Upset Hindus urged Stirling (New Jersey) based online body jewelry company RebelBod for immediate withdrawal of belly button rings carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha; calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s belly button or used as a navel toy or become a tool for sexy navel fashion. 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.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged RebelBod to offer a formal apology; besides withdrawing from sale seven belly button rings carrying images of Lord Ganesha.
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; Rajan Zed noted.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the worshippers. 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 were painful for the followers, Zed added.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Seven objectionable Lord Ganesha belly button rings on the website of RebelBod, whose tagline is “be yourself with our crafted body jewelry”, were priced between $15.97 to $24.97.