It’s a TV series called ‘Yeshu’, the Hindi name for Jesus and it’s slated for telecast on ‘&TV’ a ZEE TV subsidiary, on December 22. This TV series, produced and directed by Arvind Babbal is being touted as having ‘a never before story line’. The claim is certainly true, because what’s being promised by the promos is a spicy dish of made up masala that isn’t there in the Bible.
Even the tag line, being so proudly presented by the channel is offensive to a great number of professing Christians. the tagline says: ‘Kya aapne dekha hai kareeb se jo aaj bhi bandha hai saleeb se?’ This translates as ‘ have you taken a close look at he who is even still bound to the cross today?’ As one affronted individual pointed out,” Jesus isn’t tied to a cross today, he’s risen!
This series, judging by the promos and the press releases, has stretched the limits of poetic licence, foraying into fantasy and borrowing from gnostic tales the legends of Jesus’ childhood, which aren’t part of the accepted books of the Bible. There is already an appeal on you tube ” YESHU SERIAL-THREAT FOR CHRISTIANS” that calls out the series for being inaccurate, fanciful and misleading about the life of Christ as portrayed in the gospels and accepted by Christians.
The channel has put out a press release that says, “‘Yeshu’ is a story of an exceptionally benevolent child who only wants to do good and spread happiness all around him. His love and compassion for all is a stark contrast to the dark, evil forces prevalent during his lifetime. Witnessing the various atrocities on his family and in society has a deep impact on him. His attempt to help others and ease their pain often leads to situations where he inevitably ends up being hurt and condemned, by not just the oppressors, but also people at large. But even that does not stop Yeshu from continuing on his path.
Born in a cowshed and devoutly religious home, Yeshu, in his growing up years, has profound knowledge and understanding of spirituality and religion, which shapes his core beliefs of love, compassion, forgiveness and peace. While he is blessed with miraculous powers, he is unaware of them. Through his childhood, Yeshu is nurtured and guided towards his life purpose by his mother.”
The series probably follows the pattern of other ‘creative representations and retelling of stories’ that are being put on by the channel, but as its date of release nears, there is unease among a prominent number of Christians that the series will present a false and embellished life of Jesus and it will cause confusion in the minds of Chrstian children about the accepted tenets of their faith.
A concerned Catholic parent said that the series would undo whatever catechism her kids have learnt at Sunday school, and wondered why a section of the clergy seems to be endorsing this ‘media monstrosity designed to undermine over 4 centuries of Latin catholic tradition’.
It would be prudent for the producers to put out a statement that ‘Yeshu’ is a series about a the adventures of a fictional child, and that it is a work of fiction ‘inspired’ to an extent by the New Testament.