Just days after the news broke that a Satanic Temple in New York City is seeking to build a monument to Satan on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol, a Hindu organization announced this week that it, too, would like to build a monument there, to one of its chief deities.
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, emailed his request to the Oklahoma State Capitol Preservation Commission.
Zed, of Nevada, said in a press release that Hindus want to erect a statue of Lord Hanuman, a Hindu deity “who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was (a) perfect grammarian.”
He said the statue would raise awareness of Oklahomans about Hinduism.
Commission Chairman Trait Thompson, who also is a senior policy adviser for Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, said he had received the request from Zed and had referred him to the website, which has all the application forms.
“I suppose when one group gets some publicity, everyone else wants to make their point,” he said.
Is there any chance a Hindu statue will be built at the Capitol?
“I can’t speak for the commission,” Thompson said.
“If they follow through and put forth a good application, it will be voted on. It’s hard to say. There are a lot of factors.”
The commission was formed in 1982 to oversee the preservation and restoration of the Oklahoma State Capitol building, and later, the Governor’s Mansion. As controller of the public display of art objects there, it recently oversaw the installation of a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol.
Hari Musapeta, spokesman for the Hindu Temple of Greater Tulsa, said he had not heard of Zed or the Universal Society of Hinduism.
He said he would “need to learn about the man and the organization,” before commenting on the application.
He was familiar, however, with Lord Hanuman, which he described as “a powerful god, the No. 1 Hindu deity after Lord Rama.”
He said Tulsa has some 5,000 to 8,000 Hindu families, many of them professional people from India.
Zed declined an interview, and said everything he was prepared to say was in the press release.
According to his website, he is an Indo-American and Hindu statesman who gave the first Hindu opening prayer in the U.S. Senate, was invited by the president of the European Parliament to a meeting in Brussels to discuss Hindu issues, and has delivered prayers at several state legislatures.
Several Oklahoma lawmakers responded negatively to the request by a Satanic Temple to put a monument to Satan at the Capitol. The request apparently was in response to the recent installation of the Ten Commandments monument.
Bill Sherman Source