Just before the Portsmouth City Council Hindu invocation, from left to right, are— Councilmember William E. Moody Jr., Vice Mayor Paige D. Cherry, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, Mayor Kenneth I. Wright, Councilmember Elizabeth M. Psimas, Councilmember Marlene W. Randall and Councilmember Curtis E. Edmonds Sr.
Upset Hindus have urged for the immediate withdrawal of duvet cover carrying image of Lord Ganesha sold by a Philadelphia (USA) headquartered firm Urban Outfitters (UO), Inc., calling it inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be slept upon. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Richard A. Hayne and Tedford Marlow; President of Urban Outfitters, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Outfitters Group respectively; to offer an apology.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed argued.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Lord Ganesha 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.
Duvet cover which Hindu devotees are finding objectionable is claimed to be Made in the USA and is priced at $129.00-$169.00 on the website. UO website describes it as “UO Exclusive” and “topped with a standout illustration by the talented Valentina Ramos”.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. is a retail company which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise in Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN brands through stores in USA, Canada, and Europe; besides garden center, catalogs, websites and wholesale. It boasts of its “established ability to understand our customers and connect with them on an emotional level” and calls its brands “both compelling and distinct”.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.