New Zealand clothing firm apologizes & removes Lord Ganesh pants after Hindu protest

Takaka (Tasman, New Zealand) headquartered firm Mariposa Clothing has apologized and removed pants carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesh, after Hindus protested calling it “highly inappropriate”.

Tracey Brignole of Mariposa Clothing, in an email today to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed who spearheaded the protest, wrote: Mariposa has removed the pants this morning. It was certainly never our intention to cause any offence and we apologise to anyone who did take offence.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Mariposa Clothing and Brignole for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which thought that placing images of Lord Ganesh on a pant was insensitive.

Rajan Zed suggested that companies like Mariposa Clothing 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 Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs. 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.

Clothing companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesh to be displayed on pants, Rajan Zed had 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 had noted.

Rajan Zed had stated 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.

In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

Before removal, objectionable Ganesh Pants was described as “fun and playful” and was priced at $15. Launched in 2005, Mariposa Clothing, whose tagline is “retail colour therapy”; sells clothing, footwear, gifts, jewelry, etc.; from its warehouse/online-store and six stores in Nelson and Takaka.