To use or not to use Indian gods and godesses on commercial products is the question

On the occasion of Holi artist Pharrell Williams and   Adidas Originals have released three new NMD Hu Trail shoes featuring a colorful story that pays homage to Holi festival, a Hindu celebratory holiday.

One of the rituals of Holi consists of of adults and children assembling to sing, dance and playfully smearing each other with colourful powders. Reflecting on the ritual, two of the silhouettes feature a pastel pink and purple tie-dye upper, while the third offers a black upper with purple laces.

Coinciding with the timing of Holi, the capsule launched and at retail in India on March 1, 2018. Priced at $250, the collection was launched globally on March 16th.

These shoes have a created an uproar and a protest in America as Holi is considered an auspicious festival and that inappropriate use of Indian symbols and Hindu concepts is just not okay or to be taken frivolously.

This practice has been a point of contention with many Hindus around the world. Remember the lamb ad last year in Australia which was later withdrawn.  Hindu community was up in arms when an Australian brewery used pictures of deities Ganesha and Lakshmi on their beer bottles. The company had to relent and had to apologize   as well as remove the picture from their product.

Use of Lakshmi Goddess on a Bidi brand in India

One doesn’t know where to draw the line on issues to do with usage of Hindu faith symbols. Is it okay to use on tee shirts, yoga products while not acceptable on shoes in this instance, beer bottles, toilet seats or the use in ads to do with meat.

Pictures of Indian gods and goddesses, symbols of faith have always fascinated people around the world. They have often been used for commercial purposes in the west the argument being that when the practice of using gods in India on Indian commercial products is acceptable then why do the Hindus object to it when they are used in the west.

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