UK museum stops selling tissues with Krishna’s image

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Shyam Bhatia in London | December 12, 2002 20:26 IST

Following protests from Hindus, one of Britain’s most prestigious museums has withdrawn the sale from its gift shop of a brand of paper tissues that bear the image of Lord Krishna.

The Victoria and Albert Museum agreed to stop selling German-made Sniff tissues after a complaint from UK’s National Council of Hindu Temples.

Bimal Krishna Das, a spokesman for the NCHT, told “We are horrified to imagine that anyone thinks such a thing is acceptable. It is very offensive for Hindus to blow nose on an image of Lord Krishna; it is unthinkable and unimaginable.”

Earlier this year, the NCHT was instrumental in persuading the London Departmental Store Selfridges to withdraw confectionery cakes made in the form of Ganesha, Shiva and Parvati.

Das said a sister organisation in the United States, American Hindus against Defamation, had also successfully campaigned against the portrayal of Hindu gods and goddesses on toilet seats.

He said that the NCHT had also been successful in the UK in blocking a recent television commercial advertising a local brand of beer that involves a yogi and levitation.

“The ad is funny”, Das conceded, “but the perception is that the yogi is being made fun of.”

A spokesman for Sniff told that numerous complaints had been received about their product, but “it is not the intention of the company to offend any religion.

“Our company isn’t interested in laughing at anyone’s belief. In our last collection we printed tissues both with the image of Lord Krishna and Virgin Mary. In our opinion these tissues are used as accessories and for fashion reasons.

“We had a great response for these products. Young people really liked it because Virgin Mary and Lord Krishna have become cult characters… they start to think about religious things again. So we attract attention, but in a positive way. We’d like to express our apology if we hurt anybody’s feelings.

“We won’t stop producing and selling these products. That wouldn’t help anybody. We can only repeat our apology and explain that we respect any belief.”