Beer: The new food of the gods

Beer: The new food of the gods

 US brewing company has delayed the launching of its new “Kali-Ma” beer amid outcry from the Hindu community that its name is inappropriate.

The Portland-based company has apologized for naming the beer after a Hindu deity and is now desperately trying to come up with a new name for its release.

"It is NEVER our intention at Burnside to offend or alienate any race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. The inspiration for the beer label simply came from a favourite childhood movie in the "Indiana Jones" series and we were unaware that it could be offensive to anyone," Burnside Brewing said in a facebook post.

Burnside Brewing named its new artisanal beer Kali-Ma after the Hindu supreme goddess of divine energy, who is widely worshipped as the goddess of time and change. Rajan Zed, statesman for the oldest and third largest religion in the world, Hinduism, said inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not ok, as it hurt the devotees.

Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the goddess kali was “highly revered in Hinduism” and she should be worshiped in temples, not used to sell beer for mercantile greed.

The release of “Kali-Ma” was scheduled for Tuesday, May 15. An announcement on “the Full Pint”, an online craft beer news publication, said “Kali-Ma is an Imperial wheat ale …made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot.” It labeled the beer the ultimate reality or Brahman and showed a picture of the goddess, Kali.

"We are currently scrambling to re-name the beer and intend to release it soon afterwards. To those who have been patiently waiting, we humbly ask that you wait just a little longer and to anyone we have offended we sincerely apologise," said Burnside Brewing Co.

Ravi Shankar Prasad of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Ambassador to India should be summoned and asked to apologize for the incident. He said it was a serious and sensitive issue that hurt the sentiments of Indians.

"Summon US Ambassador to India ... and make him apologise for this," he said condemning the act and demanded a statement from External Affairs Minister.

"The advertisement for the beer read 'Come worship the black one Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman' ... with a picture of the Goddess. Earlier also a picture of Goddess Laxmi was displayed in a toilet...picture of God was put on bra...Lord Ganesha was displayed as a sex object in a talk show," he said demanding India to take up the issue with US.

Zed said trivializing Hindu gods was disturbing to Indians everywhere.