Langley Mill brewery apologises as Hindu goddess can design branded 'highly inappropriate'
A Langley Mill brewery has apologised after being labelled “insensitive” for using a Hindu goddess’ image on one of its cans.
Bang the Elephant (BTE) Brewing Co, which is based in Langley Mill, made the apology after Hindus protested over the use of goddess Kali’s image on its East India Porter beer can, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
Rajan Zed, resident of Universal Society of Hinduism who spearheaded the protest, said the image of goddess on such a product was “insensitive”.
He said: “Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it hurt the devotees.
"Kali is highly revered in Hinduism and she is meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer.
“Breweries should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities.
“It was deeply trivialising of immensely-venerated Hindu goddess Kali to be portrayed on a beer label.”
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is considered the goddess of time and change.
Mr Zed added: “Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.
“Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else – if not more.
“But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers.
“Companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products.”
BTE Brewing Co has since apologised for the upset and pledged to take more care with future designs.
In emails to the Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, a brewery spokesperson wrote: “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for any offence this has caused the international Hindu community.
"It absolutely was not our intention to cause offence.
“We are willing to work with you to alter future releases of this beer.”