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Hindus not happy about Gods and deities used for commerce

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People buy idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha from roadside stalls for the Diwali festival in New Delhi. (Hindustan Times)

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Several questionable items, such as toilet seats, shoes and dog tags, have in recent years gone on sale adorned with the images of Hindu deities, particularly that of Ganesha, known most commonly in the West for his elephant face.

“It is inappropriate, and it is offensive to devotees,” said Rajan Zed, a Reno, Nev.-based Hindu activist who protests against such commercial products, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

“I haven’t seen Christ on toilet seat covers. Or any symbol of Islam,” Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of religion at the University of Florida, added. “If you wouldn’t do it with one, why do you want to do it with something else? Or at least wouldn’t it behoove you to check?”

Zed said he receives a message about insensitive commercial use of an Hindu image every few months.

Most recently, Zed approached Amazon to pull deity-decorated skateboards and bedding from its online shelves. Earlier this year, the hashtag #boycottAmazon trended on Twitter in India after users discovered doormats with images of Hindu deities available for sale. Amazon removed the items within days.

Most of the time, when Zed reaches out to companies with such a request, he said, they apologize and comply. “It’s ignorance, basically,” Zed said. “People don’t know our traditions and our deities.”

Indians are still considered a relatively new immigrant group in the U.S., the majority arrived in the country after the immigration laws were changed in 1965. Indians comprise only about 1% of the U.S. population, and Hindus are a fraction of that, as Indians practice a variety of faiths. There also are Hindu immigrants from other countries, albeit in even smaller numbers.

Some Hindu symbols have become particularly valuable to some brands.

For example, Brahma Beer in Brazil, estimated to be the world’s ninth top-selling beer, carries a name that also refers to a Hindu god. Zed said he contacted Anheuser-Busch InBev, now the owner of Brahma, about discontinuing the product, but he acknowledged that it was too significant a revenue source for the company to terminate.

In the U.S., the yoga industry is a multibillion-dollar per year business. One which has for years been churning out yoga mats, towels and exercise pants that place “om” symbols and images of Ganesha close to or directly underneath the feet and legs. The fact that these images are so valuable to companies is a real problem, said Suhag Shukla of the Hindu-American Foundation.

“On the one side, people are very familiar with Hindu concepts like karma or reincarnation” and practices like yoga, she said. But on the other hand, these elements have been stripped of any association with Hinduism.

Shukla’s group is trying to change that. Its members previously launched a “Take Back Yoga” campaign to educate the public about yoga’s connection to Hinduism.

Information from the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson pushes for India COVID relief

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Rev. Jesse Jackson pushes for India COVID relief | Diya TV News

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Reverend Jesse Jackson is standing in solidarity with Indian Americans in California who are rallying the community to send more Covid-19 relief to India.  Reverend Jackson is also voicing solidarity for other communities of color as African Americans celebrate Juneteenth, the new Federal holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S.

And Satya Nadella is now even more powerful at Microsoft. The tech giant’s CEO was named chairman of the board elevating his current role atop one of the world’s most valuable companies. The Indian American has served as chief executive since 2014, has helped transform the PC maker into a leader in cloud computing in recent years, resulting in  a market cap of close to $2 trillion.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has given away another massive chunk of her fortune. This time nearly 3  billion dollars to a variety of charities. Several Indian organizations like Goonj, Antara Foundation, and GiveIndia have also benefited from this generosity.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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US – India trade hits record $9 billion

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U.S.-India trade hits record $9 billion | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — For the second month in a row, the U.S.-India bilateral goods trade crossed $9 billion dollars.  It had never happened once before that. This is a comprehensive document covering trade in goods and services, and shows India and the U.S. remain strong strategic partners.

the U.S. Senate confirmed Radhika Fox as the first Indian American and woman of color to lead the office of water at the Environmental Protection Agency. Her supporters say she will focus on making sure everyone’s point of view is heard and taken into account.

And British Pakistani rapper Frenzo Harami is being criticized for his anti Hindu post on Instagram. Harami uses vulgar language to describe Hindu minorities living in Kashmir. He apparently went on this tirade after claiming youtube banned one of his videos.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India’s COVID rate drops dramatically

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India’s COVID rate drops dramatically | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India’ s Covid-19 infection rates are starting to consistently drop each day.  The ministry of health reported a little more than 60,000 cases in the past 24 hours. That’s a dramatic decrease from the peak of more than 400,000 cases in one day just a few months ago. 

India has also decided to partially open the Taj Mahal to visitors. And as restrictions ease, several shops, malls, and restaurants have started to reopen in multiple cities this week. but Authorities continue to advise mask wearing and social distancing.

Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a dinner party for a bipartisan group of female senators at her official Washington, DC residence. 16 Democrats and eight Republicans. Vice President Harris is doing this against the backdrop of intense negotiations over President Biden’s agenda in Congress and a border crisis raging on her watch.

And one of the fiercest critics of Big Tech companies like Apple and Amazon is now leading the Federal Trade Commission.  Lina Khan will be tasked with voting on enforcement matters in areas of both competition and consumer protection. the 32 year old South Asian will be the youngest person to ever lead the agency.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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