A Buddhist leader has come out to stand behind Hindus who were upset at the portrayal of the image of Lord Shiva in Nataraja form on harem-pants, leggings and miniskirts, by internationally acclaimed “Manish Arora” fashion label of India, which Hindus termed repugnant.
Jikai’ Phil Bryan, a Buddhist representative in northern Nevada (USA), in a statement said that fashion house appeared to be insensitive in this case by using Hinduism’s venerated deity and sacred symbol to further its commercial agenda. He agreed with the request for “Manish Arora” fashion label to issue an explanation or apology to the world Hindu community clarifying the issue.
Bryan points out that Buddhism always values freedom of expression, but business houses can also show responsibility and not unnecessarily drag revered religious traditions and symbols to advance commercial interests. Faith symbols are highly important to devotees and attempts toward commercial misapplication can be painful to the faithful.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in his release from western USA, has earlier said that it was disturbing to see image of Lord Shiva, who was highly revered in Hinduism, on the legs. Shiva was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be desecrated by wearing on the legs and other lower parts of the body for the mercantile greed of a fashion house.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the designer-manufacturer Manish Arora to publicly apologize, stop selling and immediately recall all such legwear which showed Hindu Lord Shiva. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Businesses should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and sacred symbols of all religions, Rajan Zed stresses.
“Manish Arora” fashion label, launched in 1997 and now well known worldwide, is headquartered in Noida (India) as Three Clothing Private Limited with an office in London. Famous entertainers like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kate Moss, Katy Perry, and M.I.A. have reportedly worn Manish Arora designed dresses.
Nataraja (Lord of the dance) is a well known iconic representation of Lord Shiva, symbolizing his salvific, destructive, and creative roles; when he dances the world to destruction to create it again as a chapter of the ongoing cosmic cycle. Shiva, along with Brahma and Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities.
Recently, a model displayed an image of Goddess Lakshmi on swimwear at a fashion event held in Sydney (Australia), which caused worldwide protests. Swimwear company immediately apologized, halting all its related production, and promising that the protested swimwear would never be available for sale.