Haverfordwest (Pembrokeshire, Wales) based online gift-shop “Wisdom Wares” removed socks carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha; after Hindus protested calling these “highly inappropriate”.
“Hop Hare Bamboo Socks – Ganesha”, which were earlier selling at £7.95, were absent from “Wisdom Wares” website when searched today. “No results found for “Ganesha””, it pointed out.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked “Wisdom Wares” for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that such a product was insensitive. We were, however, still waiting for the formal apology from “Wisdom Wares”, he added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs/feet/ankles/calves or absorb sweat. Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Online retailers should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivialising of the immensely venerated Lord Ganesha to be treated like this; Rajan Zed had emphasised.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 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 had noted.
Rajan Zed had stated that 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.
“Wisdom Wares”, whose tagline is “Gifts from around the world, Handmade with love.”, had mentioned that “Our socks refer to mysticism, beliefs, traditions and experiences.”
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.