It is grossly offensive and totally unacceptable to see the picture of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshmi ] on a swimsuit. I am a liberal Hindu but I do follow Hindu religious values. As a practising Hindu, I was undoubtedly angry when I saw it.
I am pleased that Lisa Burke, the maker of the Label, Lisa Blue, from Byron Bay, NSW has seen her folly, apologised for this mistake and has decided to withdraw the swimsuit from the production.
Reacting to the concerns from multiple sources, Lisa Blue issued a generic press release which is being copied below;
|Important Press Release 7th May 2011
Hindi God Print Production Cancelled
Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offence. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand.We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed. This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world.We apologise to the Hindu community and take this matter very seriously.”
That is the end of the matter, as far as this issue is concerned.
We need to recognise that this was a matter specific to Lisa Burke of Lisa Blue which she has dealt with effectively. It is not a matter between India and Australia, as some from India are trying to project. Things need to be seen in a proper perspective and context.
I am aware that many online commenters have justified the picture on that swimsuit, using the logic of “freedom of speech or expression”. I do not agree with it at all. No one has a right to hurt/insult the religious feelings and beliefs of millions of people. Using “freedom of speech or expression” in this matter is inappropriate.
I am dismayed that Hinduism is often at the receiving end in these matters. Not too long ago, someone used the pictures of our deities in some other offensive manners somewhere else in the world. We have not forgotten the stupid and offensive paintings of Hindu Goddesses by that cretin named MF Hussain in India. He claims to be a painter which is an insult to the word “painter”. I am yet to see him painting symbols of other religions in that offensive manner.
Hinduism is a peaceful religion and Hindus are generally peaceful people but that does not mean we have to accept people abusing our religion and religious beliefs. We have seen the behaviours of intolerant people towards our religion and religious symbols in India in the past but we are not going to allow that to be repeated anymore.
We don’t abuse others’ religions or religious beliefs and WILL not tolerate others abusing ours.
I am proud of the values and beliefs of Hinduism. Like other religious doctrines, it does have some weaknesses which should be worked on by our religious leaders but it is definitely a great religion, teaching compassion, love, non-violence, tolerance, inclusiveness, sacrifice, peace and the value of KARMA.
Yadu Singh/Sydney/10th May, 2011
- Australian Fashion Week-Lisa Blue ‘Lakshmi’ Swimsuit Causes Outrage Among Hindus (PHOTOS, POLL) (rajcairnsreport.wordpress.com)
- Lisa Blue takes down denigrating swimwear and apologizes after prompt protests (hindulinebengal.wordpress.com)
- Lisa Blue ‘Lakshmi’ Swimsuit Causes Outrage Among Hindus (PHOTOS, POLL) (huffingtonpost.com)