Hindu anger at Derbyshire beer company for use of religious image

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A religious leader in the United States is angry with the label of a beer brewed in Derbyshire, saying that Hindu deities must not be used to sell alcohol.

Nevada-based Rajan Zed said the improper use of Hindu gods, concepts, symbols or sacred icons for business purposes hurt worshipers.

Bang the Elephant Brewing Company, based in Langley Mill, uses the image of the goddess Kali on the label of their beer porter Kali Yuga East India and said they wanted to work with Mr Zed to find a solution to his complaint .

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The beer in question has been on sale for three years and the company says Mr Zed’s is the first complaint about the label.

Mr Zed, chairman of a group called the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the goddess Kali is highly revered in Hinduism and is believed to be worshiped in temples or domestic shrines and not be used to sell beer.

He described the use of the image of the goddess as “highly inappropriate”.

Rajan Zed added, “Breweries should not engage in activities of religious appropriation, sacrilege and ridiculing entire communities.

“It was deeply trivializing the immensely revered Hindu goddess Kali to be portrayed on a beer label.

“Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion in the world with around 1.2 billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly.

“Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.”

The beer, which is described as “an evil blend of malts gives this East Indian porter a unique flavor profile”, also mentions Kali on the can.

He indicates that the beer was made by “being crushed under the powerful influence of Kali”.

Mr. Zed added: “Hindus were for freedom of artistic expression and speech as much as anyone else, if not more.

“But faith was something sacred and attempts to trivialize it hurt the followers.

“In Hinduism, the goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets have described her as a supreme deity.

Bang the Elephant Brewing Co., launched in 2017, describes itself as steampunk-inspired neo-Victorian brewers of finely crafted small-batch beers.

The company says it is constantly evolving its beer recipes to make sure customers don’t get bogged down.

When the brewing company was made aware of the complaint against their artwork, they reached out to Mr. Zed in an effort to better understand the complaints surrounding the artwork.

They said he did not attempt to contact them directly about the complaint.

A company spokesperson said, “Kali Yuga has been part of our staple beer line for three years now and there has been no comment or suspicion of offending to the Hindu community before.

“Obviously, this is something we don’t take lightly, and we would like to officially state that we sincerely apologize for any offense we have caused.

“Kali Yuga will continue to be part of our core lineup, but we are more than happy to work with Mr. Zed and members of the Universal Society of Hinduism to discuss possible alternatives or modifications to future works of art. art for beer that would be deemed more “appropriate”.

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