Hindus feel that associating luxury handbags made of cow leather with “Brahmin” was very inappropriate, and are urging the Fairhaven (Massachusetts) headquartered national brand Brahmin Handbags to consider changing the name.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that cow, the seat of many deities, was sacred and had long been venerated in Hinduism. Priesthood had been traditionally assigned to brahmins in Hinduism; and inscribing “Brahmin” on a designer handbag made from a killed cow was quite out-of-line and was painful to the Hindu sentiments.
Founded in 1982, Brahmin Handbags, explaining its name on its website, describes Brahmin as a New England “term used to describe someone who is cultured and of the most discerning taste”. But Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that “New England Brahmin” term was reportedly coined in 1860, while “Brahmin” found mention in Rig-Veda, world’s oldest extant scripture which some scholars dated around 1,500 BCE.
Brahmin Handbags, which claims “integrity is at the heart of everything that we do”; should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, mocking serious spiritual practices and ridiculing entire communities; Rajan Zed noted.
Zed also urged Brahmin Handbags CEO Susan Thacker to offer a formal apology. Inappropriate usage of Hindu traditions, concepts, deities, icons, practices and symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed added,
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. Practices/concepts/traditions of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be ridiculed at; Rajan Zed stated.
“All of our products are made with genuine cowhide leather, unless otherwise stated” and “100% percent of our products are designed in Massachusetts”; Brahmin Handbags stated on its website. Besides an online shop and selling at retailers like Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macys, Belk, Walmart, Amazon, Zappos; Brahmin boutiques are located in Atlanta (GA), Birmingham (AL), Charlotte (NC), Dallas (TX), Houston (TX), Memphis (TN), Newport (RI); while its outlets are situated in Fairhaven (MA), Orlando (FL), San Marcos (TX), West Palm Beach (FL).