Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be wrapped around one’s foot. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Richard A. Hayne and Tedford Marlow; President of Urban Outfitters, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Outfitters Group respectively; to offer an apology.
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, Rajan Zed argued.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Lord Ganesh 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.
Sock which Hindu devotees are finding objectionable is a crew-length cotton sock topped with a Lord Ganesh graphic at the trim, which sells at $8 on website. Urban Outfitters website describes it as “Awesome” and “UO Exclusive”.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. is a retail company which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise in Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN brands through stores in USA, Canada, and Europe; besides garden center, catalogs, websites and wholesale. It boasts of its “established ability to understand our customers and connect with them on an emotional level” and calls its brands “both compelling and distinct”.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.