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Burger co makes goddess Lakshmi ad, Hindus outraged

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Life is a dream
Staff member
A US-based Hindu advocacy group has asked American fast food chain Burger King to immediately remove an advertisement campaign featuring goddess Lakshmi, which it says is "offensive" to the people of the faith.

Washington-based Hindu American Foundation said Burger King is running a print advertisement in Spain that depicts an image of the goddess seated atop a meat sandwich and other foodstuffs with the catch phrase, "A snack that's sacred," in Spanish.

In the letter written to the company, the HAF has also sought an apology from it for demonstrating lack of cultural and religious sensitivity in this case.

"An advertisement knowingly and intentionally using sacred symbols, especially those of another religious tradition for purely commercial purposes can be offensive in and of itself," said the Managing Director and legal counsel for the Foundation, Suhag Shukla.

"Compounding this insult is the use of the sacred image for the sale of a meat product -Burger King's judgement in associating a burger with a Hindu goddess is absolutely baffling," Shukla said in a statement.

There was no immediate response from the media office of Burger King, when contacted by PTI.

Shukla told PTI, the Foundation had written a letter to corporate headquarters of Burger King last Tuesday. "There has been no response from them," he said.

The HAF was informed about the advertisement by one of its members in Spain.

"I was horrified to walk by a Burger King store in my neighbourhood to discover an image of the same deity that I worship at my home altar, displayed so disrespectfully promoting a meat sandwich," said Monica Pahilwani, a Spanish.

"A multinational corporation with a global presence should be much more aware of religious and cultural sensitivities, and how truly repelling such an advertisement could be to Hindus," she said.

Spanish Hindus demanding physical removal of all of the ads in Fuengirola, Spain have already met some success locally, HAF said.

The geographic reach of the advertisement campaign was unknown, and it is unclear if similar ads are running in other countries as well, it said.

"Burger King, in its efforts to drum up sales, seems to be have taken out of its marketing equation respect of ethno-religious sensitivities," Shukla said.

"We are determined to follow this issue to ensure that Burger King stays true to its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion as it reaches out to its global consumers," he said.

Dear Sri Praveen Ji,

A follow up on your story:

WASHINGTON: Burger King, which runs a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in more than 70 countries, has apologised for running an advertisement in Spain that offended the Hindus. ( Watch )

"We are apologising because it wasn't our intent to offend anyone," Denise T Wilson, spokesman of Burger King said in an email when asked about the demand of the Hindu community that the company need to apologise for running an advertisement which its leaders said were offensive to their religion.

"Burger King [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]Corporation[/COLOR][/COLOR] (BKC) values and respects all of its guests as well as the communities we serve. This in-store advertisement was running to support only local promotion for three restaurants in Spain and was not intended to offend anyone," Wilson said.

"Out of respect for the Hindu community, the limited-time advertisement has been removed from the restaurants," Wilson said a day after the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in a statement asked Burger King to remove the offensive advertisement.

The foundation in a statement said yesterday that the Burger King is running a print advertisement in Spain that depicts an image of the Hindu Goddess, Lakshmi, seated atop a meat [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]sandwich[/COLOR][/COLOR], other foodstuffs with a catch phrase, "A snack that's sacred", written in Spanish.

"An advertisement knowingly and intentionally using sacred symbols, especially those of another religious tradition, for purely commercial purposes can be offensive," said Suhag Shukla, managing director and [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]legal [COLOR=blue! important]counsel[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] for the foundation.

Even though the Hindu American foundation has not received any information in this regard form Burger King, Shukla said: "This is welcome news."

HAF in its letter to Burger King did allude to the company's positive track record of quickly removing and apologising for previous offensive [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]ad [COLOR=blue! important]campaigns[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR], she noted.

"Of course we would hope that such misjudgement did not occur in the first place, but we are indeed pleased to hear of Burger King's move," Shukla said.

Here is an article by Nandita Senguptha in todays T.O.I, which shares a different perspective.. She says, Annapoorna would have been the right choice than Goddess Laskhmi.. (condensed clip)

In my personal opinion, Religious symbols should not be used for commercial purpose.But else where in Indian press, itseems,people think the otherway around..


Had the adwallah attempted to portray the Prophet over the burger, he wouldn’t have been able to because Islam does not permit any form of visual depiction. Jesus Christ on a cross inspires prayer, he does not get your gastric juices flowing. Lakshmi now, is an altogether different story.

I’m curious to know what was wrong with Goddess Lakshmi over a burger. I can understand getting miffed about Shiva etchings on toilet seats and Durga on undergarments, but Lakshmi as a symbol of ‘sacred’ over a burger, does not, to me, qualify as “crass commercialisation”. We have Ganeshas all over sweet packets the length and breadth of India, we have Shiva-Parvati calendars hanging over fish-heads and in meat shops, not to check on dates but to add colour and attract. Commercialisation-in-god’s name and humanity? Oh man, that’s the only book that need ever be written.

