A Melbourne-based fashion label Soulan Zee withdrew lingerie carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha after protests from prominent Hindu activist Rajan Zed and others.
In an email to Zed, designer Leyla Raif wrote that the objectionable products had been withdrawn.
“I have since removed all items entailing the Ganesha print from my website. I had no intention to offend anyone by producing these printed garments and have now stopped production of them, all items are removed from the website,” she wrote.
Hindus had demanded that the products be removed from the website within 24 hours.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada, US, thanked Soulan Zee for understanding the concerns of Hindu community regarding Lord Ganesha’s image on a product of such a kind.
He, however, pointed out that they were still waiting for a formal apology from Soulan Zee and its CEO.
Zed suggested that fashion companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
Adding that Lord Ganesha is highly revered in Hinduism and is worshipped in temples and home, Zed warned that the image should not adorn one’s buttocks and crotch. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
“Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled,” Zed noted.
Zed stated that such trivialization of Hindu deities is disturbing to Hindus the world over. “Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers,” Zed added.
Ganesha Bootys, described as “perfect outfit for festivals, parties and events” and “Sexy high waisted boooootys”, were priced at AU$40 (Rs.2015).
The fashion label describes itself as “psychedelic clothing for dreamers” and believes in “living life to the fullest”.