Miami (Florida) headquartered firm Martha Acuna Sport Wear seems to have removed from its website Ganesh Lavanda Leggings, carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesh; after upset Hindus protested calling it “highly inappropriate”. These leggings were not found on the company website when searched today. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Martha Acuna Sport Wear for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought that placing images of Lord Ganesh on such a product was insensitive. They were, however, still waiting for a formal apology from the company and its CEO Martha Acuna; Zed added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that companies like Martha Acuna Sport Wear 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 Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs, thighs, calves and knees; or for wicking human 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 Lord Ganesh to be displayed on leggings, 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; Rajan Zed had noted. Zed had stated that such trivialization of Hindu deity 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 hurt the followers, Zed added. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Martha Acuna Sport Wear is claimed to be “Inspired by Feminine Energy” and states that “Our challenge is to continue to reinvent ourselves every day” and “All our fabrics are sublimated”. Description of objectionable “Ganesh Lavanda Leggings” (now removed), priced at $82, included “built-in shapeware to provide an instant butt lift with ruched detailing at mid-rise waist”.