Yesterday I watched a Youtube video where a couple of people were severely reprimanding a 20 something young man for making a mention of a clueless Hanuman in his standup comedy act. The man in his act had reportedly said that “Because Hanuman was clueless about which medicinal plant (the Sanjivani Booti or Panacea of all ailments), he chose to bring back the entire mountain”. This had angered these people, who not only took the man to the police station, but also gave him a lengthy lecture (recorded dutifully) on the lines —
Do you really believe that lord Hanuman was that clueless?
The young man kept saying sorry, and intelligently agreed to everything these people wanted him to believe.
That said, as kids we used to go enthusiastically to Ramleela (The enactment of Lord Rama’s life, up to Ravan’s killing) every year. If I remember correctly, out of the 10 days of enactment, some of the the days the audience were really fond of were — the Sita swayamvar (choosing husband for self), Lanka Dahan (burning of Lanka) and; the search for Sanjeevani Booti. The audience liked these episodes for their funny enactment. For instance, in the Sita swayamvar, every king or prince except Rama, were made fun of. Such as the one from today’s Western UP, who when asked to give his introduction, couldn’t understand the basic difference between “Parichay and Parche” (Hindi equivalents for Introduction and a Piece of Paper, respectively). So in a way, the dialectical limitations of that person were made fund of. In the same way, the actor playing Hanuman actually spent time cluelessly in front of the mountain, and finally decides to bring back the entire mountain. The audience, irrespective of their age, laughed and clapped heartily at such cluelessness. Kids had an added incentive, a handful of roasted peanuts; something which parents allowed (for money reasons) only during such events.
Even Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan serial, portrayed a clueless Hanuman.
To conclude, the point which I want here is simple; most of us can truthfully agree to such funny depiction. A sizable section of our population will be telling a lie, if they say they haven’t seen depiction of a clueless Hanuman. Before yesterday, I hadn’t any clue that some people have suddenly become so conservative that portraying a clueless Hanuman offends them.
Finally, it is difficult to understand such acute unhappiness of these people especially when in the last 30 years we have seen very non-godly type depiction of Hindu mythological figures in TV serials. We have seen mythological figures socializing like ordinary mortal couples. We have also seen (and are seeing) very Bollywood type depiction of Gods and Goddesses. If we are accepting to all such depiction, then why some among us are becoming unnecessarily angry at the cluelessness of our gods. They can be seen as innocent, the way many of us were as kids. Laughing, clapping and enjoying the amusing behavior of Hanuman, with our small treasures of roasted peanuts.