Merry Krishmas

Hindu stamp
According to the BBC, the Royal Mail has apologised for any “unintentional offence” it caused the Hindu community when it published its latest 68p Christmas stamp. But it has refused to withdraw or alter the design of the offending item.

The picture is a reproduction of a 17th century painting which shows a Hindu couple “worshipping” the Baby Jesus. The original work is currently on display in a gallery in Mumbai.

The Hindu Forum of Britain are not happy. They think it is insensitive to issue the stamp at a time when “the issue of conversions in India has been a subject of heated debate.” Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Forum:

Even if we accept that an artist in 1620 AD took the artistic license to portray practising Hindus worshipping the Baby Christ, we should be asking if this is politically and sensitively correct in the 21st century. We therefore urge the Post Office to withdraw the 68 p stamp immediately or issue a redesigned version that does not have the Hindu markings on the foreheads of the two characters in the stamp.

In the past the HFB have appealed to advertisers and manufacturers to consult the organisation before they release adverts or products “to avoid causing unnecessary offence to the community”. Sounds familiar.

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said:

It was common for Hindu artists during that period to paint images that depicted western culture, including paintings about Christianity.

The stamp simply features a Hindu artist’s interpretation of Christianity’s Madonna and Child scene.

However the Royal Mail does apologise for any unintentional offence caused to the Hindu community.

MWW can’t help but think they have missed a golden opportunity to compromise and heal the rift between the two communities. All they need to do is photoshop a few extra arms on the Christ-child, then everyone would be happy. Surely?


21 Responses to “Merry Krishmas”

  1. Mike says:

    Off topic, but on topic, don’t be surprised if you receive a missive from Adobe’s lawyers over this sentence:

    ‘All they need to do is photoshop a few extra arms on the Christ-child’

    Crazy, but true… Adobe have deemed it unpermissable to use ‘photoshop’ as a verb, along with many other usages of its copyrighted name, the world’s gone mad I tell ya..mAd!…

    http://www.adobe.com/misc/trade.html#photoshop

  2. Hindu painting on Royal Mail stamp shocker!

    Another day, another religious body offended over something. This time, the Hindu Council of Britain is not happy that a Royal Mail stamp has a Hindu family fawning over baby Jesus. [via Mediawatchwatch]
    The stamp, featuring a man and woman with Hindu…

  3. Sunny says:

    Mike – I can understand why. There is an American law I think which states that once a word has become a verb, it ceases to become a trademark. I believe it happened to Hoover (vacuum cleaners) and Rollerblades (I think). In fact Coca Cole regularly tells people that to have a coke and refer it to any cola drink should not be allowed etc.
    That’s the problem when you get too synonymous with something. Heh.

  4. Robert Sharp says:

    Let’s offend more religions

    The British really don’t care about religion. Disrespecting minority religions is a sign of integration.

  5. Flotsam says:

    I don’t understand Adobe’s lawyers – or any lawyers, for that matter – as the use of the word “photoshop” as a verb can only be beneficial to Adobe. They don’t just have a near monopoly on the market but they also have a monopoly on the language of the market.

    What really pisses me off is the crass misuse of nouns as verbs such as “He architected the new system” or “I will leverage this blah”.

  6. Andy Gilmour says:

    Back on topic for a moment… πŸ™‚

    My favourite sentence from Mr. Kallidai:
    “Even if we accept that an artist in 1620 AD took the artistic license to portray practising Hindus worshipping the Baby Christ, we should be asking if this is politically and sensitively correct in the 21st century.”
    And I thought that Historical Revisionism was mostly confined to risible holocaust-deniers…
    So here’s a question for everyone – which single bit of history would YOU like to see glossed-over, in accordance with the policy of the HFB?

    I’m having difficulty choosing between our involvement in the slave trade, certain of the Highland clearances, or when the SFA appointed Berti Vogts as Scotland football manager… πŸ™‚

  7. Andy L says:

    As Sunny has said above, the reason they don’t want to let people use “photoshop” as a verb is because if it becomes too generic it is impossible to defend as a trademark for anything, and hence anyone would be able to sell ‘Photoshop’ software with no involvement with Adobe (you can’t copyright names by the way. Names are trademarked, not copyrighted).

  8. Dan Factor says:

    Was this Royal Mail’s attempt at being multicultural. Why bother? It’s Christmas, just stick Jesus and Mary on the stamps and be done with it.

  9. Andrew Nixon says:

    Then they’d be accused of neglecting other religions…… I think I’ll stick with my Ashes stamps.

  10. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Can Adobe really control the English language ?

    I don’t think so. If people want to say such things, they simply say them regadless of what Adobe think.

    Anyway Adobe should be so lucky.

    Hoover made millions out of the adoption of their name, as a verb meaning: to use a suction cleaner to clean the floor.

  11. Andrew Nixon says:

    I seem to recall Google getting a bet tetchy last year about people using Google as a verb.

  12. Flotsam says:

    Shaun,

    You beat me to it with the Hoover issue. It hasn’t done them any harm even though their products suck. Suck dust, that is. Fine products. Ahem.

    Talking of trademarking things, down here in the bottom hemisphere the wonderful purveyor of health foods known as Hungry Jack’s (Burger King elsewhere in the world) have trademarked the phrase “Oh yeah!”. I shit you not. Another of their trademarked phrases is “The burgers are better at Hungy Jack’s” although they don’t qualify that by telling us what they are better than.

    Anyway, that’s enough off-topic nonsense from me.

  13. Venkatesh Rao says:

    Needless controversy; everyone is this world was and is born as a Hindu. Only after their birth their parents forcibly convert them to other religions by way of baptizing or Sunnat.
    -Venkatesh

  14. Andrew Nixon says:

    Now that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve read in the comments on this site……

  15. Monitor says:

    Andrew, I am surprised. Is Dr Christopher Shell so soon forgotten?

  16. Andrew Nixon says:

    I was just about to say, speaking of crap in the comments, where is the guy? Must be back soon coming out with the same tired old arguments hoping we’ve forgotten about them.

    By the way, I think someones forgotten to put the clock back, the time is an hour ahead on the comments.

  17. Dena says:

    Jesus is one of Hindu Gods. Those who worship Jesus are Hindus.

  18. Monitor says:

    Andy – thanks, I didn’t notice the time thing.
    Dena – I like your logic. You should tell that to Stephen Green.

  19. Andrew Nixon says:

    Comment #17 is supposed to be after Dena’s comment, as is this one…..

  20. Andy Gilmour says:

    Dena, no they aren’t Hindus, just hopelessly optimistic πŸ™‚