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Saturday, 27 June 2009

That's shoe business!

At least one person is up in arms over the perceived desecration of a religious artefact. But we’re unlikely to see riots, murders, shouting and jumping up and down in the streets.

“Sight-seeing in Switzerland does not leave a vacationer horrified,” says a story in the Times of India, “but Patna’s Prabhat Choudhary, his wife and daughter were shocked to see a Lord Buddha statue garlanded with a pair of shoes at a footwear shop in Geneva.”

The paper quotes Prabhat as saying, “We were strolling on shopping street when my 15-year-old daughter insisted that we got into Anne Fontaine, a designer footwear shop. There in the shop, we saw a four-foot statue of Lord Buddha on the shelf displaying shoes and slippers, garlanded with a pair of shoes.”

Prabhat’s daughter, was furious, says the paper. “Though her parents were a bit frightened, she persuaded them to let her shoot the sight with her videocam. The girl, a student of Patna’s prestigious Notre Dame Academy, accomplished her mission without anyone – the shop staff or the crowd of customers – knowing about it.

“Back home, Prabhat has sent a letter to the ministry of external affairs, requesting it to take up the matter with Swiss authorities.”

And that’s as much as we get in several sources.

Imagine what would have happened if a Muslim symbol had had a pair of shoes strung about it. The mere existence of a representation of their “prophet” would be bad enough (since he’s not supposed to be represented in likenesses), but to hang a pair of shoes about his neck . . .

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

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