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Images of gods on carry bags irk activists

Images of gods on carry bags irk activists
Highlights

Use of gods’ images on carry bags, wrappers, prasadam and parking receipts, has sparked criticism from different organisations and individuals.

A petition filed in the Lokayukta earlier this year led a few temples to stop printing the pictures of deities on use and throw items but many temples in the city still continue the practice of using pictures of deities on a variety of temple products

Some of the companies that use images of gods

  • Saibaba Beedies
  • Swathi’s Asta Lakshmi Pooja Bathi
  • Kashi Astaganda Chandari (Scented kesar)
  • BVSB Pooja Powder
  • Golagamudi Venkaiah Swamy pooja powder

Use of gods’ images on carry bags, wrappers, prasadam and parking receipts, has sparked criticism from different organisations and individuals. The protests resulted in Lakshminarasimha Swamy temple at Yadagirigutta to stop the usage of gods’ images on the prasadam wrapper. A petition by Sivanandam and Sathi Reddy in the Lokayukta earlier this year led a few temples to stop printing the pictures of deities on use and throw items but many temples in the city still continue the practice of using pictures of deities on a variety of temple products.

Sivanandam, the petitioner in Lokayukta, says, “The case is pending in Lokayukta. We are hopeful that a decision will be taken to ban the use of pictures of gods and goddesses on use and throw items as people just discard the wrappers on the roads. Temples should also stop printing images of gods on parking receipts.”

Raman, a resident of Safilguda, says, “People trample upon the receipts. This is denigration and hurts the sentiments of people. We need to become more sensitive.”

While many temples in the city make money by selling prasadam and other items related to the temple, the Ramalingeshwara Swamy Devasthanam at Keesara took a decision to ban the printing of pictures on wrappers. The decision was in response to an RTI. T Ramesh Sharma, chairman, Ramalingeshwara Swamy Devasthanam, said, “After receiving the RTI, we felt that it was incorrect to use the images and have stopped.”

Cover of the sweet box in Yadigirigutta temple near Hyderabad

Small enterprises that are run from makeshift sheds are the biggest culprits. There are several units that sell pooja material who use images of gods.

Lakshmi, a resident of Uppal, says, “What irks me is the blatant use of Gods’ pictures on beedi packets. It hurts the religious sentiments of Hindus. Many firework companies too use the images of gods. The government should take a decision.”

An image of Goddess Lakshmi included in a photo series by Vancouver photographer Dina Goldstein. The images sparked criticism from US Hindu statesman Rajan Zed

Some protests worldwide against similar acts

An American Hindu statesman protested against a photo project by Vancouver photographer Dina Goldstein stating that the images were inappropriate and offensive to Hindu followers. In 2010, a US company withdrew shoes carrying images of Hindu deities after an outcry by the Indian community.

Earlier this month Hindu Janajagruti Samiti protested that ‘iridegear.com’, an online marketplace operated by BikeBasix Pvt. Ltd., to stop selling T-shirts having pictures of deity Shiva.

Last week, the Federal Islamic authorities in Malaysia warned a mineral water bottler that they will suspend its “halal” certification if the manufacturer continues to use the image of a Hindu deity on its labels. The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) complained of the issue on Tuesday, accusing the bottler of being insensitive towards Muslims with the placement of a picture of Lord Murugan, a hindu deity, near the “halal” logo on the labels of its Cactus brand mineral water.

In January this year, Johannesburg Indians protested against a music festival which depicted models in provocative positions, posing with t-shirts featuring various Hindu deities. A picture showed a model lifting her t-shirt as she stands against paintings of Hindu deities.

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