Pounding leather

Beer, thongs, bikinis, toilet seats, sandals and now shoes: it seems the entire inventory of your local Wal-Mart ends up stenciled with Hindu art at some point. Emboldened by his success, the activist who got a brewery to drop its Ganesh beer is now opposing women’s shoes in France displaying an image of Rama:
A pair of women’s shoes allegedly showing Lord Rama made by French shoemaker Minelli has angered a pro-Hindu website, which has urged supporters to begin a letter-writing campaign to the shoemaker protesting against the product…

Expatriate attorney Brij Mohan Dhir has supported the bid, and is himself mobilizing opinion to protest production and marketing of the shoe… The San Francisco-based activist has circulated a copy of the letter widely on the Internet. If Minelli doesn’t back down, he is considering filing a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights…

Dhir’s joined forces with Hindu Human Rights, which complains that Meera Syal disses Hindus:

The BBC has made it to the top of the complaints charts with their new entry straight in at number one: Meera Syal’s much vaunted “Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee” once again shows their inability to provide a positive portrayal of Hindus in Britain. Containing a series of cheap and insulting digs at Hindus, this programme continues the tradition of the Western media’s denigration of Hinduism and Hindu culture.

HHR needs to get in line, because Syal is an equal-opportunity humorist. Her Bhaji on the Beach screenplay, oft-maligned for ‘bashing men,’ is a Girls’ Night Out by definition.

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28 thoughts on “Pounding leather

  1. The Hindu Human Rights complaints against Meera Syal shows how desi religious organisations have become hysterical, crazed and idiotic. It is so ridiculous its not even funny. Following hot on the heels of the frankly embarassing persecution complex of the SGPC’s complaints about various things, and Muslim protests over just about everything, it makes me think of the saying of Jonathan Swift that was paraphrased by John Kennedy Toole, about how the world is ruled by a confederacy of dunces.

  2. Holy beings on shoes? Utterly disrespectful, does this happen with pictures of Jesus?

    As for Ha Ha Hee Hee coming under fire again, it’s nothing new. Every British Asian show gets a bashing for being even semi-realistic. White Teeth got one, Second Generation got one, hell, even Goodness Gracious Me got one and that was humour through and through.

    Portraying things in their purest, holy book form is hardly entertainment.

  3. People please stop comparing insults to non-Christian deities to slights on Jesus, because the answer will always be yes; anything you can possible think up has already been done to the Holy Trinity by the West in one form of media or another. Makes it a moot question, even if rhetorical.

  4. I have yet to see Jesus underwear, Jesus cigarettes, Jesus flip-flops, or even a Jesus lunchbox…

    There is that Priest sprinkler, but priests aren’t dieties…

  5. If anyone would like to bash any religion, please come talk to me. I am so sick of people trying to remove anything that offends them. When you have free speech, you just have to deal with seeing things like this. I guess, if you were the one making the free speech you would have to deal with the consequences too. I don’t know where I’m going with this… I dont want there to be any legal action and the stores have a right to sell whatever the hell they want. I’m sorry, I almost lost my focus there.

  6. What the hell with Our Gods on these stupid stuff..? I Really wish that some Hindus put Jesus’s pic on a toilet seat and see what they have to say about it..

  7. Forget about Jesus. You cant even tear the Pope’s picture in the US without losing all your endorsements and being banned from SNL. Hell you cant even become President if you try to take on Pat Robertson!

  8. Builder, i’ll give you mad points for the lunchbox (pretty vulgar, yes), but the rest of your links lack any iconography. Flipflops with a reference to biblical verse isn’t the same affront as an image of god at/under your feet

  9. Did you see the picture of these shoes? They should be banned first and foremost for being tacky. We can settle questions about the commercialization / potential disrespect of religious iconography afterwards :)

  10. I’m telling you guys, knowing Western culture, I’m sure that somewhere there is a picture of Jesus on a toilet seat. I am sure of it.

  11. Saurav- key point :)

    andrea- the Jesus-flip-flops are pretty wrong, too. Worse, as the deity appears under one’s foot…

  12. Yeah, the flip flops are pretty messed up… and you will find protests against this (they were pulled from the stores) but I don’t think you’d find the same kind of outrage that you would find in a Hindu community. It’s insulting, but not quite in the same way. It’s hard for me to find words for it that don’t sound too Comparative Religion 101.

    I may try to explain later when the allergy meds wear off.

  13. Have these people BEEN to India? Do they realize that in BOMBAY, there are children with NO FOOD all over the streets? And their biggest concern is some shoes in France?

