Boston-headquartered online home giant Wayfair removed a cutting board carrying an image of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha and apologized in less than 24 hours after an advocacy group of Indian American 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, associate director of corporate communications at Wayfair, wrote Feb. 12 in an e-mail to Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, who spearheaded the protest asking for the withdrawal of the product, stated a press release.
“Birchwood Golden Ganesha Elephant Cutting Board” was selling at Wayfair for $34.99.
Zed, in a statement, thanked Wayfair for understanding the concerns of the Hindu community which thought that the image of Lord Ganesha on a cutting board was trivializing and insensitive.
Zed noted in the press release that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped 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.
He suggested that Wayfair and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they understand the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
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, he stated, adding that symbols of any faith, large or small, should not be mishandled.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as the god of wisdom and the remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.