Upset Hindus are urging one of the world’s largest natural history museum, The Field Museum in Chicago, to immediately withdraw Lord Shiva stuffed plush doll from sale, calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Lord Shiva was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown loosely around on the floor, bathrooms, cars, etc.; or hit by feet; or squeezed; or used as a pillow or play ball, or treated like a cuddle toy or cuddly pet. 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 Museum CEO Richard Lariviere to offer a formal apology, besides withdrawing Lord Shiva from its Museum, O’Hare Airport and Online stores. It was highly insensitive to trivialize Lord Shiva as a plush doll/animal like the alligator, bat, cat, chameleon, crab, giraffe, lizard, owl, skunk, sloth, squid, squirrel, turkey, turtle, etc.; which the Museum sold.
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, Rajan Zed noted.
Moreover, it was saddening for the devotees to see Lord Shiva reduced as a toy in the form of a plush doll under the mercy of the owner, while in reality the believers put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities; Zed indicated.
Although the Museum’s Mission included fueling “a journey of discovery across time to enable solutions for a brighter future rich in nature and culture”, but it seemed that Museum executives themselves needed some cultural/religious sensitivity training; Rajan Zed pointed out.
In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities.
Opened in 1894, the collection of The Field Museum includes nearly 40 million artifacts and specimens and it claims to be working “to ensure that our planet thrives for generations to come”. The 11” tall Lord Shiva plush doll was priced at $22 on its Online Store.