Sioux Falls (South Dakota) located “CuffLinks”, “The World’s Largest Retailer of Cufflinks”, seems to have removed Hindu deity Ganesha shaped cufflinks, after Hindus protested calling these “highly inappropriate”.
These $940 Made in USA “Ganesha Cufflinks” were absent from “CuffLinks” website when searched today. On searching for ganesha, it said: “Your search returned no results.”
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked “CuffLinks” for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that such a product was insensitive. We were, however, still waiting for the formal apology from the firm; he added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that companies like “CuffLinks” 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.
Rajan 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 secure the cuffs of dress shirts, misused as a fashion statement, thrown around loosely, etc.
“CuffLinks”; which claims to partner with Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Hudsons Bay, shop Disney, Star Wars, Marvel; should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege and belittling sacred Hindu deity. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Lord Ganesha to be flaunted like this; Zed had indicated.
Rajan Zed had emphasized that inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for mercantile or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. He had also urged “CuffLinks” to offer a formal apology; besides withdrawing $940 “Ganesha Cufflinks” from its website.
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 hurt the followers, Zed added.
Zed was of the view that insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
Before removal, “Ganesha Cufflinks” were claimed to be made with 925 Sterling Silver and intricately hand-painted with enamel. “CuffLinks”, established in 1999, defines itself as “The mens accessories marketplace” and “Details For The Well Dressed Man”.