Upset Hindus are urging Greensboro (North Carolina) based firm “Goddess By Rachael Reed” for immediate withdrawal of leggings-skirt-dresses carrying images of Hindu goddesses Lakshmi and Kali; calling it highly inappropriate. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that goddesses Lakshmi and Kali were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs, thighs, calves, knees, etc. 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.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged “Goddess By Rachael Reed” and its CEO to offer a formal apology; besides withdrawing Lakshmi Leggings, Lakshmi Skirt, Kali Ma Dresses from its website, and websites of Etsy and other resellers. Clothing companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of the immensely venerated goddesses Lakshmi and Kali to be displayed on leggings and skirts; Rajan Zed 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 noted.
Rajan Zed further said 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. In Hinduism, Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and beauty and is also known as ‘world-mother’. Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is considered the goddess of time and change; and some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity. “Goddess By Rachael Reed” sells women’s clothing, books, accessories, etc. Lakshmi Leggings (described as “hot fashion staple”) and Lakshmi Skirt were priced at $45 each; while Kali Ma Dresses were priced at $55 each.