CHICAGO: A protest by Indians worldwide against the use of Lord Ganesh image on anklets by an Australian jewelry firm has paid dividends and the controversial product is out of the market now. Byron Bay, New South Wales-headquartered Heart Mala Sacred Jewelry has apologized and withdrawn the anklet carrying the image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha from sales within 24 hours of the strong protest by Indians who dubbed the product “highly inappropriate”.

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, spearheaded the protest. Byron Bay, in an email to Zed, stated; “I have deleted this product immediately from my website and will recall the ones I’ve sold. My firm will not make them. I’m very sorry if I have caused offense by my uneducated actions in creating this product… I apologize again for the harm or offense I unintentionally caused.”

Rajan Zed thanked Heart Mala Jewellery for understanding the concerns of the Hindu community which thought the image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was highly insensitive.
Lord Ganesha is highly revered in Hinduism and is worshipped in temples or home shrines. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is inappropriate as it hurts devotees.

In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
The description of objectionable “Ganeshaboho gemstone anklet”, priced at Heart Mala website for $45, stated that it “features a sterling silver plated Ganesha charm”, “looks especially gorgeous with sandy toes” and is claimed to be “ideal for those needing support in letting go of unhealthy emotional entanglements”.

Heart Mala Yoga/Sacred Jewellery sells in retail and wholesale mala beads, sacred geometry charms, boho chic and yoga and chakra jewellery, rings, earrings, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, etc. “handmade in Byron Bay”, “infused with love” and “which harness the power of ancient knowledge and healing gemstones”. These “divine jewels” are claimed to “nurture your soul” and “inspired by the ancient mystics”.

According to 2016 Census, there were 440,300 Hindus in Australia. Hinduism is the second-fastest-growing religion in Australia. The anklet is worn by women in South Asia around the ankle.