Upset Hindus have urged Amsterdam headquartered beverage firm Schweppes International Limited (SIL) to remove the Ganesha Cocktail promoted on its website, calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be converted into an alcoholic mixed drink served in a cocktail glass for sipping at the bar. Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful, Zed added.
SIL and its parent Suntory Holdings Limited (SHL) (based in Japan) should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. Besides removing Ganesha Cocktail from corporate and country websites, SIL and SHL CEO Takeshi Niinami should apologize, Rajan Zed indicated.
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, Zed noted.
It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesha to be associated with an alcoholic drink, Rajan Zed emphasized.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
The recipe of Ganesha Cocktail, suggested for “anytime” occasion, includes Gin spiced with Schweppes Lemon and garnished with rosemary. Schweppes was founded in 1783, and SIL markets Schweppes brand in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. SHL, founded 1899, claims to be “a global leader in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages industry”.