The government of India has expressed outrage over the use of images of the tricolour and national icons like Gandhi and Nehru on undergarments hawked by an American company on the Web.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the Indian embassy in Washington DC had written to the president of the company to protest, and ask that the practice be discontinued immediately.
“The matter has been followed up actively. Further, the US government has also been apprised of this offensive practice of the said US company,” Mukherjee said without naming the company.
While images of Indian gods and national icons have been used in an unflattering manner by Western companies in the past, it has been rare for the Indian government to get directly involved in the protest.
An online search revealed that a website called cafepress.com is selling “funky” Gandhi T-shirts and “boxer shorts” with a Bodhi tree impression.
A ‘Ganesha 101 tanktop’ is advertised as: “Sporty and sexy, wear our women’s tank top... made of 100% combed ring spun cotton... Neck and armhole are carefully shaped to conceal a bra.”
The site also hawks a range of T-shirts featuring American leaders like Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, John McCain and Bill Clinton.