Spiderman – Reborn in India

The Times of India reports that in light of Marvel Comics’ plan to indianise the superhero to take advantage of the popularity brought on by the two motion pictures, “Peter Parker of Queens, the hero under the classic Spiderman mask, will be replaced by a young, Indian boy named Pavitr Prabhakar” from Mumbai (Once upon a time called Bombay).

As Spiderman, Pavitr leaps around rickshaws and scooters in Indian streets, while swinging from monuments such as the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal.

My imagination refused to draw the visuals in my head as I read that. Does India have enough high-rise buildings in India to help the guy swing around? Swing from the Taj Mahal? Are there other buildings around the Taj to swing to or do they plan our new hero to go to popular sites just for a swinging frenzy?

The Green Goblin will appears as a Rakshasa, the Indian mythological demon.

The way the sentence has been phrased, it can be taken to mean two things: “Rakshasa” or “a rakshasa”.

As a name, the only time I have come across it is as name of chief minister of King Nand, and there is a very famous anecdote on how Chanakya (the famous political brain) made him switch sides to Chandragupta Maurya. But that’s only a few hundred years ago. Not in mythology.

In Indian mythology, rakshasa is a community. A culture. A way of life. But very much human. The activities of a rakshasa were perhaps not very ethical or moral by accepted standards that were perhaps more prevalent. That is why sometimes we mention that a person’s activities are ‘rakshasi’ (that which befits rakshas). Rakshas are described as powerful men who did not put their power (be it physical, armed or political) to much good use most of the time. Case in point: Ravan — often described as a ‘demon king’ (sic) — was a pundit by his community who knew all 4 Vedas and 6 Shastra (and hence the description of 10 heads), but he was a rakshas by his karm (activities). He misused the power provided him as a king and a highly educated man and led his people in what could be described as immoral/unethical ways of life. Yet, his very brother Vibhishan is not considered or described as a ‘demon’ (sic) and is nowhere drawn anywhere in resemblance to the rest of his brothers in physical appearance.

“Indian mythological demon”? I know of no such thing. I am apalled that we continously quote the existence of ‘demons’ in Indian Mythology. I would love to be proven wrong by anybody who can quote any Indian scripture where such a thing as a ‘force of darkness’ is mentioned and quotes the activities of minions that work for it.

What utter hogwash. Market-Sense surely cannot obfuscate common sense so thoroughly to come up with such an outrage.

Update: Wasn’t Spiderman supposed to be all about science? I remember watching interviews of Spiderman (the movie) where those in production underlined their requirement to remain relevant to science in the true spirit of the character and its creator. Everything about this superhero is supposed to be believable, based on some scientific possibility, even if it is stretched a bit. Introducing mythology would be against the spirit of Spiderman.

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One Response to “Spiderman – Reborn in India”

  1. Karanbir Singh - Thinkability Says:

    Spider Man in India
    I guess everyone knows about Spider Man coming to india ( with all the slashdot coverage, main stream media coverage in India and of-course my posts on orkut! ), plus it showed up all over the blogging world as well.

    But one interesting point that Ab…

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