San Antonio (Texas) based art-clothing company DiZurita withdrew leggings carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha within three hours after upset Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
DiZurita’s founder-artist Giovanna DiZurita who was out of the country at the time, in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded this protest, wrote: “It was never my intend to offend anyone rather share my art with a message full of love and positivity. I understand and respect your point of view, please accept my sincere apology. The merchandise has been removed as requested”.
The objectionable Ganesha Leggings, Ganesha Capri Leggings and Ganesha Leggings (child); priced at $55, $52 and $41 respectively; do not show up anymore on the company website.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and who urged for immediate withdrawal of these objectionable products, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked DiZurita and its founder-artist Giovanna for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was highly insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that companies 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 Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs. 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 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 had noted.
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 Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. There area about three million Hindus in USA.
“DiZurita Gallery offers custom original art work, prints on canvas, art clothing and accessories collection”. The collection of DiZurita brand, whose tagline is “Think with the Heart!”, “includes a vast variety of products such as apparel, accessories, canvas prints, custom apparel and home décor”. The purpose behind this brand is stated as: to allow everyone to become a masterpiece by wearing art.