BOSTON–Boston-based online home giant Wayfair removed the cutting board carrying image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha and apologized within less than 24 hours after Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
“We sincerely apologize that this item appeared on our site. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention,” Susan Frechette, Wayfair’s Associate Director of Corporate Communications, wrote in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest asking for withdrawal of this objectionable product.
“Birchwood Golden Ganesha Elephant Cutting Board” was selling at Wayfair for $34.99.
Niraj Shah is the founder and CEO of Wayfair.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Wayfair for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought that image of Lord Ganesha on a cutting board was trivializing and insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that Wayfair and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Zed had said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to “chop, dice and slice” meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 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, Zed had noted.
Zed had further said that such trivialization of Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus world over. 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 hurt the followers, Zed said in a statement.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshiped 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. “Birchwood Golden Ganesha Elephant Cutting Board” was selling at Wayfair for $34.99.
Awards-winning Wayfair, founded in 2002, is “one of the world’s largest online destinations for the home” with over eight million products, which includes “one of the world’s largest online selections of furniture, home furnishings, décor and goods.”