Picture of a Hindu deity, Goddess Lakshmi, on a swimsuit:offensive &unacceptable!


Picture from SMH newspaper

It is grossly offensive and totally unacceptable to see the picture of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshmi ] on a swimsuit. I am a liberal Hindu but I do follow Hindu religious values. As a practising Hindu, I was undoubtedly angry when I saw it.

I am pleased that Lisa Burke, the maker of the Label, Lisa Blue, from Byron Bay, NSW has seen her folly, apologised for this mistake and has decided to withdraw the swimsuit from the production.

Reacting to the concerns from multiple sources, Lisa Blue issued a generic press release which is being copied below;

Important Press Release 7th May 2011
Hindi God Print Production Cancelled
Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offence. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand.We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed. This range will never be available for sale in any stockists or retail outlets anywhere in the world.We apologise to the Hindu community and take this matter very seriously.”

That is the end of the matter, as far as this issue is concerned.

We need to recognise that this was a matter specific to Lisa Burke of Lisa Blue which she has dealt with effectively. It is not a matter between India and Australia, as some from India are trying to project. Things need to be seen in a proper perspective and context.

I am aware that many online commenters have justified the picture on that swimsuit, using the logic of “freedom of speech or expression”. I do not agree with it at all. No one has a right to hurt/insult the religious feelings and beliefs of millions of people. Using “freedom of speech or expression” in this matter is inappropriate.

I am dismayed that Hinduism is often at the receiving end in these matters. Not too long ago, someone used the pictures of our deities in some other offensive manners somewhere else in the world. We have not forgotten the stupid and offensive paintings of Hindu Goddesses by that cretin named MF Hussain in India. He claims to be a painter which is an insult to the word “painter”. I am yet to see him painting symbols of other religions in that offensive manner.

Hinduism is a peaceful religion and Hindus are generally peaceful people but that does not mean we have to accept people abusing our religion and religious beliefs. We have seen the behaviours of intolerant people towards our religion and religious symbols in India in the past but we are not going to allow that to be repeated anymore.

We don’t abuse others’ religions or religious beliefs and WILL not tolerate others abusing ours.

I am proud of the values and beliefs of Hinduism. Like other religious doctrines, it does have some weaknesses which should be worked on by our religious leaders but it is definitely a great religion, teaching compassion, love, non-violence, tolerance, inclusiveness, sacrifice, peace and the value of KARMA.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/10th May, 2011



5 thoughts on “Picture of a Hindu deity, Goddess Lakshmi, on a swimsuit:offensive &unacceptable!

  1. And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. Quran 6:108


  2. Pls explain how is this ( Laxmi on swimwear ) offending ?? why is it not offensive that countless papers depicting gods are lying on footpath, roards and bins ??? People are stepping on them , spitting on them……


  3. Dear Yadu

    Not just “Hinduism is often at the receiving end in these matters”, even Christianity has faced far more – and indeed vicious – attention from satirists, etc.

    Getting offended is not sufficient ground for a government to restrict expression in any form or shape. While self-restraint would be encouraged, and people can definitely express their disgust at such things – such as on your blog, or not buy the costume, such things are beyond the ambit of any government to get involved.

    It is time that people in India start considering the fundamental issue of liberty that is basically enshrined even in India’s constitution.



    • Thanks, Sanjeev. I agree with your views. Businesses should show self-restraint when thinking about using religious symbols in their marketing. If they fail to do so, then the aggrieved parties have all the rights to make sufficient noises. The current matter involving Lisa Blue is between them and us, the Hindus who feel offended. It is not a matter for Australian High Commission or Australian Govt, as some people in India seem to be suggesting. I am not sure about a role of a court of justice either. As you know, High Court [Lucknow] has taken notice of this matter [considering a Public Interest Litigation] and has given notices to MEA, Australian High Commission and an Indian newspaper. Noises and protests by offended Hindus and non-Hindus is going to be equally effective, if not more.
      Yadu Singh


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s