Greater Vancouver (Canada) based athleisure brand NoMiNoU has apologized and withdrawn legging and capri, carrying images of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha and sacred syllable “Om”, from sales within 24-hours of Hindu protest; which called it “highly inappropriate”.
Jullianna Charlton, Founder and Creative Director of NoMiNoU, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed (who spearheaded the protest), “formally” apologized and said that “These product listings have now been removed from the NoMiNoU website” and from “NoMiNoU Flagship Stores” and “will not be sold to wholesalers in the future”. “…note our actions going forward to showcase NoMiNoU's intention to respect all cultures”, this email added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked NoMiNoU Athleisure and Charlton for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought images of Lord Ganesha and Om on such products were insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that NoMiNoU Athleisure 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 worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to adorn one’s legs. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Hinduism was 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; Rajan Zed had noted.
Zed had stated that such trivialization of Hindu deities 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.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. Om is the mystical syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism is used to introduce and conclude religious work.
Objectionable legging and capri were part of NoMiNoU's “Karma Collection” and were priced at $89.99 and $79.99 respectively, with the description “Allow this positive energy to help you reach higher consciousness”.
Online retailer and wholesaler NoMiNoU, apparently headquartered in Tsawwassen (Delta, Greater Vancouver), with retail locations in Tsawwassen and Rocky View (Alberta), claims itself as “wearable art” and an “innovative and eco-friendly lifestyle brand” “designed, printed and manufactured entirely in Canada”. NoMiNoU, with tagline “we are all one”, claims to be “honouring cultural diversity” and “aims to highlight global cultures”. NoMiNoU (pronounced and standing for “no me, no you”) sells bottoms, tops, accessories, etc.