What are your thoughts on the gift shop at the end of the film 7 Wonders of India: Khajuraho? Could you imagine other religious traditions selling replicas of such explicit erotic art? What does this tell you about Hinduism?

The gift shop at the end of the video suggests that Hinduism, like other religions, isn't opposed to entering the capitalist marketplace. It’s possible to imagine other religious traditions selling erotic art because sexuality plays a part in other religions as well.

Expert Answers

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To come up with thoughts about the gift shop at the end of the film, one might want to think about commoditization. Consider how certain religions—Hinduism or otherwise—have turned aspects of their beliefs and tradition into items that can be incorporated into the capitalist economy.

While other religions might not sell such erotic art, that doesn’t mean that sexuality isn’t a part of their heritage in someway. Many Christian painters have depicted Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a sensual manner.

However, some Christians take umbrage with highly-sexualized or eroticized depictions of their religion. In the late 1990s, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City showcased Chris Ofilis’s portrait of Mary, which featured elephant excrement. The mayor of New York City at the time, Rudy Giuliani, was so offended by the sexually-charged representation that he threatened to cut off funding to the museum.

Ultimately, what the gift shop says about Hinduism might not be so different from what the gift shop at the Anne Frank House says about Judaism or what the gift shop at the Vatican says about Catholicism. These religions, too, are apparently not opposed to entering the capitalist marketplace in some capacity. While they might not be selling sexualized goods, they are, nonetheless, selling something that's tied to their religion.

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