Ventura (California) based clothing company “Zen Fuego” has admitted “mistake” and withdrew the yoga towel carrying image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha after Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
Zen Fuego, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: It was our mistake to incorporate the image of Lord Ganesha on our yoga towel. Thank you for making it clear to us that this was not acceptable…We meant no disrespect when we featured Lord Ganesha on our towel, but now we understand our error and that it was offensive to the Hindu community. The towel is no longer available and we will be more thoughtful moving forward.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked “Zen Fuego” for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that such a product was insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that 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.
Zed had said that Lord Ganesha was greatly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to lie/sit/stand/tread/walk on or put abdomen, ankles, body, buttocks, calves, feet, genitals, groin, heels, hips, knees, legs, thighs, toes, umbilicus, etc. on or for absorbing/handling/wiping one’s 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.
Clothing companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of the immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesha to be displayed on a yoga towel, Rajan Zed had emphasized.
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 were painful for the followers, Zed added.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
This objectionable Lord Ganesha “Microfiber Yoga Towel with silicone dots” claimed to give you “improved grip for sweaty yoga or a soft place for your Yin practice” and contain “super absorbent microfiber”. Priced at $45, its description stated: allow Ganesha to help you remove obstacles from your path.
“Zen Fuego”, which claims “enlightenment through awesomeness”, sells yoga towels, women’s tops, men’s tees online.