October 21, 2017

Hindus upset at Australian brewery continuing with Ganesh-Lakshmi beer labels

Despite apologizing and promising to re-design their bottles and packaging
and removing the objectionable images from the website in 2013, Brookvale
(New South Wales, Australia) based “Brookvale Union” brewery’s ginger beer
is still carrying juxtaposed images of Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi;
upsetting Hindus worldwide again.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest in
2013, calling juxtaposed images of Ganesh and Lakshmi on a beer bottle
“highly inappropriate”, and then thanked the brewery for apologizing and
focusing on redesigning the beer; has now asked it to show some
responsibility, respect and maturity and understand the hurt feelings of
Hindu community. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in
Nevada (USA) today, indicated that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or
concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt
the devotees. Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi were highly revered in
Hinduism and they were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines
and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.
Rajan Zed urged Brookvale Union to immediately remove the Ganesh-Lakshmi
images from the beer label, packaging and website; recall all the beer with
Ganesh-Lakshmi images from the market; and re-apologize.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing
to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free expression and speech as
much as anybody else if not more, but faith was something sacred and
attempts at trivializing it tormented the devotees, Zed pointed out and
added that businesses should be respectful to various faith traditions.
In a statement released on November 14, 2013, and published in “Beer &
Brewer” magazine from New South Wales, the brewery said: “We have
subsequently apologised for any distress caused and begun the process of
removing the images from the website. We’re lovers, not fighters, we want
to make it right… We are now focused on redesigning the Ginger Beer which
hopefully all can be happy with!” It asked “graphic designers, artists, and
even doodlers” to come up with a better design by November 24 and
reportedly urged them not to use imagery that may be deemed offensive.
"It seems we have unintentionally offended our Hindu friends with the
imagery on our Ginger Beer packaging…Brookvale Union is about great
tasting, fun beverages and not about disrespecting anyone or their
beliefs”, statement added.
In an email to Rajan Zed on November 12, 2013, Brookvale Union wrote: “…it
was not intended to cause any offence. With the recent feedback brought to
our attention, we will be re-designing our bottles and packaging.”
Label at this ginger beer bottle juxtaposed image of Lord Ganesh’s face and
Goddess Lakshmi’s body, besides displaying various other Hindu religious
symbols.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 lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be
mishandled, Zed noted.

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