Byron Bay (New South Wales) headquartered Heart Mala Sacred Jewellery, has apologized and withdrawn anklet, carrying image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha, from sales within 24-hours of Hindu protest, which called it “highly inappropriate”.
Haidee Turner, founder-owner-designer of Heart Mala Jewellery, in emails to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “I have deleted this product immediately from my website and will recall the ones I’ve sold and will no longer make them. I’m very sorry if I have caused offense by my uneducated actions in creating this product… I apologize again for the harm or offense I unintentionally caused”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Heart Mala Jewellery and Turner for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was highly insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that Heart Mala Jewellery and other 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 ankles. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols 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.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
The description of objectionable “Ganesha boho gemstone anklet”, priced at Heart Mala website for $45, stated that it “features a sterling silver plated Ganesha charm”, “looks especially gorgeous with sandy toes” and is claimed to be “ideal for those needing support in letting go of unhealthy emotional entanglements”.
Heart Mala Yoga/Sacred Jewellery; founded 2,000; sells in retail/wholesale mala beads, sacred geometry charms, boho chic and yoga and chakra jewellery, rings, earrings, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, etc.; “handmade in Byron Bay”, “infused with love” and “which harness the power of ancient knowledge & healing gemstones”. These “divine jewels” are claimed to “nurture your soul” and “inspired by the ancient mystics”.
According to 2016 Census, there were 440,300 Hindus in Australia. Hinduism, second fastest-growing religion in Australia, is its fourth largest. Anklet, reportedly worn by women in South Asia for over 8,000 years, is an ornament worn around the ankle.