Hot-selling puppets of Hindu deities Ganesh and Shiva are in the eye of a raging storm in the US. Calling it the trivialising of faith, Hindu groups across the US are demanding that the puppets be pulled from the shelves. The magnetic finger puppets, manufactured by the Brooklyn-based Unemployed Philosophers Guild, cost $5.95 each. The company also manufactures puppets of Jesus.
This comes weeks after Hindu groups demanded recall of toys of deities Hanuman and Ganesh, made by another company. In a letter to the Guild, Bhavna Shinde of Forum of Hindu Awakening writes, “Hindus around the world worship Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. Using the images of these deities and making puppets and dolls of them, trivialises these revered symbols of faith. We urge you to immediately withdraw them from your website and shops.” Rajan Zed, president Universal Society of Hinduism, said, “Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities for commercial agenda hurts the devotees.”
The Guild turned down the request. “There is nothing denigrating about making toys out of the deities. On the contrary, it celebrates the Hindu traditions and helps kids learn about the faith, both Hindu and non-Hindu. In India, you see children with Ganesh on their lunch boxes. Shiva and Krishna appears on the fenders
and doors of most Indian trucks,” said Stephen Shaw of the Guild.