Hindu outcry over perfumes

2015-07-20 11:27
Hindu goddesses Luxmi and Radha on the torso and genital area of a male body-shaped bottle of the latest fragrance range by international designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

Hindu goddesses Luxmi and Radha on the torso and genital area of a male body-shaped bottle of the latest fragrance range by international designer Jean Paul Gaultier. (Kailene Pillay)

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Pietermaritzburg - Hindu locals are fuming at an international fashion and fragrance label because a new perfume range released recently features images of Hindu deities on male and female genitalia.

The international brand Jean Paul Gaultier released its new “Deity Summer Fragrances” this week in South Africa. The body-shaped bottles have multicoloured pictures of Lord Krishna, Goddess Luxmi and Goddess Radha on the buttocks, penis and breasts of the bottles.

Red Square, part of the Edgars clothing brand, appears to be the only store carrying the range in Pietermaritzburg at the Cascades Centre, although stores in Durban are reportedly carrying the stock too.

President of the South African Tamil Federation Karthi Moothsamy said the people who created this product “are weak in character and should refrain from using god for commercial purposes”.

“We abhor the desecration of our deities. Mutual respect should be observed at all times and our unity in diversity should be recognised,” said Moothsamy.

A Red Square employee, who did not wish to be named for fear of victimisation from her employer, said she was “completely upset” when she saw the new range.

“I unpacked the boxes and saw the Hindu gods and goddesses on the bottles,” said the Red Square employee.

She said she knows she has no right to remove the product completely from the store, but has since moved the display to the back of the store. “It is very difficult to sell and promote a product like this. I don’t want to promote such degrading products,” she said.

The Hindu Youth Network said they will be “contesting” the sale of the perfumes. “Placing a picture of a Hindu deity or any god picture on a bottle shaped like this is disgusting.

“This brand could have chosen anything to market its perfume, but why Hindu gods?

“This product should not be sold in any store,” said president of the Hindu Youth Network Pragasen Pillay.

Pietermaritzburg resident Nalini Maharaj, who saw the perfume bottles, said she was shocked to see the Hindu deities’ images on such a “vulgar” bottle.

“My husband and I were browsing for perfumes when we came across these bottles. It is unacceptable and unethical to even allow these perfumes into the country,” said Maharaj.

Red Square’s holding company Edcon decided to release the bottles in South Africa despite a three-month-old online petition on www.change.org, which calls for the removal of the products in the UK and an apology from the Jean Paul Gaultier brand to all Hindus.

Attempts to contact Edcon and Jean Paul Gaultier were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    edcon  |  pietermaritzburg

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