Being creative is appreciated but touching on the religious sentiments is not. The ruling Republican in the United States of America has drawn major criticism after featuring Lord Ganesha in a newspaper ad, apparently to pay respect to the sacred festival, Ganesh Chaturthi. The Asian-American community is in the uproar. “Would you worship a donkey or an elephant? The choice is yours,” reads the advertisement with a Lord Ganesha’s image below, targeting the Hindu voters. It turns out that in an intention to win their support, the advert ended up being ‘offensive’ and 'insulting'. After much controversy, the Fort Bend County Republican party in Texas issued an apology to the Hindu community. Ganesh Chaturthi 2018 Goes Green: From Chocolate to Ganesha With Banana Flowers, These Eco-Friendly Ganpati Idols Are a Treat to Devotees.
The ruling Republican Party’s symbol is the elephant while the donkey is the sign of its opposition, the Democrats. As Hindus in India and staying overseas are celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, the party thought it to be the accurate time to gain the Hindu’s support. The Huffington Post reported that nearly 20 per cent of the county’s population is of Asian-Americans and a large number of them speak Urdu, Gujarati and Hindi. Countries Other Than India Which Have a Huge Hindi Speaking Population.
U.S. Repulican's ad to mark Ganesh Chaturthi.
Asking Hindu-Americans if they would rather vote for a donkey or an elephant by comparing Ganesha, a religious figure, to a political party is highly inappropriate.
— Sri Preston Kulkarni (@SriPKulkarni) September 18, 2018
Several qualities of the elephant-headed deity surrounded the picture of Lord Ganesha. It reads he has a “big head, to think out of the box,” “big eyes to look beyond what you see”, “large ears to listen to others attentively”, “large stomach to peacefully digest all the good and bad in life”, “the axe to cut off all the bonds of materialistic attachment and so on.
The Hindu-American Foundation of Houston described it as an “offensive” advertisement. Rishi Bhutada, HAD Board Member and Fort Bend County resident said, “While we appreciate the Fort Bend County GOP's attempt to reach out to Hindus on an important Hindu festival, its ad - equating Hindus' veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol - is problematic and offensive.”
On the other hand, a statement released by Fort Bend County Republican Party Chairman, Jacey Jetton said that the ad was placed in “celebration” of the holiday. It reads, “This ad was created with input from those of Hindu faith so that we could properly pay respect to the sacred festival. This highlights the difficulty in outreach that can be positive for one group but not for another in the same community. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that was offended by the ad. Obviously, that was not the intent.”