Amazon has come under heavy fire for selling items, including underwear, that feature sacred Hindu deities. The company’s critics are accusing Amazon of scarilege and cultural appropriation.
Of particular concern is underwear carrying the image of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha. Before Amazon’s Canadian counterpart took down the offending e-commerce page, a pair of “inappropriate” panties (selling for 25.99 Canadian dollars) read: “Women’s Ganesh Ganesa Ganapati 4 White Hipsters.”
“Hindu deities Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to wear on your hip or legs or put your feet on or touch with your feet or sleep/sit on. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the faithful,” Rajan Zed said in a statement.
Zed also urged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to issue a formal apology together with the removal of the items. Meanwhile, a hashtag #BoycottAmazon is now circulating widely on social media in Hindu communities, urging people not to buy from the retailer.
Amazon removes Lord Ganesha underwear & skateboards after Hindus protest
Amazon.com removed underwear and skateboards carrying image of Lord Ganesh from its website within hours after Hindus protested. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Amazon.com for understanding and feeling the concerns of Hindu community.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, however, said that an official apology from Amazon.com and its President Jeffrey P. Bezos to the upset Hindu community was still due as this was not the first time for the company to offer such products which were deemed offensive by Hindus.
Moreover; bedcovers, bed sheets, bedspreads, picnic beach sheets, cigarette cases, waist pants; carrying the images of Hindu deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi and Kali were still being sold at Amazon.com; which we urge the company to show some maturity and immediately withdraw, Rajan Zed stated.
Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, he added.
In a separate incident, upset Hindus are also urging New Braunfels (Texas) based New Braunfels Brewing Company (NBBC) to withdraw three beers named after Hindu deity Lord Shiva, calling these highly inappropriate. These are: “Shiva’s Tears”, “Shiva’s Wrath” and “Cosmic Dancer”.
To some rootless, urban Hindus in Bharat, these might seem like frivolous issues – but the question to be asked is whether underwear featuring Jesus or Mary would be acceptable to Christians in Bharat or the West? We have seen the true face of Christian institutional intolerance in Bharat when the Archdiocese of Mumbai extracted an ‘unconditional apology’ from AIB for jokes deemed offensive to the Christian community.
And lets not even talk about what would be acceptable to Muslims – after all, we know what happened to the French cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo who dared mock the prophet of Islam.
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