Amazon draws flak for using Hindu images

Hindu cleric Rajan Zed noted that the products that Hindu devotees were finding objectionable included 11 women’s leggings carrying images of various Hindu Gods

Updated - September 03, 2016 11:29 am IST

Published - October 14, 2014 10:29 pm IST - WASHINGTON

Online retail giant Amazon found itself facing the wrath of devout Hindus here who objected to the Seattle-headquartered corporation’s sale of women’s leggings emblazoned with images of various Hindu deities, asserting that religious sentiments were hurt by these deities adorning parts of the body.

Describing the item as “inappropriate,” Hindu cleric Rajan Zed of Nevada said, Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech, “But faith was… sacred and attempts at trivialising… Hindu gods and goddesses was disturbing to the Hindus world over.”

Mr. Zed noted that the products that Hindu devotees were finding objectionable included 11 women’s leggings carrying images of Ganesha, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Muruga, Bajrang Bali, Rama, Radha-Krishna, and Kali, each priced at around $50; two drawstring pants carrying images of Ganesha and Shiva, priced at $29.95; Ganesha waist yoga pant priced at $62.00; and four sneaker shoelace decorations to tie with shoelaces carrying images of Vishnu and Durga, priced at $4.99 each.

Last month Mr. Zed, who appeared to be monitoring popular cultural icons that potentially injured the sentiments of Hindus in the U.S., identified an exhibition in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which displayed a variety of avatars of the famous, shapely children’s doll, Barbie, and her male companion Ken, including one in the form of the Hindu goddess Kali holding up a severed head.

At the time Mr. Zed said, “Hindus welcome the art world to immerse in Hinduism but [for] taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. Barbie-fication of Kali is simply improper, wrong and out of place.”

A request for comments on this sent to Amazon by The Hindu had not yet been answered at the time this story went to press.

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