Upset Hindus are urging Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in Sydney, “Australia’s leading museum”, to immediately withdraw Lord Ganesha Finger Puppet from sale in its Store; calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be manipulated by finger. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Elizabeth Ann Macgregor and Lorraine Tarabay, MCA Director and Board Chairman respectively, to offer a formal apology, besides withdrawing Lord Ganesha Finger Puppet from its Store.
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 noted.
Moreover, it was saddening for the devotees to see Lord Ganesha reduced as a finger puppet under the mercy and control of the owner; while in reality the believers put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities; Zed indicated.
Although MCA claims to take a leadership role in “demonstrating the social impact of contemporary art”, but it seemed that Museum executives themselves needed some urgent cultural/religious sensitivity training to substantiate this claim; Rajan Zed pointed out.
A taxpayer supported institution like MCA should not be in the business of trivializing a highly venerated deity, 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. Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia, and according to 2016 census, formed 1.9% of the country’s population numbering at 440,300.
MCA, opened in 1991, receives over a million visitors annually and its collection contains over 4000 works by Australian artists. Ganesha Finger Puppet was priced at $15.50 at MCA Store, which claims to be “Recognised as one of the best museum stores in the world”.