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Thread: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

  1. Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Hello!

    To preface, I'm a non Hindu. I posed the same question over in the Hinduism subreddit and received very supportive responses but I would like to get some more opinions on the matter.

    "I recently designed a t-shirt for a contest. In this design, I parody a webcomic character called Godhead Pickle Inspector, who obviously draws on Hindu/Buddhist symbols. In the design, I borrow the iconography of: sitting in a lotus and multiple sets of arms holding objects symbolic to the webcomic itself. I don't think the artist of the Pickle Inspector was referring to any specific deity. (If you would like to see the design, please pm me and I'll will link you.)

    After I put my design up, I received a message on Tumblr from someone (I'm not sure if they are Hindu) who says that it is "disrespectful" to make money off of religion. Considering that there are a lot of products and artwork that make money off of religion, Christianity in particular, I'm not sure whether their concerns are unfounded or not."

    Though at this point, I don't think the design is much of a problem, I'd rather not assume in the place of others especially as my understanding of Hinduism is limited.
    Preferably I would like to keep my design in the contest as I worked really hard on it but I'd like to hear your thoughts first.

    Thank you!

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Vannakkam: Personally I have no objection to this one, but it depends on the nature of the picture, and location of clothing, for most Hindus. I also don't see the need for using Hindu iconography when something else would be just as appropriate to be silly in this case.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Namaste,

    It appears that your mind is made up as far as entering your design in the contest and you are just looking for a validation.

    The third eye, the word Godhead, lotus position on a lotus flower; you are awfully close to divinity even without invoking any names. If it is just a contest then you will stay under the radar. But if you win the contest and your design shows up on T-shirts sold across the nation in major department stores, you might hear some grumbling or worse. Would that bother you? Do you really care if you tread the sentiments of followers of another faith? If the Hindu groups monitoring the gross transgressions find it in poor taste and wage a protest thereby forcing a recall of the product, would that hurt you? Those are some of the issues that you have to answer yourself. What we think in this forum is immaterial. Here you might get varied reactions from native Hindus, nominal Hindus and adoptee Hindus. What matters the most is how would the Hindu groups policing such acts perceive it. No one dares to offend JDL, do they? So, why consider Hindus to be fair game? Why 'work very hard' on something which may turn out to be negative? Does a bank robber, when he gets his day in the court, claim that he worked very hard in planning and executing the heist, therefore he should be allowed to keep the money that he robbed and be set free?

    Pranam.

  4. #4

    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Namaste,

    Dear friend, I do believe that the very fact that you are putting forward this question here, indicates that you are aware to some extent that it could be offensive to some at least. Then, why do such things in the first place? Like our friend 'believer' has observed, you have worked hard and want to use the design. I also read a similar query on this forum from the year 2012. If this is the same person, why has he spent this much time on this design without doing market research? Surely, you did not suddenly dream about these motifs 'out of the blue' so to speak. You must have seen them in context of Hinduism somewhere. Then why play innocent?

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    If we can't laugh at ourselves who can we laugh at? I accept that Lord Shiva is to glorious to be affected by a T-shirt. That is what the OP wants to know isn't it, is it offensive to Shiva?
    All is Siva there is nothing without Siva.

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyaban View Post
    is it offensive to Shiva?
    It is not a matter of something being offensive to Shiva, but what offends His followers.

    Consider it like when you die, it would not matter to you if your body is cremated, or buried or in the Zoroastrian style, left on a pillar for the vultures to feast on. The only people to who it would matter is your surviving family members. Their sentiments are the ones which have to be respected, so that it does not add to their loss and hurt and pain. When we post something without considering all the angles of an issue, we don't come out looking too smart, do we?

    Pranam.

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,


    It is not a matter of something being offensive to Shiva, but what offends His followers.

    Consider it like when you die, it would not matter to you if your body is cremated, or buried or in the Zoroastrian style, left on a pillar for the vultures to feast on. The only people to who it would matter is your surviving family members. Their sentiments are the ones which have to be respected, so that it does not add to their loss and hurt and pain. When we post something without considering all the angles of an issue, we don't come out looking too smart, do we?

    Pranam.
    Namaste

    I think we have to keep things in perspective and a T-shirt issue pales compared to the disposition of a corpse. This issue brings to mind the Charlie Hebdo case although the OP intent to is not abase and although it may not be thoughtful it is his right.
    All is Siva there is nothing without Siva.

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyaban View Post
    This issue brings to mind the Charlie Hebdo case although the OP intent to is not abase and although it may not be thoughtful it is his right.
    It is very disturbing when Hindus have to bring in Muslim practices into the dialog in this Hindu forum. India attained independence through peaceful means. Violence is NOT part of Hindu culture/religion/tradition. Nothing like that was ever suggested in the prior posts. To bring such base concepts into a Hindu conversation is insulting and taints the entire community. I personally detest such garbage being introduced into our peaceful conversations. Hindu monitoring groups in the US have never ever given a hint of violence when they feel that somebody is doing something offensive to their religion or their cultural practices. Everything is settled through dialog/persuasion/reasoning. Please don't show off your exposure to and knowledge of vile acts committed by other religious/ethnic groups. Stick to how we Hindus resolve issues. If it is offensive to a large chunk of Hindus; that activity will have to be looked at. No one should go out of his way to be offensive to Hindus. Who knows, today it is the T-shirt; tomorrow it will be the toilet paper with offensive prints.

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...486#post124486

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 24 August 2015 at 09:55 PM.

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,


    It is very disturbing when Hindus have to bring in Muslim practices into the dialog in this Hindu forum. India attained independence through peaceful means. Violence is NOT part of Hindu culture/religion/tradition. Nothing like that was ever suggested in the prior posts. To bring such base concepts into a Hindu conversation is insulting and taints the entire community. I personally detest such garbage being introduced into our peaceful conversations. Hindu monitoring groups in the US have never ever given a hint of violence when they feel that somebody is doing something offensive to their religion or their cultural practices. Everything is settled through dialog/persuasion/reasoning. Please don't show off your exposure to and knowledge of vile acts committed by other religious/ethnic groups. Stick to how we Hindus resolve issues. If it is offensive to a large chunk of Hindus; that activity will have to be looked at. No one should go out of his way to be offensive to Hindus. Who knows, today it is the T-shirt; tomorrow it will be the toilet paper with offensive prints.

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...486#post124486

    Pranam.
    My mention of the Hebdo case was not to relate the Muslim's violent reaction but the magazine's right to do what they did, nothing more but the Muslims various degrees of displeasure did not put them in good light. I see ignorant use of our symbols and icons often but if took offensive I would be upset very often.
    All is Siva there is nothing without Siva.

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    Re: Is it offensive/frowned upon to reference Hindu iconography on a t-shirt?

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyaban View Post
    I see ignorant use of our symbols and icons often but if took offensive I would be upset very often.
    I am really okay with that. Most of us like to have our peace of mind and look the other way when something unpleasant does happen. But we should not discourage others who may want to do something about it. Untold number of Hindus ate the McDonald's vegetarian french fries, only to find out one day that it was all a hoax and they were actually fried in animal lard. And there are other similar issues that activists have taken up. I don't get directly involved with such organizations, but I do support them and I do salute them. I understand that they are working on my behalf, and when I shy away from getting involved to keep my peace of mind, somebody out there is doing what I should be doing too. But I don't. Shame on me.

    Pranam.

    PS, Sorry if I sound harsh. I don't mean to, but it is disappointing when we don't even support the people who do stick their neck out for our culture, for our religion, for our identity!

    -
    Last edited by Believer; 25 August 2015 at 01:14 AM. Reason: Added the PS

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