It’s been a whirlwind of a month this September. Just after the August celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi came an ad in September released by Meat and Livestock Australia, featuring Lord Ganesha, toasting “lamb”. The ad featured gods and religious leaders from different faiths sitting together at a barbecue and eating lamb, and while the commercial supposedly intended to show that no matter beliefs and background everyone unite over lamb. The ad sparked outrage among various religious communities including Hindus because it featured Lord Ganesha as “butt of a joke” feasting over lamb. The Hindu community clearly felt outraged and insulted and demanded an apology from MLA because of how Ganesha was depicted in a commercial to promote lamb consumption and non-vegetarianism.
After weeks of protests, the apology never came. YouTube India removed the commercial but the MLA and the Advertising Standards Bureau dismissed complaints about the controversial ad.
“There is the obvious and calculated insult of Ganesha eating meat and drinking wine and talking about a better marketing plan. The false and misleading implication here is that Ganesha has no dietary restrictions and needs marketing. This last point on marketing further marginalises and belittles Hinduism when in fact it is has over 1 billion followers,” said Tim Singh, in an editorial. Singh, a Sikh Australian, has fought for minority rights in Australia all through his political career, and said that he did not believe MLA was ignorant of Ganesha’s vegetarianism when they selected him as a character in this ad. It’s important to note that there’s not a single Hindu on the MLA board.
October, however, has exciting things in store for us. While the Indian Executive Club gears up for its awards night in November, an evening that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship among the Indian diaspora, what makes it even more exciting is that the IEC Awards has received more than 80 nominations this year. The finalists will be announced in October by IEC’s panel of judges. For the Awards night, two interesting speakers are making their way to Melbourne on 18th November to address the attendees. Go to www.indianexecutive.com.au for more details.
Our Indian Executive cover story of the month is Barbara Ward, fundraiser nonpareil, who lets us in on the secret of how she gets people to dig deep into their emotions and pockets for worthy causes.
And even as Diwali sets upon us, Sydney will also open up to the 11th FIP World Polo Championship which is held every three years. This is the second time that Australia is hosting the championship, the first one being in Melbourne in 2001. There are eight teams competing in two different pools, so get set to cheer for Team Australia and India.