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Walmart halts sale of Lord Ganesh doll

Walmart halts sale of Lord Ganesh doll
January 03
09:34 2018

CHICAGO: One of the world’s largest retailers, Walmart stopped the marketing of “Ganesh Plush Doll” from Walmart.com within less than 24 hours after the protest from a large number of Lord Ganesh devotees, principally from the Hindu community across the country.

“Ganesh Plush Doll”, earlier selling for $18.94 at Walmart.com, now shows up as “This item is no longer available”, when a customer tries to purchase it online.

The protest was led by Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asking for the withdrawal of this objectionable product on behalf of the Hindu community which thought that marketing Lord Ganesh as a plush doll was trivializing and insensitive.

Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown loosely around on the floor, bathrooms, cars, etc.; or hit by feet; or squeezed; or used as a pillow or play ball. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh had been worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and was invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking; but now Walmart said in product description that “now he’s also the god of cuddliness” because of their Ganesh Plush Doll (which Walmart listed as “Religious Novelty” and “Funny Gift”).

Zed said that they were still waiting for a formal apology from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Walmart Board Chairman Gregory B. Penner to the Hindu community.

Walmart and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville (Arkansas, USA), whose tagline is “Save money Live better”, claims to be a “worldwide household name” with about 11,700 stores and whose fiscal year 2017 revenue was about $486 billion. Walmart.com claims to have over 1,000,000 products available online.

 

Madhu Patel

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