T-shirt company Threadless is under fire Thursday by self-proclaimed "acclaimed Hindu statesman" Rajan Zed over a T-shirt design submitted on September 2010 depicting elephant deity Ganesha, basically, relaxing with a glass of wine and a tobacco pipe.
In a statement, Zed declared that "Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects for mercantile greed." Zed also added that "such absurd depiction... was hurtful to the devotees."
Threadless declined to comment, but, for what it's worth, that shirt was only submitted for peer review and was never sold.
On the other hand, this isn't the first such attack Zed has launched against pop-culture fixtures. Before the release of last year's movie adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, Zed voiced concerns that Julia Roberts could depict Hinduism in a negative light. -- even though she was already a practicing Hindu The year before that, Zed implored yoga-interested celebrities to "explore the spiritual dimension of yoga."
Regardless, it raises an interesting question for Threadless: Who's responsible in cases like this? Threadless is just the meeting place for the community to submit the designs. This complaint is moot since, as mentioned above, the shirt was never sold, but it's still an interesting circumstance to consider.
Read the full story over at Indian Blooms.