In yet another example of the ignorance and disrespect that the ‘civilized’ West and the average citizen of the ‘greatest nation of Earth’ i.e. America show towards non-Abrahamic cultures, an American e-commerce company is selling toilet seats with a photo of Sri Ganesha.
Many Hindus are urging the Brooklyn (New York) headquartered e-commerce company Etsy, Inc. for immediate withdrawal of toilet seat carrying image of Bhagwan Ganesha, and asking Etsy and its CEO Josh Silverman to offer a formal apology.
The item offered by a vendor called Debra Hughes, was still being sold on the e-commerce site at the time of filing this report, and the description on the site says –
“Who wouldn’t want this Ganesha protecting your bathroom? But she’s not just any Ganesha, she’s a bathroom Ganesha and she’s holding all the necessary beauty essentials including: a comb, mirror, toothbrush and toothpaste. In place of the rat in the corner I placed a rat tail comb, instead. I triple coated this in polyurethane to protect it from minor bathroom mishaps and to prolong it’s longevity.”
Etsy; founded in 2005 in an apartment in Brooklyn and now headquartered in its Dumbo neighborhood with additional offices in France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, San Francisco (California), Hudson (New York); describes itself as “a global creative commerce platform”. It claims to have had annual gross merchandise sales of $2.84B in 2016.
In this day and age, with all information being available through the internet, there is no excuse for ignorance regarding what Sri Ganesha means for 1.5 billion+ Hindus, Buddhists and other Dharmics around the world. The fact that Debra Hughes is aware that Ganesha is considered a remover of obstacles and has mushak (mouse) as his mount, shows that she cannot be unaware of the sacredness which she is trivializing and abusing.
While Western commentators are quick to condemn Bharat whenever the Christian missionary gang shouts ‘persecution’, they ignore the ridicule and denigration which Hindus in the West (a minority in the true sense) face from mainstream Western culture. Of course, the Indian-American liberal intelligentsia also overlooks this Hinduphobia, busy that they are in bashing ‘Hindutva fascism’ and pleasing their White employers.
This is why challenging the West’s self-serving Universalism and reversing the gaze on the West through a non-Western lens, as Rajiv Malhotra describes in his seminal book ‘Being Different‘, is so important. The world needs to learn how to preserve difference with mutual respect – not with mere “tolerance”.
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