Upcoming free-to-play online game Smite features three Hindu gods: Kali, Vamana and Agni.
According to religious leader Rajan Zed, the manner that they are depicted in the game is insensitive to Hindu worshippers. The game, Zed contends, trivializes these highly revered Hindu deities, who are worshipped in temples and home shrines and not simply reduced to video game characters. Zed is calling for the gods' removal from the game, which is being developed by American developer Hi-Rez Studios.
Smite is described as "online battleground between mythical gods", and it allows players to pick their god and then duke it out in virtual combat.
In an official statement from Zed, the "Hindu statesman" notes that Hindus are, of course, for free speech. The issue here is that Zed believes Smite belittles Hinduism and hurts believers, as faith is something sacred and should be respected.
For some time now, Zed has publically disapproved of how Western popular culture re-appropriates Hindu concepts and gods: whether that be Heidi Klum's Halloween costume, James Cameron's Avatar, or yoga mats.