New Delhi: Strongly objecting to a US company launching a beer brand named after Goddess Kali, a demand was made in the Rajya Sabha on May 14, that US Ambassador to India should be summoned and asked to apologize for it. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said it is a serious and sensitive issue that a Portland-based company Burnside Brewing has launched a product titled Kali-Ma beer, hurting the sentiments of Indians.
“The advertisement for the beer read ‘Come worship the black one Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman.’ with a picture of the Goddess. Earlier also a picture of Goddess Laxmi was displayed in a toilet...picture of God was put on bra...Lord Ganesha was displayed as a sex object in a talk show,” he said demanding India to take up the issue with US.
Prasad said the UPA government maintains that it enjoys good relations with the US, but there is no advertisement code and questioned whether they could have dared to mock the God or Goddess of any other religion.
“Summon US Ambassador to India and make him apologize for this,” he said condemning the act and demanded a statement from the External Affairs Minister.
As BJP and other members supported the issue, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla intervened saying, “I will convey the concerns to External Affairs Ministry.
“But I would like to point out that some years back when I had raised the issue of a store in the US having pictures of Ganesha on slippers and you (Ravi Shankar Prasad) were sitting in my place, no step was taken.”
Meanwhile, a US brewer says it is “scrambling” to rename its new beer “Kali-Ma,” after the Hindu Goddess Kali, following an outpouring of criticism from Hindus with the issue being raised in the Indian Parliament.
The label of the beer made by Burnside Brewing Com-pany in Portland, Oregon, featured the four-armed goddess Kali standing among three severed heads.
“In response to pleas from the Hindu community, we have decided to postpone the limited release of “Kali-Ma”our imperial wheat ale flavored with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers,” the company said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“It is never our intention at Burnside to offend or alienate any race, creed, religion or sexual orientation, the company,” it said.
Burnside Brewing owners said they got the idea from the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” where Jones is forced to drink a potion called “the black sleep of Kali Ma” that puts him into a trance.
“The inspiration for the beer label simply came from a favorite childhood movie in the Indiana Jones series and we were unaware that it could be offensive to anyone.”