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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hindus protest Canadian company’s offensive use of Sri Ganesha in logo alongside profanity, owner and police refuse to act

Members of the Hindu community and others gathered at the Laxmi Narayan Temple in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada on the afternoon of February 5 to protest the offensive and sacrilegious use of an image of Sri Ganesha in a Canadian company’s logo.

The company, Big Dick Energy Coaching, has kept an image of Sri Ganesha – the revered and loved Hindu deity known as the remover of obstacles – as its logo with the words “Big Dick Energy” emblazoned alongside.

The protest was organized by the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society. Demonstrators, carrying signs, started their protest march from the Laxmi Narayan Temple. The society’s president, Satish Kumar, said the community is asking the company’s owner to remove the image of Sri Ganesha from the logo.

“You cannot use another community’s faith, and use it just to promote your business,” said Tarana M. Kaur, one of the organizers.

Kaur said several members of the Bharatiya community have reached out to the owner, who has refused to remove the image of the deity. An online petition has also been started by India Cultural Association (ICA) of Vancouver requesting the appropriate provincial and federal government agencies, specifically the Ministry of Canadian Heritage to intervene in this matter to ensure the sentiments of the Hindu Society in Canada are protected. Other organizations supporting the petition include: Laxmi Narayan temple Surrey, Hindu Temple Burnaby, United Hindu Forum, Bharataiya Kala Evam Sahitya Parishad, Canadian Hindu foundation, Abbotsford Hindu temple, Hindi Literary Society of Canada, BC, Namdhari Sangat Society, Gurukul Canada.

The petition has gathered more than 2,500 signatures so far.

The company in question is “Big Dick Energy with Jasmine” (A podcast show) with the business website: https://bigdickenergycoaching.com/. The website domain has a registered address of Surrey, BC, Canada. The company’s website says it provides “coaching for relationship and passion management, ultimate business pro mentorship and master coaching and mentorship.”

The company’s website loads with an initial page that looks like this –

This is how the home page describes the owner Jasmine –

Surrey Members of Parliament Randeep Sarai and Sukh Dhaliwal have shown support for the removal of the image from the logo, according to Kaur, but they’re hoping more politicians will publicly condemn the use of the deity’s image.

“We need someone to take action, we cannot bear this kind of disrespect,” she said.

Hindu community members have contacted the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), but Kaur said police told them they couldn’t do anything about the matter.

Canadian news outlet CBC News received a message from the company’s owner stating that “the owner has not made any remarks nor done anything to condone any form of hate speech or derogatory misuse of Ganesha”.

A spate of break-ins, vandalism and burglaries in Hindu temples of Canada have also badly shaken the community. At least 6 temples have been targeted in a matter of weeks in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), something unprecedented as per local Hindus. Although a volunteer at at least one temple stated that multiple murtis of Hindu deities were broken by the attacker, Canadian police has ruling “there is no evidence the break and enters are hate or bias motivated, and no acts of violence have been committed by the suspects against any temple” has shocked and dismayed local Hindus.

Why is Hindumisia so normalized in the West?

Hinduphobia or Hindumisia, i.e. disrespect/contempt for Hindu Dharma, its deities and symbols is deep-rooted in Western nations. Ever so often, one hears of a case of sacred Hindu imagery being misused by Western companies – on beer bottles, floor mats, toilet covers, shoes, underwear, meat industry ads etc. Part of this arises from the fact that these nations have Christian roots, and Christianity views Hindu Dharma as a “pagan” religion.

The term ‘pagan’ and its near-synonym ‘heathen’ have a negative connotation in the West and refer to the polytheistic religions practiced in Europe (especially Rome) before the advent of Christianity. Monotheism is thought of as ‘natural progress’ from polytheism and thus a ‘superior’ religious/spiritual outlook.

Even if a Westerner is not a practicing Christian, the societal conditioning is such that mocking Hindu deities and traditions or prejudice against Hindus has been normalized. Ignorance about Hindu Dharma and Bharat also plays its part. Western academia, media and movies have played a big part in dehumanizing Hindus through atrocity literature and by reducing Hindu Dharma to a ‘caste, cows, curry’ meme or projecting it as an ‘abstruse, oppressive’ religion.

Unfortunately, India’s elites have imbibed similar attitudes about Hindus. So while the battle for equality and to live with dignity has to be fought by Hindus everywhere, the biggest battle has to be fought in Bharat to decolonize our hijacked ‘secular’ Republic.

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