Beer with Gandhi image withdrawn after protest

GANDHINEW YORK: Dragging the name of Mahatma Gandhi for marketing of all the things, beer, has stupefied and shocked Indian Americans across the country and a huge protest led the Woodbridge based New England Brewing Co. to apologize and suspend marketing the so called vegetarian beer with Mahatma image on the can.
The beer named “Gandhi-Bot” described as an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love. The company management retraction also follows a legal redress sought in an Indian court in Hyderabad by an Indian attorney who asserted that Gandhi’s image on alcohol cans was condemnable and would be punishable under Indian laws. The petition states that the beer can amounts to offenses under the Indian Prevention of Insults to the National Honor Act of 1971.

The brewing company has apologized for the label saying their “intent was not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a man who we respect greatly.” The company said they apologize to any Indian people who find the label offensive.

“So many Indian people here in America love our tribute to him. Gandhi’s granddaughter and grandson have seen the label and have expressed their admiration of the label. We hope that you understand our true intent and learn to respect our method and the freedom we have to show our reverence for Gandhi,” the apology read.

The brewing company further stated, “We also ask our supporters and fans to refrain from arguing on our page with those who may be upset by our label. We want to do our best to be culturally sensitive and respectful.”
Indo-American activist Rajan Zed said in a statement, “peace icon Mahatma Gandhi abhorred drinking. Selling beer named after him was highly damaging to his legacy and hurt the feelings of Indo-Americans and Indians.”
Zed, who is Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, pointed out the marketing of beer for mercantile greed was trivialization of Gandhian principles and belittling of the Indo-American community and Indians.

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts, and he continues to be widely respected as one of the greatest moral and political leaders of the twentieth century, Rajan Zed noted.

New England Brewing Company, whose tagline is “Drink it. It’s good.”, is a craft brewery launched in 2003 which claims to be listed as one of the top 20 breweries in the country, only second craft brewery on the entire East Coast to have its beer for sale in cans, and “bring passion for flavor”. Rob Leonard is founder/owner while Matt Westfall is the head brewer who created Gandhi-Bot beer. Its brews are claimed to be “loaded into over 300 bars and restaurants”.

The company website states: “Gandhi-Bot is an intensely hopped double India pale ale with a blend of three varieties of American Hops. Aromatic and fully vegetarian. Gandhi-Bot is an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.” The beer can shows Gandhi’s sketch with one hand raised as in blessing.

India Post News Service

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