Hindus are urging Santa Monica (California) headquartered Leaf Group Limited to immediately withdraw some of the products sold on its marketplace Society6 which mock-distort-disrespect various Hindu deities, calling it highly inappropriate.
They are also urging its Board Chairman James R. Quandt and Chief Executive Officer Sean Moriarty to offer a formal apology.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that such depicted Hindu deities—Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Krishna, Durga, Lakshmi, Kali, Saraswati, Parvati, Radha, Manasa Devi—were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be mocked at or to put your feet on or touch with your feet or sleep on. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the faithful.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that products like Kali as “Mistress of Chaos”, Shiva as cartoon character Popeye, Lakshmi like a belly-dancer, Kali as “Collie Kali” with dog-face and dog-feet, “Funky Female Shiva”, “Pink Krishna”, “mutant Ganesh”, Shiva with a nose-ring, Krishna as skateboarder, “Ganesh Loves Selfies – Two at a Time!” showing Ganesha taking selfies with two cell-phones, “Durga Carrying Tiger” instead of traditional riding on the tiger, Ganesha holding cowboy lasso, cartoonish Lakshmi, Ganesha in cropped trousers, etc.; highly trivialized the greatly revered Hindu deities. There was a print of Hindu Sloth also.
Other products, deemed disrespectful by Hindu devotees, included: yoga mats, bed sheets, rugs and duvet cover depicting Hindu deities Shiva, Balaji Vishnu, Ganesha, Krishna, Durga, Saraswati, Parvati, Radha and Manasa Devi; Rajan Zed stated.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one 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 indicated.
Moreover, distorted images of Hindu deities created further misinformation and confusion among non-Hindus regarding Hinduism; Rajan Zed noted.
Zed further said 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.
Leaf Group Limited, listed in New York Stock exchange, claims to be “a diversified Internet company that builds platforms across its media (eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM) and marketplace (Society6 and Saatchi Art) properties to enable communities of creators to reach passionate audiences in large and growing lifestyle categories”. Society6, which claims millions of “products from Wall Art and Apparel to Tech Accessories and Home Décor” designed by “artists from around the world”, was founded in 2009.