Melbourne (Australia) based fashion label “Soulan Zee” withdrew bootys carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha from its website within less than 24 hours after upset Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
Designer Leyla Raif of Soulan Zee, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed who spearheaded the protest asking for withdrawal of this objectionable product, wrote: “I have since removed all items entailing the Ganesha print from my website. I had no intention to offend anyone by producing these printed garments and have now stopped production of them, all items are removed from the website.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Soulan Zee for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was highly insensitive.
Rajan Zed, however, pointed out that they were still waiting for a formal apology from Soulan Zee and its CEO to the upset Hindu community.
Zed suggested that fashion companies 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 highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s buttocks and crotch. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts 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 1.1 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 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.
Ganesha Bootys, described as “perfect outfit for festivals, parties and events” and “Sexy high waisted boooootys”, were priced at AU$40.00. Soulan Zee, an Australia fashion label which claims to have created custom pieces for American singer-actress Miley Cyrus, describes itself as “psychedelic clothing for dreamers” and believes in “living life to the fullest”. Created by designer Leyla Raif, its all garments are claimed to be “designed and handmade with love in Melbourne”. Besides online sales on its website; it has stockists in Northcote (Victoria), various online stockists in USA and United Kingdom and ships to all-over Australia, USA, United Kingdom, China, India, Sweden and New Zealand.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.