Urban Outfitters (UO), a publicly traded retail company headquartered in Philadelphia (USA) which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise, has removed Lord Ganesha Duvet Cover from its website after Hindus protested calling it inappropriate.
Lord Ganesha Duvet Cover, an “Online Only” item, did not show up after search on UO website today.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked UO for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought Lord Ganesha’s image on duvet cover was highly inappropriate and trivializing of highly revered Hindu deity.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that an official apology from UO to the upset Hindu community was still due as it was their second incident trivializing Lord Ganesha. First was socks carrying Lord Ganesha’s image, which were removed in December last. Moreover, it was sad that it took UO 12 days to act after they were informed, Zed added.
Rajan Zed suggested UO and other corporations worldwide to 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 creating new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Zed had earlier 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.
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 had argued.
Zed had also pointed out 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 noted.
Duvet cover which Hindu devotees were finding objectionable was priced at $129.00-$169.00 on the UO website, which described it as “UO Exclusive” and “topped with a standout illustration by the talented Valentina Ramos”.
UO, Inc. offers 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”. Richard A. Hayne and Tedford Marlow are President of UO, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of UO Group respectively.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.