Maltashopper apologizes & removes Lord Ganesha socks after Hindu protest

Santa Venera (Malta) based “Malta’s leading Home Decor E-Commerce site” Maltashopper apologized and withdrew socks carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha; which protesting Hindus called “highly inappropriate”.

David Thake, Chairman of Maltashopper Limited, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed (who spearheaded this protest), wrote: Recognizing the significance of Lord Ganesh in Hinduism and understanding the inappropriateness of depicting such a revered figure on socks, we are taking immediate and decisive action. We have immediately removed the product from our platform and do not hesitate to issue an apology to you and the Hindu community, and any others affected by this oversight…We are committed to learning from this incident and making the necessary adjustments to our operations…”.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Maltashopper and Thake for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought that the image of Lord Ganesha on 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 highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s feet-ankles-legs, “keep your feet cozy and dry”, “prevent sweat and odor”, etc. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

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, Rajan Zed had noted.

Zed had stated that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the Hindus world over. 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 was 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.

They “are a statement of eco-conscious fashion”, Maltashopper had claimed about Ganesha socks, which were priced at €6.95. Maltashopper also stated on its website: Ganesha, the Hindu deity known as the remover of obstacles, symbolizes wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.

Maltashopper, started in 2011, “was established to fill a gap in the furniture and home decor sector in Malta and Gozo”. It sells IKEA, Casa, Bliss, Bricocenter, etc., products.

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