Upset Hindus are urging Erie (Pennsylvania) based Ironstone Meadery to apologize and withdraw alcoholic drink mead named after Hindu deity Kali and carrying her image, calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that inappropriate usage of sacred 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, indicated that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling mead. Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful, Zed added.
Meaderies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu goddess Kali to be portrayed on a mead label, Rajan Zed emphasized.
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; Zed noted.
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 were insensitive, Rajan Zed added.
In Hinduism, Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity. There are about three million Hindus in the USA.
Kali’s Pleasure mead (13.8% abv, $39) was described as “an intriguing blend of hibiscus and ginger”, which gives an initial “tongue spanking” on the first sip.
Ironstone Meadery describes itself as “Erie Pennsylvania’s Oldest Meadery” and states that “many of our meads take 6 months to a year to make”. It explains: Mead is made by fermenting the sugars in honey. It is the oldest alcoholic drink man has created predating beer by thousands of years.