Foot In Mouth

Once again, a Western company thinks it's a really cool idea to put Hindu gods and goddess images on completely inappropriate objects. From Outlook:

The god Ram painted over French firm Minnelli's 'designer' shoes is not, of course, the first time Hindu images have been set up as exotic eastern design. But unlike other instances, it's led to protest which in the past few days has begun to pick up steam like no other.

In the past too, Hindu groups scattered across the West have been periodically taking the fight to what they see as abuse of cultural images. People have eased themselves over the figure of Saraswati painted on toilet seats, others have blown their noses into Krishna-marked pocket tissues. Women have been sold panties with Hanuman poised to leap on them, and some of the barest Italian bikinis now offer a range of Hindu gods.

Apparently, Minnelli were reluctant to withdraw:

The new campaign is kicking in stronger partly because Minnelli insists it will continue to sell the shoes. They are backing on the French freedom precept — pick the design they like, sell it as they choose.
Yeah, freedom to make a buck indeed! Ultimately however, the protests did have an effect. From the Hindu Council UK web site:
Hindus congregated with 'One Voice' at Knightsbridge (London) on 12th June, outside the French Embassy, at a Rally organised by Hindu Human Rights (HHR) to protest the manufacture and sales of shoes with the image of Lord Rama printed on them. A French manufacturer Minnelli produced the shoes.
At least thousand Hindus, congregated on the streets included representatives from all sections of Hindu society and were of all ages. The energy and enthusiasm of the young speakers, was equally rivalled by the older generation who spoke or sang with the same pride and devotion for their philosophy.
Minnelli Ltd have withdrawn the sale of these shoes but have not yet issued a written apology to Hindus.
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- June 16, 2005 11:42 PM // Diaspora