California firm’s underwears, flip-flops, dog-shirts showing gods irk Hindus

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Hindus are upset seeing underwears, flip flops, dog t-shirts, pet bowls and yoga mats carrying images of Hindu deities sold by a California (USA) company Cafe Press, and want it to immediate recall these products calling these highly “inappropriate”.

Images of Hindu deities Shiva, Krishna, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Kali, Vishnu, Brahma, Sarasvati, Pashupati, Jagannath, Garuda, Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, Radha Krishna and Shiva-Parvati appear on thongs, briefs, boxer shorts, flip flops, dog t-shirts, pet bowls and yoga mats of this company which claims to offer “world’s largest selection of artist-designed t-shirts, clothing, accessories, housewares and gifts”.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that these deities were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be denigrated by trampling under one’s feet or buttocks or legs, licked by animals and used as animal-clothing. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts 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 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, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued.

Rajan Zed further said that such trivialization and belittling of Hindu deities was disturbing and offensive 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.

Among Cafe Press products, Ganesha is shown riding a scooter on a dog t-shirt; “Funny Brahma Dog T-Shirt” carries Hanuman’s picture;  a dog t-shirt shows Ganesha wearing Santa Claus like dress; “Disco Fever Dog T-Shirt” carries Ganesha’s image; and there is even a “Vishnu ji Dog T-Shirt”. Among Hindu deities, Lord Ganesha’s image is seen on comparatively highest number of products. These flip flops are priced at $18.50, dog t-shirts $18, pet bowls $20, yoga mat $30, briefs $17.50, boxer shorts $16, boxer briefs $18 and thongs $12.50.

Founded in 1999, Cafe Press, whose tagline is “The world’s favorite place to find or make unique T-shirts and gifts”; sells “Custom T-shirts, Personalized Gifts, Unique Mugs, Posters & More”. It points out that “through some 2 million shops, customers can choose from over 300 million products on every subject imaginable” and describes itself as “a powerful force that’s now driving a multi-billion dollar personalization industry”. “CafePress.com today ships over 6 million products annually, and has over 11 million unique visitors to our website each month”, its website states. Headquartered in San Mateo (California) with branches in North Carolina and Kentucky, both in USA; Bob Marino and  Monica Johnson are Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer respectively of Cafe Press Inc.; while its Board of Directors includes Brad Buss, Patrick J. Connolly, Michael Dearing, Fred E. Durham (Co-Founder), Douglas Leone and Bob Marino.