But look around, in India we have them EVERYWHERE. From car stickers to calendars, from key chains to paperweights. We have complete liberty with our gods, and much as that can shock aesthetics, like an agarbati burning from a hole in Ganesha’s head, India’s quite all right with that.
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ஒரு பக்கம் மஹாலக்ஷ்மியின் கையில் மாட்டிறைச்சி அடங்கிய பர்கரை வைத்து விளம்பரப்படுத்தியிருக்கிறது.இந்த அல்லேலுயாக்கள் தெரிந்து தான் செய்கிறார்களா?இத்தனை பெரிய நிறுவனத்தில் இந்த விளம்பரத்தை பார்க்காமல் அப்படியே அனுமதித்து விட்டார்களா?மஹாலக்ஷ்மி என்றால் என்ன?இந்த படம் என்ன?இதன் முக்கியத்துவம் என்ன?என்பதை எல்லாம் விலாவரியாகப் பார்க்காமல் எப்படி இந்த விளம்பரத்தை அனுமதித்தார்கள், அந்த நிர்வாகம்?

இப்படியெல்லாம் நான் கேட்க மாட்டேன்.

என் நீதி ம*ன்ற*த்தில் ஒரே தீர்ப்பு.இது அல்லேலுயாக்க*ளின் திமிர்.

க*ருத்துச் சுத*ந்திர*ம் என்கிற* போர்வையில் இவ*ர்க*ள் ம*ற்ற*வ*ர்க*ளை கொச்சைப்ப*டுத்தும் வ*க்கிர* புத்தி.ஹிந்துக் க*ட*வுள் என்றால் சைத்தான்க*ள் என்று வேப்பிலை அடிக்கும் இந்த* வியாபார*க் கோஷ்டிக*ள்,இதைத் தெரிந்தே தான் செய்திருக்க* வேண்டும்.அன்று அப்ப*டித்தான், ஒரு ஐரோப்பிய* அல்லேலுயா செருப்பில், பிள்ளையார் ப*ட*ம் வ*ரைந்து விற்க*ப் பார்த்தார்க*ள்.
உட*னே இவ*ர்க*ள் கேட்க*லாம்,"நாங்க*ள் ஏகசுவையும் விடுவ*தில்லை"என்று.அது அவ*ர்க*ள் க*ட*வுள்..அவ*ர்க*ள் தேவ*ன்.அவ*ர்க*ள் இஷ்ட*ம்.
ஆனால்,இவ*ர்க*ள் கிருஸ்துவ*ர்க*ளாக* இருந்து கொண்டு ஹிந்து ம*த*க் க*ட*வுளை எப்ப*டி இது போல் விள*ம்ப*ர*த்துக்கு உப*யோக*ப்ப*டுத்த* முடியும்?

கிருஸ்துவ*ர்க*ள் எடுத்த* "டாவின்சி கோட்"திரைப்ப*ட*த்தை வெளியிடாம*லேயே த*மிழ*க*த்தில் த*டை செய்த*ன*ர் , அவ*ர்க*ளிட*ம் சோர*ம் போன*, திராவிட* சிகாம*ணிக*ள்.ஆனால், ம*ஹால*ட்சுமியை போற்றி வ*ண*ங்கும் ஹிந்துக்க*ளின் உண*ர்வுக*ளை எப்ப*டிக் கொச்சைப்ப*டுத்த* அந்த* நாட்டில் அனும*தித்த*ன*ர்?

ஸ்பெயினில் ஹிந்துக்க*ள் சிறுபான்மையின*ராக*த் தான் இருப்பார்க*ள்!அங்கே இந்த* நாட்டில் கூச்ச*ல் போடும் சிறுபான்மையின*ருக்கு கிடைக்கும் ம*ரியாதையில் க*டுக*ளாவாவ*து இந்த* ம*னித* உரிமைக் காவ*ல*ர்க*ள் ஹிந்துக்க*ளுக்குக் கொடுக்கிறார்க*ளா?
ஒன்று ம*ட்டும் நிச்ச*ய*ம்!பாம்புக்கு ராஜா மூங்கித் த*டி!என்பார்க*ள்.அது போல், அல்லேலுயாக்க*ளுக்கு , அல்லாஹூ அக்ப*ர்க*ள் தான் லாய*க்கு, கிடா வெட்டுவ*து போல் இவ*ர்க*ள் த*லையைக் கொய்ய*!
மெத்த*ப்ப*டித்த* சொர*ணையில்லாத* ஹிந்துக்க*ள், சோப்ளாங்கிக*ள் தான்!ப*ராவாயில்லை, இந்த* விள*ம்ப*ர*த்தைக் க*ண்டு கொதித்த* சொர*ணையுள்ள* அந்த* ஹிந்துக்க*ளுக்கு என் ம*ரியாதையை செலுத்துகிறேன்!
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