An image of a Ganesha idol holding sanitary napkins installed by a Madhya Pradesh-based NGO to spread ‘awareness’ about menstrual hygiene has gone viral on social media. The post, shared by the Instagram page India Times, claimed in its caption that the NGO named Anivarya wanted to portray Lord Ganesha as a “responsible husband promoting menstrual hygiene”.
As the country celebrates the ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the Ganesha idol holding sanitary napkins has been installed in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow in the NGO’s office. As expected, the activism did not go down well with the netizens who reacted sharply to the alleged awareness campaign.
With around 900 comments, most social media users have criticized the NGO ‘Anivarya’ run by one Ankit Bagdi for using yet another Hindu festival for publicity and marketing.
A user named Abhishek Chauhan protested the frivolous use of Hindu deities and festivals while another user dared to use sanitary napkins as decor for other festivals.
Several users suggested that the NGO had no respect for Hindu Gods and that nothing was achieved through this campaign as it failed to convey the message.
Another user named Chinmayee asked if the so-called activists would next install Harpic (a toilet cleaner brand) and sanitizer to promote hygiene.
Some even suggested that a riot-like situation would have risen had this been done with any other religion.
One user seemingly upset with the campaign advised the NGO to rather keep the awareness drive at the grassroots level than turning it into a social media marketing stunt.
While many appreciated the thought, they simply rejected the misuse of Hindu festivals and deities.
Reportedly, the NGO has distributed 20 lakh sanitary napkins since April 2020. Ankit Bagdi, the founder of Anirvarya, is also an author who took up writing after getting inspired by the Bollywood movie ‘Two States’ based on a Chetan Bhagat novel.
This is definitely not the first time that a Hindu festival has been used to spread awareness about water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution and more. In fact, the so-called NGOs seem to be in some kind of competition to creatively insult the Hindu faith by branding it as an ‘awareness’ or ‘cause-based’ campaign.
Amit Bagdi apologises
Amit Bagdi, the founder of the NGO has apologised and said that the intention of the Ganesh Murthi was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. In a statement, he said, “We have utmost respect for Hindu religion and its beliefs. Our campaign wasn’t aimed at hurting anyone’s feelings or sentiments. On behalf of our organisation, we tender unconditional apology for inadvertently hurting sentiments of the public in general. Our volunteers have removed the objectionable items from the tableau.”