Irked by leading e-retailer Amazon selling skateboards and bedspreads with images of Hindu god Ganesha, Hindus in the US on Tuesday urged it to immediately withdraw them from its online platform.
“We are disappointed with Amazon.com for continuing to carry skateboards, bed covers, duvet covers and bedspreads showing images of our deity Lord Ganesha on its site. They should be withdrawn,” said President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed in a statement from Nevada in the south-west state of the US.
As Ganesha is revered in Hindusim and worshipped by millions of Hindus the world over in temples and homes, Zed said it was insult to put the Hindu God’s images on skateboards, used for placing feet, or bed covers for sleeping.
“Inappropriate use of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other purposes hurts the sentiments of the faithful,” reiterated Zed.
Asserting that Hindusim was the world’s oldest and third largest religion with over a billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought, Zed said symbols of any faith, should not be mishandled or taken frivolously.
“Trivialisation of Lord Ganesha is disturbing to the Hindus. Though we are for free artistic expression and speech, faith is sacred and attempt to trivialise it hurt millions of his followers,” noted Zed.
The elephant-headed deity in the Hindu pantheon, considered son of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati, is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles. His name is also invoked on auspicious occasions or starting any venture.
“Amazon President Jeffery P. Bezos should not only apologise for allowing his online platform to marketing products with images of Ganesha, but also withdraw them immediately as they are offensive to us,” added Zed.
The Seattle-based e-commerce player had on January 12 apologised for selling doormats depicting the Indian tricolour (national flag) and removed them from its Canadian website after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj threatened to revoke visas of its official in India.
Expressing regret for offending Indian sentiments, Amazon India Manager Amit Agarwal wrote to Swaraj that the company was committed to respect Indian laws and customs.
Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Sunday told Amazon to desist from being flippant about Indian symbols and icons after the Indian diaspora in the US brought to the Government’s notice that flip-flops (beach sandals) with Mahatma Gandhi’s image were being sold on its American website by a third-party vendors.
Amazon’s Indian subsidiary is headquartered in Bengaluru.