Dallas headquartered luxury fashion retailer “Neiman Marcus” removed Hindu deity Ganesha shaped cufflinks, after Hindus protested calling these “highly inappropriate”. These $940 Made in USA “Ganesha Cufflinks” were absent from “Neiman Marcus” and “Bergdorf Goodman” websites when searched today. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Neiman Marcus Group for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, which felt that such a product was insensitive. We were, however, still waiting for the formal apology from the Group; he added. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that companies like Neiman Marcus Group 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. Rajan Zed had said that Lord Ganesha was greatly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to secure the cuffs of dress shirts, misused as a fashion statement, thrown around loosely, etc. Neiman Marcus, which claims to be “an elevated retail experience for more than a century”; should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege and belittling sacred Hindu deity. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Lord Ganesha to be flaunted like this; Zed had indicated. Rajan Zed had emphasized that inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for mercantile greed or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 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 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. Zed was of the view that insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Before removal, “sterling silver plated with rhodium” “Ganesha Cufflinks” were claimed to be “hand painted in a process that takes 7 hours”. Neiman Marcus Group, with history going back to 1907; conducts integrated store and online operations under the Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, and Horchow brand names.
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