Some mischief monger is at it again in Pakistan. This one thought it would be ‘Kewl’ to inscribe the sacred ‘OM’ symbol on footwear meant to be gifted and worn on the occasion of the upcoming Eid celebrations.

We agree that the symbol itself is very attractive and anyone may feel the urge to wear it on one’s self, but they could have at least thought of a better part of the body to be adorned this time. For example, it could have been someone wearing a tee with OM inscribed over it on Eid day and wishing their friends and relatives “Eid Mubarak”! Would then be his wishes less sincere?

There is a lot of ambiguity in Hinduism about using sacred symbols on one’s person. For example, it is okay for an ascetic to wrap an ‘OM’ inscribed loin cloth and roam the woods, but it is inappropriate for a lithe lass to wear the same piece of clothing and go to any beach! Let’s not wander from the point in consideration here to discuss gender bias. The point here is the audacity of someone from a non-Hindu sect using a ‘Hindu symbol’ on some footwear as embellishments.

This picture has been doing the rounds on social media.

When these shoes were put out for sale there was furore in the Hindu community in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) called this an unfortunate act and lodged protests with the Sindh government and local authorities in Tando Adam Khan after bringing this fact to their notice. He thought that the shoemaker wanted to insult the Hindu community.

Ironically ‘OM’ or ‘Omkara’ or ‘Ek Omkar’ is the universal symbol of Hinduism which says God is one. Then, how can the OM belong only to one community? Let it be a person’s own decision whether his or her spirituality is offended by a certain happening or not. Agreed that the shoe manufacturer should have used personal judgement before making these shoes, but what’s the point in highlighting this trivial news across Indian news channels?

Meanwhile in America, people roam around with their favourite shoes printed with their national flag on it and a model in Milan walks the ramps wearing a ‘Saraswati sarong’ (the designer cites the reason as Saraswati being the goddess of knowledge and creativity) and nobody feels outraged or offended.

Let us all in the Indian subcontinent celebrate Eid without thinking about a single person’s misgiving and maintain communal harmony and brotherhood, traits for which India is best known.

20 Jun 2016
Team Rapid

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