Kali is a Hindu goddess.
Kali is worshipped as a major figure in the Hindu religion and is the consort of Shiva. She is the Goddess of Time, Change, Death and the eradicator of all evils, described as having the appearance as a ferocious, violent, four-armed woman holding a sword in one hand and a severed head in the other.
The Thuggee cult — a fringe, radical religious offshoot of Islam and then later Hinduism — latched on to Kali's role as the goddess of destruction and centered their worship around a twisted take on that role. They committed acts of terrorism and mass murder, worshipped her with human sacrifices, and sought to rule the world in her name in ways that were considered atrocious and heretical by all outsiders, especially mainstream Hindus. The Thuggee were subsequently crushed by the British in the 1830s and thought to be wiped out.
However, a century later, Indiana Jones discovered that the Thuggee were resurgent. By 1930, the Anglo-Indian captain Blake had resurrected Thug practices to strike back at the peoples of both countries who had rejected his mixed-race heritage, and around 1935, a group led by Mola Ram out of Pankot Province used a concoction called the Blood of Kali to brainwash people to their cause.
Behind the scenes
There is some controversy in the portrayals of Kali in art, media and film, including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where there is a general misconception of Kali's role in Hindu culture. The main organization portrayed in the movies with her worship is a highly unorthodox and heretical terrorist group that is highly divorced from mainstream Hinduism, and so it should be kept in mind that the inaccuracies in how she is portrayed largely stem from that twisted world view.
Although Kali is typically portrayed as having four arms, the main idol of her in the Temple of Doom has six; one holding a sword, one holding a severed head (both typical for a depiction of Kali), two resting upon the ledges at either side of her, and two outstretched, holding skulls, which contain the pulleys for the sacrificial cage.
Although Kali didn't appear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, her Thuggee statue is briefly visible in one of the teaser trailers for the film as some footage of the temple scenes from Temple of Doom was included.
- Indiana Jones et la Cité de la Foudre (Statue)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Statue)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom novel (Statue)
- Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead (Mentioned only)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Sourcebook
- Indiana Jones Artifacts
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
Notes and references
- Kali in the Western media at HinduVoice.co.uk (Web archive)