Montreal website raises ire of Hindu community for ‘disrespectful’ depiction of deity Ganesha
A Montreal-based website that sells artist-designed clothes has upset Montreal Hindus by selling a pair of leggings depicting Hindu deity Ganesha.
In Hinduism, every prayer starts with an adoration of Ganesha, a deity with the head of an elephant and the body of a man. The yoga pants on the website “Art of Where” depicted Ganesha on the thighs.
“Ganesha is the Lord of Wisdom,” explained Subhash Khanna, chairman of the truth at Hindu Mandir, a Hindu temple in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. “We adore it, we respect it.”
When Khanna found out Art of Where had some yoga pants for sale with Ganesha on them, he wasn’t too pleased.
“These deities are in Indian mythology for thousands of years, and they don’t respect even a little bit of that. There’s no originality of people who steal these artifacts so I have no respect,” he said.
Art of Where is not responsible for the design. Artists send in their work, and Art of Where prints the work on clothes or other objects that the artists then sell on the site.
On Thursday, Global News received an email from Nevada-based Hindu leader Rajan Zed, who explained that he wanted the pants to be removed from the site, calling them “highly inappropriate.”
At Hindu Mandir in DDO, they agree.
“I have seen these deities in calendars and other things but using it inappropriately with no respect is very distasteful,” said Khanna.
Khanna explained that he’s seen Ganesha on plenty of clothes, but to have the deity being worn on the thighs was inappropriate.
“They’re not using it respectfully at all. Using it on a T-shirt, it’s near to your heart. It’s more respectful, I would say,” he explained.
In a statement, Art of Where explained they had not received a direct complaint about the pants, but after Global News reached out to them, they decided to remove artwork featuring Ganesha from their artist stores.
“Even though we do not have a specific, direct complaint in regards to artwork featuring Ganesha on our website, we have removed artwork with the Ganesha image from the online artist stores,” said Kate Parsons, Art of Where’s general manager.
Parsons said her team would explain to their artists why Ganesha would not be allowed on the site anymore.
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