Stirling (New Jersey) based online body jewelry company RebelBod removed belly button rings carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha after Hindus protested; calling it highly inappropriate. Seven objectionable belly button rings, which Hindus urged RebelBod to withdraw, were not found on its website when searched today.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked RebelBod for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was insensitive. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that companies should send their concerned staff 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 highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s belly button or used as a navel toy or become a tool for sexy navel fashion. 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.
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 Hindu deities was disturbing to the worshippers. 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 worshiped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. There are about three million Hindus in the USA.
These seven objectionable Lord Ganesha belly button rings, when earlier available on RebelBod (whose tagline is “be yourself with our crafted body jewelry”) website before the protest, were priced between $15.97 to $24.97.