Kempinski Hotel Bangkok renamed “Hanuman Bar” after Hindu protest

Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, belonging to luxury hotel chain Kempinski, has reportedly renamed its bar carrying the name of Hindu deity Hanuman; after Hindus protested calling it “highly inappropriate”.

Its “Hanuman Bar” is now called “1897 Lounge”. A martini concoction of Hanuman Bar called “Hanumantini”, which included Vodka and which Hindus also objected; has also been renamed as “1897TINI”.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Kempinski Hotels for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that such a nomenclature was insensitive.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had said that Lord Hanuman was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for selling liquor and beef. Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for mercantile greed or other agenda was not okay, as it hurt the devotees.

We were still waiting for a formal apology from Kempinski Hotels and its CEO Bernold Schroeder for naming a bar and a martini after a sacred Hindu deity in the first place, Rajan Zed pointed out.

Selling beef and liquor in the name of a Hindu deity was a desecration. Cow, the seat of many deities, was sacred and had long been venerated in Hinduism. Kempinski, which claimed of “people-centred principles”, should have shown some maturity when naming a bar; Zed had indicated.

Luxury hotels should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of the immensely venerated Lord Hanuman to be treated like this; 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 such trivialization of a greatly venerated Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus. 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 insensitive, Zed added.

In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is known for incredible strength and was a perfect grammarian.

Menu of “Hanuman Bar” at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok included wagyu beef tartare, grilled beef, angus beef burger, beef ragout, beef khao pad; besides various kinds of vodka, gin, tequila, whisky, rum, liqueurs, beer, brandy, etc.

Headquartered in Geneva and Munich, Kempinski, hoteliers since 1897 with reportedly about 81 hotels around the globe, claims to be “Europe’s oldest luxury hotel company” and also claims that their bars “are the epitome of elegance”. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok describes itself as “five-star luxury resort-inspired haven”.

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