    The psycho religious nuts in America should join the psycho religious nuts in India on an Island -they will spend their days trying to survive, using weapons placed in secret locations. The winning religion will be the last person alive. We’ll call it – “Battle Royale – Mahabharata”

    I think the Hindus will win – they don’t need to eat as much, and they can hire servants to do all the killing.

  14. I remember being taught that God was everywhere, even in inanimate objects, but whenever I asked my elders if god was in a dog or a pig, I got scolded terribly. In our minds, we have assigned a lower status to certain things, so if the image of God on sandals offends us, what we really mean is that it is an insult to our way of thinking, not to God( who is supposed to be in those sandals anyway)

    It’s always amusing to see people try to ‘protect’ someone who is supposed to be ‘almighty’.

  15. Wow. Finding images of Hindu Gods on shoes offensive? Jesus on flipflops pulled from shelves?

    My gosh. Next thing you know, people will be banning books because the book insults (insert deity of choice here).

    Oh, wait a minute….

    Certain religious folk do things I find offensive – maybe I should start a boycott of those folk (although, considering how often I go to the temple, I suppose I already have :) )

  16. Whenever any Hindu images are desecrated these way and there are people protesting .. IMO Its more to assert existance (“vajud” for Hindi literates) of a preety large group (1/6th of humanity)

    But detractors always say .. will this remove poverty. My response is that a people whose existances is so marginalized that they can be stepped on with so much ease can never come out of poverty. So, yes it will remove poverty.

  17. Cmon guys….. u dont need to google the world for “insults” to Jesus to make the point that activism against these shoes are a bit over-the-top. What was the most sensational pop-culture hit of last year? which is the most eagerly anticipated book-to-movie right now? Its Da Vinci Code, and what’s the main premise of the thing – that Jesus had a kid. Think about it, that’s VERY radical, and unsettling if you are in the habit of stuff like that seriously. And there were other stuff about the Church and whatnot. But hey, where there any mass protests, book-burnings, digging up pitches, or whatever? No, and that’s coz it’s just somebody’s creative work, and most people have the sense to think of it that way, and enjoy it if they like it. (Personally I thought it was a racy read, tho campy at times.) And abt Jesus on things, being an avid fan of FTV till a while ago, I can certify that there is defenitely a lot of it out there !! :)

  18. Where are all you supposed secularists when it comes to separation of church and state? The Ten Commandments in Alabama, the god mention in the Pledge of Allegiance? Suddenly you all vanish. That makes me think you’re acting out of American cultural mores more than ideological consistency.

  19. On a different tip, I think it’s interesting that the group calls itself “Hindu Human Rights.”

    It takes a concept we normally think of as ‘liberal’ (human rights), and merges it with a right-leaning/conservative agenda. It makes it all the more tricky to counter: who on earth would be opposed to the human rights of Hindus? No one.

  20. you’re acting out of American cultural mores more than ideological consistency.

    Sure, there’s no ideology here, and that’s my whole point. I feel people shouldnt be seeing ideology in stuff like these shoes. It’s just an idiotic piece of creative work.(I hate to call it art!!) . And sure I hate religion colouring politics, whether it be here or in India. And I defentitely am not a Bush-supporter, and I too think these incidents that u mentioned are as moronic Ram or Jesus On Shoes – as well as the War on Ram or Jesus On Shoes.

  21. I think it’s interesting that the group calls itself “Hindu Human Rights.”

    Conservatives have adopted the enemy’s weapon, framing (‘The New Deal,’ ‘The Great Society’) :)

  22. It’s just an idiotic piece of creative work.(I hate to call it art!!) .

    Aha! There’s the interesting part. Is this about creative expression or commercial exploitation? If it’s the former, I don’t have a problem with it (the same way I didn’t fully have a problem with the elephant dung virgin mary, although I did find the idea a little offensive). If it’s the latter, though, (which I’m guessing it is), that’s a different story.

    Nonetheless, I stand by my earlier point that tackiness should render all further discussion moot. Thanks for catching my back, Desi Dancer :)

  23. Where are all you supposed secularists when it comes to separation of church and state? The Ten Commandments in Alabama, the god mention in the Pledge of Allegiance? Suddenly you all vanish.

    Well, you never asked us ‘supposed secularists’ about all that either. For the record, here’s my opinion:
    1. Separation of church and state: For it. No Ten Commandments in courts, and no mention of god in the pledge of allegiance. It’s not for the state to presume my faith.
    2. Being touchy about religion: Against it.
    See, it’s not about American cultural mores because there is nothing called American cultural mores. Else there wouldn’t be a fight about the ten commandments or evolution in school textbooks. To each his own moral values.