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Hindus slam Melbourne online retailer for selling leggings with Hindu Gods imprints

Melbourne, October 28: Upset Hindus have urged for the immediate withdrawal of leggings carrying images of various Hindu gods and goddesses, calling it highly inappropriate.

The leggings are being sold online at Redbubble, which is an online marketplace headquartered in Melbourne.

Founded in 2006, Redbubble is “a global online marketplace powered by artists”; listed on Australian Securities Exchange with another office in San Francisco, USA.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement from Nevada USA, said that “Hindu deities printed on Redbubble leggings – Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Krishna, Ganesha, Durga, Lakshmi, Skanda, Saraswati, Hanuman, Kali, Seshnarayana are highly revered in Hinduism.

“They are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrine not to be worn around one’s legs.

“Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurts devotees”, he emphasised.

Hindu Gods imprinted on leggings, being sold on Redbubble
Hindu Gods imprinted on leggings, being sold on Redbubble

Calling for withdrawal of the sale of these leggings, Zed, president Universal Society of Hinduism urged Redbubble CEO Martin Hosking and Board Chair Richard Cawsey to offer a formal apology.

Redbubble has over 4.2 million online customers from over 196 different countries.

Zed further noted that such continued trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the Hindus world over.

“Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith (is) sacred and attempts at trivializing that hurt followers”, Zed added.

Hindus in the United Kingdom earlier sought apology from London Fashion Week for trivializing deities in one of the LFW shows in London on September 19.

Organizer, British Fashion Council (BFC); principal sponsor Sunglass Hut; and London based fashion designer Ashish Gupta were challenged for trivializing Hindu deities with the “highly inappropriate fashion parade of look-alike Hindu deities for mercantile greed”.

BFC was criticised for using government funding inappropriately – which was insensitive and hurtful to Hindus.

The fashionista media ridiculed the parade as “Bollywood Bloodbath” catwalk show at LFW: London’s Brewer Street.

Fashion website styleXstyle, called it “Downright Disrespectful”, and wrote that “we couldn’t help but notice how models were dressed as Hindu deities to showcase the looks.

“I see models’ faces painted to replicate that of Hindu Gods.

Designer Ashish Gupta's look-alike Lord Shiva
Designer Ashish Gupta’s look-alike Lord Shiva

“What does Lord Shiva or Hindu Goddess Kali have to do with fashion?

“Cultural appropriation is not cool or hip or edgy. It’s disrespectful.”

Luxottica owned Sunglass Hut also came under fire for sponsoring such “disrespectful shows”.

Earlier this year, another online retailer, Amazon came under attack for selling doormats through their website carrying the images of various Hindu deities-temples-saint.

Amazon.com found itself under frenzied social media attack after Hindus found it shocking that mercantile greed was apparently persuading Amazon to provide faces of Hindu Gods for the world to scrub or wipe the soles of their shoes.

In another earlier instance Amazon had gotten into trouble over Hindu sentiments when in 2014 the website was selling women’s leggings carrying images of various Hindu Gods, including a Barbie-fied version of Kali.

“Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one 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.

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, Hindus welcomed Vatican’s Deepavali greetings to “Hindu Friends”.

Hindus have commended Vatican for its “message for the feast of Deepavali”.

In a statement, the Vatican said: “The health of society depends on our familial bonds.

“As Christians and Hindus…may we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering consolation and strength to all in need”

“…parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity.

“May your celebrations around the world deepen your familial bonds, and bring joy and peace to your homes and communities.”

Titled – Christians and Hindus:  Promoting hope among families; the Deepavali message was signed by President Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Secretary Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Most popular of Hindu festivals Deepavali (Diwali) is the festival of lights to dispel the darkness, lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

It falls on October 30 this year.

Mishka Anderson

feature image: Model Neelam Gill opened LFW walking as a Hindu Goddess

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