Amazon Pulls Back Doormats with Religious Figures after Social Media Uproar

Amazon Pulls Back Doormats with Religious Figures after Social Media Uproar

Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant, found itself at the center of a heated controversy after angry social media users bashed the online retailer for selling doormats and other products with images of various Hindu deities, with some threatening to uninstall the app. The hashtag #BoycottAmazon soon started trending online on social media websites, including Facebook and Twitter, forcing Amazon to remove the products from its listing.

Upset Hindus have urged world’s largest online retailer Amazon.com for the immediate withdrawal of doormats carrying the images of various Hindu deities-temples-saint and sold on its website, calling it highly inappropriate.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was shocking to visualize that Amazon.com, for its mercantile greed, apparently persuading the world to scrub/wipe the soles of their shoes before entering a building on the faces of gods which Hindus worshipped.

Images of Hindu gods depicted on the doormats sold at Amazon.com website—Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesha, Venkateswara, Saraswati, Murugan, Durga-Hanuman, Padmanabha—were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines; and not for absorbing “water and dirt from shoes” or for sweeping on for cleaning or for drying wet feet and grabbing “dirt, dust and grime”. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

Over 60 doormats were showcased by Amazon on its site, depicting images of Hindu deities — Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesha, Venkateswara, Saraswati, Murugan, Durga-Hanuman, Padmanabha — as well as images of Hindu temples and places of worship such as the Sun Temple in Modhera, Akshardham in Delhi, and the Bhuleshwar Temple near Pune.

The doormats, some of which could be used as bath/floor mats or for the living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hallway, etc., were apparently sold for between $14.49 to $25.74. The company selling these products on the site was Rock Bull.

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, however, stated that an official apology from Amazon.com and its president Jeffrey P. Bezos to the upset Hindu community was still due as it was their third incident in recent years trivializing Hindu deities. After protests spearheaded by Zed, Amazon.comremoved women’s leggings carrying images of various Hindu deities from its website in October 2014, while in January 2014 it removed pants carrying an image of Lord Ganesha. Incidentally, doormats with images of Jesus, the Holy Quran and other Islamic themes were also on sale on the website.

Rajan Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deities, temples and saint 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 added.

These doormats; some of which can be used as bath/floor mat or for “living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hallway, etc.”; and some “can be easily cleaned by sweeping”; apparently sell from $14.49 to $25.74. Some of these clearly mention Lord Ganesh as God of Hindus on the website. Some carry the images of Hindu temples and worship place—Sun Temple Modhera, Akshardham Delhi, Angkor Wat, Bhuleshwar Temple, etc.—and Saint Ragavendra.

Amazon.com, Inc., a Fortune 500 company founded in 1994, and headquartered in Seattle (Washington, USA), claims to offer “Earth’s Biggest Selection”.

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