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Varanasi as ‘city of dead’ in ‘Believer With Reza Aslan’ sparks row

SNS | New Delhi |

A new television series Believer With Reza Aslan has sparked off a controversy and many have taken to social networking sites to express their anger.

The first trailer of the Believer… shows Varanasi, the city of light, in a different light. This has drawn flak from people worldwide.

While the TV channel maintains that the show is a spiritual adventure series, which follows renowned author Reja Aslan, the trailer suggests Varanasi has become a giant crematorium. This has set Twitter abuzz with a lot of reactions.

Extremely vexed by it, a Hindu organisation in the United States, American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), issued a statement, accusing the television channel of promoting xenophobia and, especially, Hinduphobia.

Among them, prominent Indian writer, Amish Tripathi tweeted, “We Indians do not call Kashi the City of the Dead. It's the City of Light. Perhaps you guys should do some actual research.”

Also, calling the series ‘Hinduphobic’ Indian-American writer and Hindu activist, Rajiv Malhotra wrote, “Our new serial (Believer..) is heavily Hinduphobic. Ashes are immersed, not ‘dumped’.”

Interestingly, according to Rejan Aslan, who takes the audience through the trailer said that, ‘Believer With Reza Aslan’ is the first television series whose TV crew was allowed to film from inside the burning ghats of Varanasi.

The author even took to social media to hit back at the critics. alleging the series was “Hinduphobic”. “Unlike you Hindu-American Foundation actually watched the episode and disagrees that it is "Hinduphobic" but go on,” he wrote.