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Belk urged to withdraw “Brahmin” cow leather handbags 

Belk urged to withdraw “Brahmin” cow leather handbags 
June 24
15:40 2021

Madhu Patel

CHICAGO: It was felt by many Indians that associating luxury handbags made of cow leather with “Brahmin” was very inappropriate; and urged Charlotte (North Carolina) headquartered department store chain Belk to withdraw these “Brahmin” leather bags from its nearly 300 stores and website. 

Cow is sacred and venerated in Hinduism. Priesthood had been traditionally assigned to brahmins in Hinduism; and inscribing “Brahmin” on a designer handbag made from a killed cow was quite out-of-line and painful to the Indian sentiment. 

Brahmin leather bagBelk, which claims to “believe in creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected” and a “rich heritage of community involvement”; should not indulge in religious appropriation, sacrilege, mocking serious spiritual practices and ridiculing entire communities; Rajan Zed President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted. 

Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought

Founded in 1982, Brahmin Handbags states “All of our products are made with genuine cowhide leather, unless otherwise stated”. Explaining its name on its website, it described Brahmin as a New England “term used to describe someone who is cultured and of the most discerning taste”. But Rajan Zed pointed out that “New England Brahmin” term was reportedly coined in 1860, while “Brahmin” found mention in Rig-Veda, world’s oldest extant scripture which some scholars dated around 1,500 BCE. 

Launched in 1888, Belk, whose tagline is “where shopping is fun and saving is simple”, has stores in 16 Southeastern states. Search of “Brahmin” at Belk website revealed 141 items. 



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