New York based luxury brand Judith Leiber Couture has replaced leather lined interior with synthetic lined interior of Hindu deity Ganesh shaped $5,995 handbag, after Hindus protested calling it highly inappropriate.
Judith Leiber Couture, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, send an official statement of its President Lela Katsune: We are deeply sorry to hear that our Ganesh bag has caused offense to the Hindu community…effective immediately we will be ceasing production on this style with leather lining. Going forward, this style will be produced with a synthetic lining. Customers who have purchased a Ganesh bag will have the option of replacing the leather lining with a synthetic interior free of cost.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Judith Leiber Couture for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that Lord Ganesh shaped handbag with leather lining inside was hugely insensitive to Hindu feelings and appeared to be ridiculing and offending Hinduism.
Rajan Zed suggested that companies like Judith Leiber Couture 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.
Judith Leiber, which claimed to be “synonymous with elegance, style, and sophistication”; should not be in the business of sacrilege, mocking serious spiritual practices and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Lord Ganesh to be portrayed like this, Zed had indicated.
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; Rajan Zed had noted.
Zed further said 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.
Rajan Zed was of the view that insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
Ganesh Shri handbag was made in Italy. Judith Leiber Couture was established in 1963.