May be too Much for One Person to Handle.”

Shiva, who is one of three pre-eminent gods in the Hindu religion along with Brahma and Vishnu, is considered the destroyer of the world, which must end, metaphorically speaking, in order to be reborn as a more universalistic place. However, the god’s purpose is not to foretell an apocalyptic ending.

Shiva is often manifested as Lord Nataraja, who has multiple arms and balances on one leg, and is viewed as dancing in a representation of the rhythm and harmony of life.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 22, 2010