While performing foot-in-mouthasana, the BBC has offended up to one billion Hindus by referring to yoga as a “new age fad.”
BBC News-World posted a video on January 10 marking the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda who is known and celebrated for introducing Eastern philosophies to the Western world in the late 19th Century. Innocent enough, until the BBC refers to Vivekananda as “the man behind yoga and other new age fads.” The President of Universal Society of Hinduism, ever eagle-eyed Rajan Zed, is asking for an apology for what he calls insensitive and belittling remarks. For the sake of context, the quote in its entirety was, “Yoga, meditation and new age fads have become a multi-million dollar industry.” Semantics aside, it is hard to argue with the last bit.
Zed said that the BBC “…should immediately apologize for this inappropriate terminology and hurting the feelings of about one billion Hindus and publish it on BBC website.”
Whether or not Zed is qualified to speak to the feelings of one billion Hindus is up for debate. The knowledge that yoga has been around for far longer than any other so-called fad is not. Certainly the BBC is not the only media outlet to suggest the growing western popularity in yoga is a fad (and cautious Lululemon stock holders have been wary of the bursting bubble for a while now) but this offense was not an isolated case.
Tensions may be remaining from an incident a few months back in which the BBC labeled the Hindu festival of Holi as, “filthy holiday.” BBC News’ Editor On Demand Mark Barlex later issued an apology after this mishap stating, “…we apologise for any offence that was caused.”
BBC has not yet responded to Zed’s demands for an apology.