Los Gatos (California) based ecommerce firm Whimzy Tees has apologized and promised to remove “swim briefs” carrying images of Hindu deities Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha after Hindus protested; calling these “highly inappropriate”.
Anita Smahi (Davenport), Founder and CEO of Whimzy Tees, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: …We apologize if you or those in the Hindu community found the item offensive. It was definitely not our intention…We apologize to the global Hindu community for the inadvertent misuse…
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Whimzy Tees and Smahi for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought that placing images of Hindu gods on “swim briefs” was quite insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that companies like Whimzy Tees 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.
Zed had said that Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs, thighs, groin, genitals and pelvis. 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.
Ecommerce companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha to be displayed on swim briefs, Rajan 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; 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.
In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Description of these objectionable swim briefs at Whimzy Tees, priced at $34.50 each, claimed that these “compression mini-shorts” “hug in all the right places”. Whimzy Tees, whose tagline is “bringing art to fashion”, sells “tees, sweatshirts, rashguards and more”. “Slip on something from Whimzy Tees and start turning heads”, it states.